USAID’s Water and Energy Nexus Project (WENWXA) – II

Project Title: USAID’s Water and Energy Nexus Project (WENWXA) – II


Location of the Project Area

The WENEXA – II project area agricultural site selected is comprised of 29 revenue villages in DF-12 and DF-13 falling under 5 Gram Panchayat’s, namely; Melekote, Heggadehalli, Rajaghatta, Tubugere and Konaghatta of Doddaballapur Taluk in Bangalore Rural district located in southeastern part of Karnataka. The villages have 4511 households with a population of 21193.

Project Background and Objectives

Water – Energy nexus is a concept which reveals the complementary relationship and also the inter dependency between water and energy in the rural sector. These two areas play a vital role in the rural economy and the socio economic status of the rural people. Going deep into the issues makes one to realize the significant inefficiencies and scope for improvement in these two sectors. Subsidized power supply, low agricultural production, environmental imbalance and pollution, etc. are some of the visible impacts emerged as a result of these inefficiencies. Poor management of water and energy has lead to diminishing ground water resources, poor quality power supply and pathetic state of the common property resources like village tanks which has become a major threat to the sustainable agriculture, which in turn adversely affect the rural livelihood. Therefore, the challenge before the developmental organizations today is to work out the suitable models and workable strategies to break the water and energy nexus, particularly in the rural area.

It is estimated that irrigation accounts for 30-40% of power consumption and it is distressing to note that much of it go wasted due to inefficient pumping systems and distribution losses. Ironically, the farmers decide to use ground water based on the power supply rather than the actual crop requirement. Unscientific system of power tariff fixation, ground water resources being considered as the individual property and not the common property resources, no incentives to the farmers who minimize the ground water use and non-payment of energy bills due to unwarranted political interferences… have led to rapidly declining the ground water table and critical shortage of water in villages. Due to the decline in ground water table, farmers started installing higher capacity pump sets than required to lift water from greater and greater depths.

WENEXA II is mainly concerned with the energy and water efficiency interventions that include improving distribution system upgrades, potential crop shifts based on water balance studies, crop water budgeting, educating the farmers on need for energy efficient pumping system, changes in ground water and methods to plan their crops depending on availability of the ground water, and introduction of the micro irrigation concepts.

Goals, Stake holders of WENEXA

The goals of the WENEXA project are to identify the solutions to the water and energy nexus and to design appropriate intervention models to address these issues at the local, state and national levels. This will be achieved through:

  1. Designing implementation projects to: improve irrigation pump set efficiency, promote crop shifts to less water intensive crops, promote efficient irrigation techniques and tillage practices and to develop locally based water and energy co-management approaches.
  2. Identifying financing schemes and local awareness of them to ensure broader adoption of the above.
  3. Promoting forward thinking and strategic planning by bringing together water, energy, agriculture, and rural development sectors as well as financial institutions to discuss a longer-term co-management framework empirically supported by local level activities.

Feeder lines

   DF-12 and DF-13 of Doddaballapur taluk have been considered for selection of the site due to certain advantages:

  • DF-12 and 13 are easily identifiable within the same watershed,
  • BESCOM has designated DF-13 as a priority under its RLMS[1] program to improve power distribution through reconductoring and phase balancing,
  • The presence of tanks located in the river Arkavati region could provide for ground water recharge and the potential for the tanks to be rehabilitated,
  • This area is located near the national highway provided greater market access for farmers in this area; and

The Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) initiative in Melekote offers an opportunity for leveraging resources with another donor-financed program.   


[1] Rural Load Management Scheme

IYD’s tasks and responsibilities

The relatively intensive nature of community awareness and mobilization requisite for WENEXA-II success indicated the need for a strong field presence. IYD, the Local NGO deployed experienced and qualified staff at its field site. Through information collection, community mobilization, and group formation, it is the NGO who assisted WENEXA technical team to identify livelihood needs of local communities that present both challenges and opportunities for local energy and water management. In addition, the NGO partner, through community mobilization and capacity building facilitated efficient management of these resources, while also considering project implications for vulnerable populations such as women and the landless.  IYD has been engaged as a local subcontractor to facilitate WENEXA on the ground deployment at its field site. IYD’s main task is to help identify livelihood needs of the local communities through data collection, focus group discussions and a community survey that poses both challenges and opportunities for more effective local energy and water use.

