Because overexploitation of groundwater across the basin is estimated to be 9 billion cubic meters annually, a program was developed to address the supply demand balance within the river basin, recognizing the impacts downstream. A 7-year program was developed (ending in 2011) that involved the implementation of an integrated water and environmental management strategy in 16 separate counties. The approach included the use of water quotas, a basin wide data management, the engagement of local communities, metering and legislation.
At a program cost of US$14,800,000, the pilot proved successful in implementing reduced water quotas against improved water management practices, whilst supporting growth in farm incomes. At one village location (village) water quotas actually reduced usage by approximately 40% (from 570,000m3 / year to 350,000m3 / year), while continuing to meet farmers’ requirements for irrigation water.