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

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Managing the Water–Energy Nexus in Agriculture

Water management technologies, mainly micro-irrigation, help save water by 39% and energy by 58%. In 2025, the total demand for water in India is projected to be 886 billion cubic metre, and the total electricity demand 4,18,277 million kWh. Adoption of micro-irrigation is increasing at 1.22% per annum. If this growth rate continues, about 8.8 million hectares will be under micro-irrigation in 2025, and 24 bcm of water and 3,598 MkWh of electricity will be saved annually. To boost adoption, the government should promote cost-effective micro-irrigation system designs, simplify subsidy norms, and strengthen capacity-building programmes for farmers.

Micro-irrigation Neglected

In spite of the sustained efforts made by central and state governments, the adoption of micro-irrigation (MI) in the country—mainly sprinkler and drip irrigation—is rather tardy. The estimated potential of MI in the country is about 42 million hectares (mha) and the current coverage of area under...

Managing Water Management Research

An analysis of 40 years of water management research and outreach in India using data from 34 centres and 5,000 field trials across 23 states shows that of the 502 technologies released, only 110 technologies (22%) have been transferred successfully to farmers. The returns to water management technologies range from 15% to 25% (average 21%) at the research station level, compared to 9% to 14% at the farm level (average 10.8%). Given the current rate of adoption and rate of return, the success rate of the water management technologies is only about 12%. There is therefore an urgent need to address the gaps in technology transfer and performance.

Doing Different Things or Doing It Differently?

Can the System of Rice Intensification be the answer to meet the country's future rice demand? A macro-level study covering 13 major rice-growing states indicates that fields with SRI have a higher average yield compared to non-SRI fields. Out of the four core SRI components typically recommended, 41% adopted one component, 39% adopted two to three components, and only 20% adopted all the components. Full adopters recorded the highest yield increase (31%), but all adopters had yields higher than those that used conventional practices. They also had higher gross margins and lower production costs compared to non-SRI fields. Though the rice yield of the country can significantly increase under SRI and modified SRI practices, there are major constraints that have to be tackled before this can be achieved.

Spread and Economics of Micro-irrigation in India: Evidence from Nine States

The adoption of micro-irrigation projects has resulted in water saving, yield and income enhancement at the farm level. However, the overall impression is that they are capital-intensive and suited to large farms. In this context, a study was undertaken in nine states, mainly to examine the actual area covered compared to the potential area and to understand the adoption level of mi as well as to analyse the cost and returns under different farm categories. The results indicated that only about 9% of the mi potential is covered in the country. Key suggestions include reduction in capital cost of the system, provision of technical support for operation after installation, relaxation of farm size limitation in providing subsidies and the establishment of a single state level agency for implementation of the programme.

Climate Change and Water Supplies: Options for Sustaining Tank Irrigation Potential in India

Climate change will affect water supplies in south Asia, where high-intensity floods and droughts are expected in the future. Increasing water storage is a key adaptation strategy, and the experience of irrigation tanks illustrates both the potential and challenges of this adaptation response. Although there are over 2,08,000 tanks in India, irrigating about 2.3 million hectares in 2000-01, the net area irrigated by tanks declined by 29% between 1990-91 and 2000-01 and by 32% between 2001 and 2008. This paper reviews the challenges faced by tank irrigation and examines options for improving their performance - revenue mobilisation through multiple use of tanks, augmenting groundwater resources in the tanks, integrating social forestry and desilting, and tank modernisation.
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