IYD has to provide for field presence, baseline data collection in the target area and conduct a field survey based on the survey instrument.

The specific tasks of the IYD are:

  • Work plan and field office location, Support selection of the pilot villages
  • Baseline data collection and village profiles.
  • Focus group discussion and on farm field and social survey,
  • Local field presence and support for WENEXA II technical assistance field site interventions.
  • Field implementation activities
  • Organize training programs and exposure visits for user groups.
  • Field survey on irrigation pump set farmers, community innovation in the management of locally based energy distribution systems that promoted the organization of user organizations in the target area.
  • Promote the technical assistance related to development of pump set & irrigation efficiency program, water balance analysis and crop & ground water budgeting.
  • Study on groundwater improvements and to prepare a watershed development plan.
  • The local field office has also motivated and facilitated the adoption of 502 acres under drip irrigation, resulting in considerable savings in the water usage in the target area in collaboration with the State Govt.
  • Translation and interpretation into the local language.
  • The NGO has totally prepared the community for acceptance of DTC metering and the energy efficient pumpset replacement program.

Household Survey

The household survey is done in the 29 revenue villages and collected the secondary data from various sources from the villages and the Taluk offices. The input derived has been utilized to design the questionnaire template keeping in view the composition of the villagers, number of pump set farmers and the rain fed farmers. This has helped us to decide on sample size and representations. The methods followed such as the secondary data collections, field level interactions, Focus Group Discussions etc. Farmers’ survey have helped us to have in depth understanding of the farmers’ level of understanding and awareness/ knowledge and attitude towards the water and energy issues. This has enabled us to identify the potential farmers to take up the project interventions.

Village Profile

The project has 29 villages under DF-12 and DF-13. The villages are covered under 5 Gram Panchayat’s, namely, Melekote, Heggadehalli, Rajaghatta, Konaghatta and Tubugere. The village profiles of these villages prepared will be used to design the Water- Energy Nexus of each village

On Farm Field Survey:

On farm field survey of all irrigation 736 pumpset farmers were collected and analyzed annually. There are 906 irrigation bore wells, of which 712 are functional, 39 are low yield wells. The findings of the survey gave an indication of the issues to be addressed; recommendations and the implementations strategies to be followed and which have been provided the baseline information. The data analysis and findings have been helpful to other partners to go ahead in their specific tasks of interventions in a desired direction  particularly in the thrust areas such as distribution system, pumping efficiency, change in cropping pattern & irrigation practices, improved water storage structures, soil & water conservation practices to augment the groundwater  etc,.

Focus Group Discussion

Focus Group Discussions were conducted in different project villages, covering topical issues, namely, Irrigation and Water Management, Agriculture, Energy, Gender, DTC, Metering, and Pump set replacement.  Informal interactive sessions were also conducted in most of the villages to ascertain and understand the farmers’ perception on issues concerning the Water and Energy Nexus.



Liaison with taluk & state level government depts

Liaison with state government depts. at Taluk level to prepare a reposition of information. Meetings with local stakeholders, particularly  PRI members, Line depts. of Agriculture, Horticulture, Taluk Panchayat Officials at village and taluk level have helped to promote the field level interactions that are most needed for the success of the project interventions.

Also meeting with state level officers of the various departments heads like, commissioner’s of Agriculture, sericulture, director of horticulture, secretary of RDPR, NABARD, Mines & Geology etc., has provided us an opportunity  to appraise them of the project objectives and possible interventions to break the water & energy nexus in the area and also seed their cooperation. This helped us to identify the areas where in we can work together with the government agencies and their program to leverage support to project interventions.

As results of these meetings, the farmers in the project area were getting available subsidy for drip irrigation in time. The farmers are very happy and are getting motivated to adopt drip irrigation practices.

Facilitating the co- partners in the project area


  • Facilitation and field support on DPR on Irrigation Efficiency by UAS, Bangalore
  • Facilitation on Water budget study by AFPRO, Bangalore
  • Facilitation and field support on DPR on Energy Efficiency by IIEC, New Delhi

IYD has also facilitated the co- partners namely, UAS, Bangalore in finalization of Questionnaires and conducting FGDs, Gender specialists, DTS, USA, in finalization of Questionnaires, translation, interaction with villagers, Data collection and conducting FGDs, IIEC in providing secondary data, DRUM in providing secondary data, DRUM Trainers – provided information relating to the field level perceptions of the pump set farmers, Global Advisors, USA, for field level interactions.

