ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Irrigation and Efficient Use of Water

This is with reference to the excellent editorial “When the Water Runs Out” (EPW, 2 June 2012). In this regard there are two vital tasks for the government: one, capacity building of groundwater users with regard to groundwater resource ­extraction, utilisation, and recharge, and two, amendments to the existing laws on groundwater regulation and control (Acts passed by Karnataka and other states).

In India, the sector which has received the maximum budget outlay is the “supply side” of irrigation and that which received the least attention is the “demand side” of irrigation. Agriculture/irrigation has been the largest user of water (92%) and hence there are great gains in water-use efficiency in irrigation. The hypo­thesis that once water is made available farmers are aware of water-use efficiency is untenable. Agricultural extension has seldom emphasised “irrigation extension”. Currently more than 80% of irrigated agriculture in India is supported by groundwater through 23 million pumps with an addition of a million pumps every year (http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/Publications/ Water_Issue_Briefs/PDF/Water_Issue_Brief_ %2011.pdf).

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