Connecting Natural and Societal Domains for Sustainable Rural Community-based Water Systems in Odisha, India

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The purpose of this thesis is to develop a conceptual framework for analyzing whether the interactions between natural and societal domains of rural drinking water infrastructure are complementary in nature. Much of this framework is based on the literature on community capitals in water resource management. The study was set in Odisha, India and the methods for analysis were mainly qualitative, built on program documents, field surveys, interviews and focus group discussion with relevant actors. The research reveals that while there is a strong presence of natural capital in Odisha, the state government and the rural communities lack the technical expertise and social skills to best manage it. In the face of these challenges, Cornell University-based research organization, AguaClara provides low-cost, innovative and intelligible water treatment solutions and Odisha-based NGO, Gram Vikas mobilizes, trains and develops skills of the rural communities. Hence, the partnership between AguaClara and Gram Vikas exhibits collaborative synergies that fit perfectly within the conceptual framework. However, more research should be done on lowering the O&M costs of such projects to benefit the community at large.

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© 2017 Disha Dattatraya Mendhekar A copy of this thesis has been supplied on the condition that anyone who consults it, understood to recognize that copyright of this thesis rests with the author. No quotation either from its hard binding or softcopy should be published without author’s prior consent and information derived from it should be acknowledged and cited properly.


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Cornell University


Rural Drinking Water Systems; Odisha; India; Community Capitals Framework; Water Governance


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