Pilot Pumps set replacement program

In 2005, fifteen farmers have been selected in project area for pump set replacement. The farmers are basically Grape and mulberry growers under bore well irrigation. The local and inefficient pump sets have been replaced by improved and efficient pump sets at the project cost. All these farmers also have adopted drip irrigation.
The pumpset replacement of the 15 farms selected for the pilot project with the objective of to pre-test various aspects of investments in energy efficient pump sets and drip irrigation systems. The status of these pumpset replacement farmers has been reporting in each quarter to study the impact on water & energy issues. The pilot programme is having a positive effect on the entire farm community in the area. A total area of 73.75 acres brought under drip irrigation by these farmers out of own investment.About 100% of the farm households participating in the pilot are highly satisfied with the drip irrigation system due to their savings on energy, water, labor cost & time. As a result of positive effects of this pilot programme, the outside the pilot farmers also have shifted 654.69 acres into drip irrigation up to the end of May 2009. Still there is a lot of scope for shifting from flood to drip irrigation system due to WENEXA interventions.

Institutional Development

To support institutional development for group interaction with the bore well farm community through establishing panchayat level crop-specific user groups to improve access to water, energy and crop market for sustainable enhanced income generation. Most of the bore well irrigation of DF-12 & 13 service area falls under the jurisdiction of two Gram Panchayats namely Melekote and Heggadehally. The formation crop specific groups by focusing Mulberry and Grape crops only. Panchayat wise and village wise crop specific growers meetings were organized and formed the crop specific groups. Accordingly 19 grower groups were to deliver training and out reach which can result in improved investments in energy efficiency, irrigation efficiency and greater adoption of best practices in the project area. The rules and regulations / roles and responsibilities of these grower groups will be worked out.

Watershed Development Plan

An integrated watershed development plan of DF-12 & 13 project area was prepared by participatory net planning method, by incorporating soil & water conservation structures, drainage line treatments, horticulture, forestry, livestock and livelihood activities and demonstration plots and submitted WENEXA office New-Delhi office. Under the guidance of WNEXA – II team, New-Delhi, the watershed management plan has been further developed into Detailed Project Report. In this report we included the net plan report of individual farmers, common land area treatment, Drainage line treatments etc., GIS map of project area, Model design & estimates of each soil & water conservation structure. On-farm & off–farm demonstrations, training and exposures visits, livelihood activities etc., are also proposed in this plan.
Implementation of this groundwater improvements program will helps to improve the groundwater status in the area, improve the natural resources, livelihood etc., which are directly linked to the water and energy nexus.

DTC Installation and DTC Metering

Distribution transformers are installed  for each pumpset in the project area . DTC are installed 632 DTs for 695 irrigation pumpsets in the project area.  Initially farmers protested for installation of DTC and metering having following perceptions:

  • Farmers are opposed to install DTC at their farm., which obstructs in farming
  • Condensers / converters may not work.
  • Local pumpsets may not work
  • Unable to connect second bore well from DTC.
  • Maintenance of DTC by single person is very difficult. Single person bear the expenses of maintenance.
  • Some times high voltage supply in DTC will burn the pumpsets or panel system.
  • If the DTC get repaired, the BESCOM will demand to pay the balance electricity bill.
  • Farmers are protested in all villages during meter installation
  • They never allow to enter into a village
  • The IP set will not run in single phase if the meter is installed.
  • Farmers worry that they would be billed on consumption ( more than 10 HP)
  • Guilty that, the actual capacity of the pump set running will be recorded.
  • They never understand the importance of DTC metering.
  • Few local leaders created a false propaganda on metering.
  • Later all farmers were motivated through FGD, house to house visit, training workshops etc and are convinced for acceptance.

