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Agriculture Water Use Dr. Alok Kumar Sikka DDG (NRM), Indian Council of Agricultural Research & Technical Expert (Watershed Development), National Rainfed Area Authority, Planning Commission, Government of India New Delhi

Population and Water Resources  Agriculture 

2% of world’s land

4% of world’s freshwater resources

16 % of world’s population 17 % of world’s

cattle populationRainfall – 1,170 mm (Global

Average – 1,100 mm)


 Maximum Rainfall - 11,000 mm (Cherrapunji)  Minimum


-100 mm (Western

Rajasthan)  Variations from 4 days to over 300 days a year

and intensity from < 1 cm/hr up to 15 cm/hr.


2209 1820

2000 Projected Population (Million)

 Minimum : Average : Maximum 1:10:100

supports livelihood for 58% of population as labour Contributes about 14% to GDP Essential role in national food security & inclusive growth. Irrigation uses 83% of water, diversion of water to agriculture expected to reduce Ground water contributes 60% of irrigation water 80% small & marginal holders posses 36% land


1700 1340




1500 1000


1000 500


0 1991


Stress Condition



Scarcity condition


Per capita availability

Population (million)

Per caita water availability (m3)

India has

Per capita storage (cu.m.)

Source: Water and Related Statistics, Central Water Commission, 2010

Plan-wise irrigation potential created and utilized in India (Cumulative) 123.33 Mha

91.12 Mha 74 %

Ultimate Potential 140 Mha M&M: 58.5 M&GW: 81.5(64)

Source: Central Water Commission, 2010

WATER & AGRICULTURE  Challenged with the situation of growing water scarcity and increased demand for food.  Proposed food security bill.  Coarse cereals are also included in the bill and better chances of MSP enforcement.  Prioritise investment portfolio in agriculture and water to meet this challenge.  Increased irrigation efficiency and water productivity as response to growing challenges in water and agriculture in irrigated and rainfed areas.

Irrigation Net irrigated area : ~ 63 M ha Productivity very low : < 3 t/ha Irrigation systems are supply driven Efficiency is very low : 38%

Key Challenge: More Food with Less Water  Growing water scarcity and competing water demands for urban and environmental needs are expected to reduce diversion of water for agriculture in future.  Developing countries like India are most challenged with this problem due to rapid population growth, urbanizations, industrialization and economic development.  The key challenge for the future food and environmental security is growing more food with less water.  This demands increased efforts in efficient, productive and intelligent use of water. “Enhancing water productivity is an appropriate response to growing water crisis in rainfed areas”

Water productivity for different cropping systems

Annual returns (`/ha) Paddy 4,166 IFS 69,725


Water Conserving Technologies Proper scheduling of canals



Designing check basins



Zero tillage



Precision leveling



Delayed rice planting in Punjab



Drip Irrigation



Ridge/furrow or raised/sunken beds - 20-25% Gene constructs for drought tolerance -


Tissue cultured eucalyptus, banana, sugarcane, papaya returned 30% higher water productivity

Bridging Demand-Supply Gap  Researchers, managers, implementers and policy planners are challenged to find out ways and means of bridging the growing demand-supply gap in water and agriculture.  Fundamental ways to bridge demand-supply gap of water in agriculture are: (a) To increase water supplies, (b) To improve water productivity ‘crop per drop’, and (c) To make economic choices (d) To reduce water withdrawals, and make crop substitutions (e) Co-management of water (multiple water use) Environmentally benign strategies


On Farm Water Management 

Land leveling

Methods of irrigation

 Check basin and Border strip irrigation  Furrow/Surge flow irrigation  Raised bed-planting system  Pressurized irrigation systems  Any improvement in Water Use Efficiency automatically enhances Nutrient Use Efficiency

Water Saving Technologies Laser land leveling - A Precursor technology

Raised bed planting

Increases irrigated area ~ 2% Increases crop yields ~ 20% Additional field area added ~ 3%

Promotes: Intensification Diversification

Rice-winter Maize+Potato/Rice

Innovations: Shape future for Eastern IGP farmers

Water productivity and grain yield of wheat under different sowing methods Water productivity (kg/m3) 30

Grain yield (q/ha)












0 FIRB planting (clay loam)

FIRB Planting

Zero tillage (clay loam)

Zero Till

Grain yield (q/ha)

Water productivity(kg/m3)


Conventional (clay loam)


Water budget based crop planning

Convergence for Better Use of Water in Agriculture

Water lifting device on dug well in Damoh.

Last Mile Coverage of Irrigation Project

Water being released from Kutni dam to feeder canal in chattarpur district.

Farmers lifting water from feeder canal.

Micro irrigation and crop diversification, Damoh


A good stand of wheat crop.

Farmers irrigating wheat crop from the pannchampur Minor.

Rapid Groundwater Development • Emergence of low cost pumps • Government policies on subsidizing credit and rural energy led to phenomenal growth of groundwater development. • Great regional differences in level of GW development, with much higher exploitation in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, UP, Tamilnadu, Haryana etc. leading to aquifer depletion– question of sustainability? • Less development in Eastern region • A primary democratic instrument of livelihood improvement in rural areas.  Need for reforms in stake holder aquifer management including pricing and regulatory mechanism, and feeder separation in extensively ground water use areas.  Increasing access to ground water in less GW developed areas.

Water management can be broadly looked at Supply side management Demand side management

Demand management of water involving enhancement of water availability and productivity through adoption of improved management practices at a community/group level would be one of the solutions for realizing the potential benefits from increased water resources. The proposed solution should aim at •covering more number of farmers, •reducing the cropping area under more water consuming crops •efficient scheduling through critical /protection irrigation for rainfed crops, •diversification of crops •sharing of available resource between community members, •sharing of investment for water distribution mechanism etc.

Thank you

Agriculture Water Use  

Seminar Session 6

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