Participatory watershed planning and implementation using AHP: Case study of a village in India

A case study of how PP-GIS & AHP can help villagers visualize & make informed decisions.

Figures 1 and 2. Stakeholders using P-GIS to plan village-wide inter-linking of wells
Figures 1 and 2. Stakeholders using AHP and PP-GIS to plan RWH systems such as village-wide inter-linking of wells

E. Palaguttapalli is a small village of about 200 households in south India reeling under a severe groundwater crisis. As part of a Government funded project during 2012-2016, we promoted participatory planning and implementation of rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems as a solution. As we all know, public participation leads to better results with less conflicts. To promote participation, we used public participatory GIS (PP-GIS) tools (Figure 1) to help stakeholders visualize and understand better various choices they have. Towards this goal, we simplified free and open source mobile and desktop GIS tools into PP-GIS tools for use by stakeholders and school children. School children used these tools to prepare maps of the village and the proposed RWH systems while their semi-literate parents used these maps to select and implement the best systems through consensus, after evaluating these systems against multiple criteria and combining these multiple criteria into a summary metric using analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method (For detals refer: Kolagani, N., Ramu, P., & Varghese, K. (2015). Participatory Model Calibration for Improving Resource Management Systems: Case Study of Rainwater Harvesting in an Indian Village. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, (51)6, 1708-1721. doi:10.1111/1752-1688.12351). Such use of AHP method, together with PP-GIS tools, resulted in implementation of efficient RWH systems in the project village. We are now working on the next project to promote village-wide inter-linking of wells (Figure 2) to facilitate community-level self-regulation of groundwater usage at sustainable levels.

  • : Nagesh Kolagani