SHG Study and Micro financing for SHGs

A study has been conducted to ascertain the coverage and activities of SHG in the project area. Out of 108 SHGs in the project area, 10 SHGs have been identified, where more bore well farm women, cultivating mulberry and grapes. A pilot attempt has been made the SHGs to institutionalize micro-lending for drip irrigation programme. All these SHGs are provided trainings such as bank linkage, Book keeping, water & energy efficiency, Best practices, groundwater improvements etc. Several meetings and discussions were held with the Corporation Bank and Corporation of India Bank Managers regarding the SHGs credit linkage programme. Few SHGs were motivated to finance for drip irrigation through Internal lending process. Sri Nandini Annapoorneswari SHG I Sri Nandini Sharada SHG of Gulya village have came forward to finance for drip irrigation through their internal lending process. They have sanctioned term loan for two pump set farm women for drip irrigation in 3 acres of Mulberry crop.

Shifting of flood to Drip irrigation system

The continuous efforts are being made to motivate the potential farmers to shift the irrigation from flood to drip to save energy & water. Most of the farmers understand the importance of drip irrigation and shifted their land in to drip. As a result of our continuous motivation by training and interaction we are able to achieve the target of improved irrigation techniques of 654.69 acres up to the end of May 2009, by 218 farmers through Drip irrigation. The major crops under drip are Grapes & Mulberry crops and a small quantity of vegetables, fodder, Sapota and banana crops.

Capacity Building

As a part of the capacity building activities, IYD has organized Workshop/ trainings/ Exposure visits to the selected farmers in the project area to create awareness and knowledge on the improved techniques of pumping system and drip irrigation technologies & Affordable Drip Irrigation Technology Intervention (ADITI), Sustainable & improved agricultural practices, Groundwater improvements, micro financing etc., to the irrigated farmers and SHG members in the project area villages. Various exposure trip out side of the project area, and exposure trip to Krishi Mela at Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra (GKVK), Bangalore, were exposed to improved farm equipments, pump sets, drip irrigation equipments, high yield varieties and improved agronomic practices, etc. Watershed concept, Ground water improvement Trainings, Irrigation efficiency trainings, Pump set efficiency trainings for both growers & SHG members book keeping training for SHGs, formation of Grape & Mulberry growers. All the project area irrigation pump set farmers are covered in this workshop/ trainings.

Results / Impact of the Project

The impact due to these problems is many folds. The impacts have even changed the life style of the farmers in the area. In the absence of the external interventions and the 

extension services, certain natural but self-motivated changes have been surfaced in these villages. They are:

  • Shift in cropping pattern – more water intensive crops to less water intensive crops
  • The farmers are aware improved irrigation techniques like drip irrigation and benefits of drip irrigation.
  • Increased area under fodder / diversification to dairying
  • Increase the area of cultivation of mulberry / sericulture
  • Dairying chosen as the best alternate IGA
  • Diversion to Sheep and goat rearing / poultry
  • The role of women is plays an important role in livestock activities such as dairying and other IGA.

Nearly 96% of the unauthorized irrigation pump sets were authorized


It is evidenced that the programme was delivered substantial benefits to households adopting clean cookstoves and solar lighting, including though improved health status, reduced drudgery, and children’s education. It will also deliver climate change benefits through reducing CO2 and black carbon emissions. The following impact indicators were monitored under the programme:

  • Reduced consumption of kerosene by adopting households;
  • Improved ambient air quality standards in adopting households;
  • Reduced emissions of CO2, and reduced concentrations of particulate matter in focus villages;
  • Reduced drudgery/increased availability of time to women in adopting households;
  • Improved health status of women and children in adopting households.

Summary of the workshop/Training / Exposure’s are as follows

Sl. No.


No. of programs

Total No. of Participants


Focus Group Discussion at Community level




Grower Org. workshop




Grower workshop on Irrigation (Drip) and Energy Efficiency Program




Grower workshop on Best Practices




Grower workshop on Groundwater improvements




SHG workshop on Financial Training




SHG workshop on Irrigation Efficiency (Drip Irrigation)




SHG workshop on Energy Efficiency pumpset




SHG workshop on Best Practices




SHG workshop on Groundwater improvements




SHG workshop on Bank Linkage Programme




Experiential Sharing workshop  – Pilot farmers




Exposure visits to Farm Mela (Krushi Mela) at GKVK Bangalore




Exposure visits to Devanahalli taluk (Drip Irrigation)




Exposure visit to Pilot farmers




Pumpset farmers meeting with BESCOM  Officials