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India’s energy groundwater nexus

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Presentation by Tushaar Shah at Stockholm World Water Week 2014.

Presentation by Tushaar Shah at Stockholm World Water Week 2014.

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  • 1. India’s Energy Groundwater Nexus: Present State and Future Prospects Tushaar Shah Senior Fellow, IWMI Member, GWP-TEC
  • 2. Since 1830, few countries in the world have invested as much in canal irrigation as India has.. today..
  • 3. Yet, the mainstay of Indian agriculture today are 25 million private groundwater wells- 15 m electric and 10 m diesel. Each dot represents 5000 irrigation wells Electricity use: 120-150 thousand GWh; Diesel use: 5-8 billion litres Groundwater pumped: 230-250 billion m3 Area irrigated 60-70 million ha
  • 4. During the 1970’s, governments anxious to expand irrigation began to subsidize farm power for irrigation. Soon, this elixir became the opiate..for a politically strident vote-bank Energy divide of Indian groundwater economy Groundwater rich but energy-poor eastern India dependent on diesel.. Groundwater scarce western corridor with electric tubewells with power subsidies
  • 5. Farm power subsidies soon became perverse Impacts • Agricultural economy addicted to subsidies • Vote-bank politics • Depleted aquifers • Bankrupt electricity industry • Massive waste of power and water • Anarchy on electric feeders
  • 6. Electricity subsidy as a percentage of state fiscal deficits very high in some states 0 20 40 60 80 100 Bihar West Bengal U.P (Power corp) Maharashtra Punjab Tamil Nadu Rajasthan (Transco) Karnataka Andhra Pradesh Gujarat Haryana Madhya Pradesh Percentage BRISCOE, 2005, Data pertains to 2002 Many electricity utilities went bankrupt.. Yet farmers received poor quality power supply
  • 7. Perverse electricity-groundwater nexus at its worst..
  • 8. West Bengal pulled this off because it has few electric tube wells. In western states, this would fell governments.. West Bengal’s textbook pricing solution: meter and TOD tariff
  • 9. Gujarat’s Jyotigram Yojana: second-best but politically feasible rationing solution
  • 10. Gujarat, the original ‘basket case’ rewired the country-side and created a tamper-proof system of rationing farm power.. Figure 1 a Electricity Network Before Figure 1 b Electricity Network after
  • 11. Community-driven water harvesting and groundwater recharge movement in Saurashtra has revitalized dying agriculture Meghal basin drainage network Profusion of check dams built by people, with government support
  • 12. Gujarat’s agriculture has been growing @ 9+% This growth is energized by groundwater irrigation. Yet, Gujarat is the only state in western India where groundwater levels are improving..and the electricity utility is again making money..
  • 13. Investing in decentralized Managed Aquifer Recharge can ease the energy-groundwater nexus in western India Energy use/m3 of groundwater Without MAR With decentralized MAR
  • 14. The energy-groundwater nexus in Eastern India, Bangladesh, Nepal terai and Pakistan Punjab No electricity; little subsidy; Abundant groundwater; massive poverty; but the diesel-dependent groundwater economy is shrinking with each increase in diesel price;
  • 15. Solar Irrigation Pumps: Five Problems, One Solution
  • 16. Total solution to India’s energy-groundwater nexus: Smart Solar Pump Promotion Strategy Problem 1:A1 nannual farm power subsidy bill: US $ 6 billion Eastern India: solar pump subsidies to create entrepreneurial Irrigation Service Providers Smart subsidy-loan model for solar pumps and buried pipe distribution system to catalyze vibrant local irrigation service markets Replacing all electric irrigation pumps in India by solar pumps would save US $ 5 billion/year in subsidies Western India: solar power as cash crop 1.Subsidize solar pumps to wean farmer away from grid power; 2. provide assured buy-back of surplus solar power by net metering at same terms as MW scale solar plants; 3. organize solar farmer co-ops to pool solar power in a village and evacuate it at single point.
  • 17. Total solution to India’s energy-groundwater nexus: Smart Solar Pump Promotion Strategy Problem 2:A1 Unreliable, poor quality grid power supply during nights Eastern India: solar pump subsidies to create entrepreneurial Irrigation Service Providers Smart subsidy-loan model for solar pumps and buried pipe distribution system to catalyze vibrant local irrigation service markets Solar pumps can offer 2500-3500 hours/year of reliable power during the day year-round all over India Western India: solar power as cash crop 1.Subsidize solar pumps to wean farmer away from grid power; 2. provide assured buy-back of surplus solar power by net metering at same terms as MW scale solar plants; 3. organize solar farmer co-ops to pool solar power in a village and evacuate it at single point.
  • 18. Total solution to India’s energy-groundwater nexus: Smart Solar Pump Promotion Strategy Problem 3:A1 Nperverse incentives drive groundwater depletion in western India Eastern India: solar pump subsidies to create entrepreneurial Irrigation Service Providers Smart subsidy-loan model for solar pumps and buried pipe distribution system to catalyze vibrant local irrigation service markets With assured buyback of surplus solar power from solar farmer coops, farmers will treat solar energy as a lucrative ‘ cash crop’. Western India: solar power as cash crop 1.Subsidize solar pumps to wean farmer away from grid power; 2. provide assured buy-back of surplus solar power by net metering at same terms as MW scale solar plants; 3. organize solar farmer co-ops to pool solar power in a village and evacuate it at single point.
  • 19. Total solution to India’s energy-groundwater nexus: Smart Solar Pump Promotion Strategy Western India: solar power as cash crop 1.Subsidize solar pumps to wean farmer away from grid power; 2. provide assured buy-back of surplus solar power by net metering at same terms as MW scale solar plants; 3. organize solar farmer co-ops to pool solar power in a village and evacuate it at single point. Problem 4:A1Rising diesel costs shrink groundwater economy of eastern India with immiserising results Eastern India: solar pump subsidies to create entrepreneurial Irrigation Service Providers Smart subsidy-loan model for solar pumps and buried pipe distribution system to catalyze vibrant local irrigation service markets Solar pump based Irrigation Service Markets are insulated from soaring diesel prices and from unreliable grid power.
  • 20. Total solution to India’s energy-groundwater nexus: Smart Solar Pump Promotion Strategy Problem5: Agroundwater economy accounts for 6% of India’s carbon emission Eastern India: solar pump subsidies to create entrepreneurial Irrigation Service Providers Smart subsidy-loan model for solar pumps and buried pipe distribution system to catalyze vibrant local irrigation service markets Replacing thermal power and diesel by solar pumps transforms India’s ‘dirty’ groundwater irrigation economy into clean and green. Western India: solar power as cash crop 1.Subsidize solar pumps to wean farmer away from grid power; 2. provide assured buy-back of surplus solar power by net metering at same terms as MW scale solar plants; 3. organize solar farmer co-ops to pool solar power in a village and evacuate it at single point.
  • 21. Governments have begun offering outrageously lucrative solar pump subsidies. But these are dumb. They promote solar pump as only a ‘green’ energy solution. A smart subsidy would promote solar pumps as an energy-water-environment-livelihoods solution Thank You for this opportunity

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