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

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Agrarian Potential of In-Situ Water Harvesting

A Case Study of Farm Ponds in Jharkhand

Despite substantial government expenditure on major and medium irrigation systems, Indian agriculture continues being predominantly rain-fed. But increasing private interventions for water control, such as farm ponds, mark the emerging importance of in-situ irrigation systems for India’s agrarian dynamism. A case study of farm ponds in Jharkhand finds the contribution of these in increasing the agrarian surplus through yield enhancement, crop diversification and crop intensification. However, the financial viability of such a system is scale dependent with farm ponds of only a certain size generating high benefit-cost ratio and internal rate of return.

The authors acknowledge the support of Vikas Anvesh Foundation and the Tata Steel Rural Development Society for conducting this study. This study was financially supported by TSRDS.

Since independence the Government of India has spent substantial amount on creating irrigation potential for defying the vagaries of monsoon and enhancing the food production. While the irrigation potential created has increased in the last six decades, majority of Indias agriculture still continues to be rain-fed. High utilisation of the extant irrigation facilities and the improvement in irrigation service delivery, as found by Shah et al (2016) in Madhya Pradesh, are more an exception than rule. Groundwater has been the driver of the irrigation growth in South Asia. But depletion and quality deterioration raise questions about sustainability of such measures. In this context, promotion of small water harvesting structures that are privately owned and located on the users farm, especially in areas that have hitherto remained outside the purview of irrigation, are expected to increase water control at the farm level and bring positive changes in the agrarian landscape of the area (Malik et al 2014). Based on this premise, this article looks into the impact of farm ponds on the lives and livelihoods of the agrarian population in three districts of Jharkhand.

Water Control and Agriculture in Jharkhand

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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