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Case Study of the Day: Sustainable Groundwater Management in Andhra Pradesh – The APFAMGS


Groundwater depletion is a critical issue in peninsular India, especially in Andhra Pradesh, where hard-rock aquifers with limited storage capacity are prevalent. This case study examines the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater System (APFAMGS), a community-based initiative aimed at addressing the over-exploitation of groundwater in seven drought-prone districts.


  • Demand Side Groundwater Management: APFAMGS, a partnership between farmers and NGOs, focuses on Demand Side Groundwater Management.
  • Farmer Water Schools: It involves extensive training of farmers through “Farmer Water Schools” and the establishment of a hydrological monitoring system.
  • Participatory decision-making: Participatory community decision-making, facilitated by crop water budgeting, is a key element.
  • Water-saving practices: Farmers have adopted water-saving practices like mulching, bunding, improved irrigation methods, and water-saving devices.


FAO’s evaluation confirmed that APFAMGS achieved its objectives.

  • Groundwater users now make informed decisions about cropping patterns and use groundwater judiciously.
  • This has led to reduced input costs, increased yields, and improved marketing strategies, ultimately raising the net value of outputs per acre.

Key Takeaways:

  • APFAMGS offers a replicable model for sustainable groundwater management.
  • Community participation and hydrological knowledge generation are vital.
  • Sustainability remains a challenge, necessitating a blend of bottom-up and top-down approaches.
  • The success of APFAMGS is tailored to the specific dynamics of hard-rock aquifers, making it less suitable for alluvial aquifers with larger storage.


APFAMGS project serves as an inspiring example of community-driven groundwater management, showcasing the potential for addressing critical water resource challenges in specific geographical contexts.

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