Basic training programme on groundwater

ACWADAM's core strength and focus is to generate and disseminate knowledge about aquifers. A demystified, 15-day foundation training on "Application of earth sciences in watershed management, with special emphasis on groundwater management" forms the basic activity to meet this objective. ACWADAM's trainings have been an ever evolving feature drawing from ACWADAM's action research and facilitation activities that have unfolded in parallel to its trainings. During its early phases, the training focussed on overlaying hydrogeology to watershed programmes so as to improve the programmes efficiency with regards to groundwater recharge.

The training has undergone a transformation over the past decade that maintains the fundamentals of hydrogeology while including aspects that deal with drinking water security, aquifer mapping and characterisation, groundwater quality, approaches required for understanding aquifers in different typologies, groundwater in rain-fed agriculture, understanding groundwater competition and conflicts and many such dimensions. While the training deals with managing groundwater in overexploited and/or contaminated aquifer regions, it also deals with approaches required for regions where groundwater is relatively 'under-developed' or 'safe'. The most important addition to the training deals with the social approaches required for managing groundwater and the significance of participation in the entire process of understanding and managing aquifers. Some of our trainees have labelled our training as the singular training course on 'Social Hydrogeology!'

The curriculum that was initially designed for various professionals working at different levels specifically in civil society organisations has been suitably modified and demystified for professionals with varied backgrounds from other sectors. It has increasingly also sparked the interest of students pursuing their graduate or higher studies. The training has been included as a part of the formal curriculum of a Masters course on watershed management. This training is also the first step towards providing facilitation to promising trainee organisations in their respective field areas.

The fortnight-long basic training programme is conducted by the ACWADAM team and includes:

  • Over forty theory sessions with visual presentations are conducted in Hindi and English.
  • Eight practical sessions of about four-hour duration each, with ready material for hands-on analysis are conducted.
  • Trainees are exposed to three days of fieldwork in different areas around Pune, involving activities designed to relate theory and practice, mainly in the form of 'simplified field hydrogeology'
  • Discussions are conducted around presentations by participants based on training inputs, in context to their projects/programmes; ideas for facilitating some organisations after training are also discussed during such sessions.
  • Pre and post training questionnaires to assess the impact of training are provided to all participants.
  • A short objective test is conducted to evaluate individual performance and level of understanding.
  • Printed training text based on topics covered in the programme (English) and a CD containing all the presentation visuals is provided to all trainees as the training tool-kit
  • A well-designed feedback of the training is taken from all participants
  • Session-wise, sample feedback' from some participants, is also taken

Customised trainings

Specific, customised, modular trainings of three to five days are conducted for organisations who attend the basic training. The need for customised trainings was felt given that the basic training cannot provide the necessary exposure to the entire groundwater typology in India. Also, the basic training does not detail the approaches required for specific groundwater- related issues. Customised trainings are conducted in the partner organisation's programme location and the practical and field exposure is drawn from the actual field conditions in that partner's location. These trainings include specific modules that are customised to feed inputs to the programme on which groundwater management has to be overlaid.

Customised trainings provide facilitation to develop 'trainers' who can transfer ACWADAM's knowledge base to a wider grass-roots base. These trainings are conducted in English, Hindi and Marathi as per the requirements of the trainees. ACWADAM has also facilitated trainings in regional languages such as Telugu and Kannada, through partner organisations.