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

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Agroecological Farming in Water-deficient Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is confronted with a water crisis that is adversely affecting agriculture, industry, services, and households. The principal crop in Tamil Nadu is rice, which is water intensive. Millets, in general, are less water intensive and more capable of withstanding drought conditions. An agroecological system of farming millets ought to take into account not only water use, but also the whole gamut of political and ecological issues that are connected to farming such as public procurement, land reform, minimum support price, subsidised credit, agricultural extension services, and so on. The publicly procured millet output may be distributed through the public distribution system, government schools, and through the network of Amma canteens in the state.

A water crisis has been developing in the recent past all across the world, which is closely connected to the private use and control of water (Barlow and Clarke 2002; Barlow 2009, 2014). This water crisis has had a negative impact on countries that comprise the capitalist metropolis as well as the periphery. In India too, there has been a burgeoning water crisis but its impact has, however, been unevenly distributed (Poddar et al 2014). Tamil Nadu, a state in South India, is facing a water crisis that is adversely affecting agriculture, industry, services and households (Rajagopal et al 2016). In Tamil Nadu, surface water resources had been utilised substantially and a significant share of groundwater had been brought in to use. The share of total water resources of the state was only 4% of India’s total, whereas its share of the country’s population was 7%, resulting in it being declared as the region with the lowest per capita availability of water in the country among the bigger states (Rajagopal
et al 2016).

The Cauvery river in the neighbouring state of Karnataka is an important source of water for Tamil Nadu. When the south-west monsoon in Karnataka is inadequate, it has a direct negative impact on the water situation in Tamil Nadu. The legal dispute over Cauvery water began in 1974 when the water-sharing agreement (enacted in 1924) lapsed after 50 years (Rajagopal et al 2016). The judgment of the Supreme Court that was delivered on 16 February 2018 has determined a formula for sharing of the Cauvery waters among the various states. However, it remains to be seen whether this judgment can be fully implemented. In the next few decades, the water crisis in Tamil Nadu cannot be handled unless the state is provided the share of Cauvery water that it is legally entitled to as per the judgment.

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Updated On : 16th Oct, 2018

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