Eastern India and the Groundwater Paradox, by Aditi Mukherji


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Eastern India and the Groundwater Paradox, by Aditi Mukherji

  1. 1. Eastern India and the Groundwater Paradox Aditi Mukherji Presented at GWP South Asia Workshop, Colombo February 25, 2011 Based on synthesis of research since 2004
  2. 2. The irrigation story of India Private ownership40000 Rapid rise On demand irrigation35000 in GW Timeliness30000 irrigation Adequacy25000 Flexibility2000015000100005000 0 1951 1953 1955 1957 1959 1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 Canals Tanks & other sources Groundwater
  3. 3. Rising contribution of groundwater 60 1970-73% of Agricultural GDP 40 20 BUT, depletion, scarcity 0 1 21 and over-exploitation have 41 61 81 101 121 141 161 181 201 221 241 emerged as serious problems Districts 60 1990-93 Percentage to Agricultural GDP 40 20 0 1 21 41 61 81 101 121 141 161 181 201 221 241 Districts % contribution of SWI to Agricultural GDP % contribution of GWI to Agricultural GDP
  4. 4. The Problem StatementAre depletion and scarcity the only reality?Are there pockets of under-utilization? Can GW alleviate poverty in these regions? Indo-Gangetic basin Eastern has high GW potential
  5. 5. ConcentratedRural poverty
  6. 6. Leading to economicscarcity of GW in a land of abundance And dieselised GW economy “The energy squeeze”
  7. 7. Electricity subsidy as percentage of state fiscal deficitsIs low to non-existent in eastern India Bihar West Bengal U.P (Power corp) Partly due to low Maharashtra number of electric Punjab tubewells Tamil NaduRajasthan (Transco) But also high Karnataka tariffs Andhra Pradesh Gujarat Haryana Madhya Pradesh 0 20 40 60 80 100 PercentageBRISCOE, 2005,
  8. 8. Comparison of flat tariff in different states, 2006-07 2500 2160 2000 Rs/HP/Year 1512 1500 1000 850 420 500 0 0 Punjab Haryana Gujarat Uttarakhand West Bengal States Flat rate tariff (Rs/HP/year)
  9. 9. West Bengal: A state that bucks the trend in GW and electricityPunjab, Haryana, Gujarat, West BengalTamil NaduOver-exploitation of GW Under- development of GW (42% development)> 60-80% electric pumps < 20% electric pumpsFree/very low flat rate Earlier highest flat rate in India and now high metered tariffHigh fiscal deficits due to Non-existent electricityelectricity subsidy subsidy
  10. 10. Why is energy-irrigation nexus so different in West Bengal? Highly restrictive groundwater policies  The GW Act of 2005 and before that the SWID regulation of 1999 which stipulates that electricity connections cannot be given without certification by SWID  Almost 50-60% rejection by SWID even in safe blocks High cost of pump electrification (USD 2000- 3000) and long waiting period Political ecology: government dominated by urban intelligentsia, strong arsenic lobby and weak farmers lobby co-opted by the state
  11. 11. So what is happening on the agricultural front in West Bengal? Agricultural growth rate of around 1% and stagnation High period of agrarian growth in mid 1990s coincided with high GW use and increase in summer paddy The latest MI Census shows an absolute decline in number of WEMs and reduction in summer paddy (but the GoWB is changing these numbers, I was told) Declining quality of life , peasant unrest and Maoist threat
  12. 12. Are there physical constraints to GW development in West Bengal? Not really. Pre-monsoon decline in groundwater table is fully recovered during post monsoon season showing high actual recharge As per the Ganges Water Machine Hypothesis, intensive GW use has positive externalities 12
  13. 13. Testing the Ganges Water Machine hypothesis using panel dataData• 16 years of groundwater level data from 403 monitoring wells (1990-1995) For every one meter of• Block level rainfall data from 1990-2005 additional drawdown in pre-• Data on type of aquifer monsoon season, post-Regression specificationmonsoon recovery goes up• Panel data with well level fixed effects by 0.85 m• Keeps all time invariant factors (such as nature of aquifer) constant over time• Exploits within-well variation recit   i  1 pre _ WDit   2 monsoon _ RFit  3nonmon _ RFit   4 LAG _ reci ,t 1   it Far from negative “quantity” externality, there are positive------------------------------------------------------------------------------positivere~y | Coef. Std. Err. t P>|t| [95% Conf. Interval] externalities in terms of-------------+---------------------------------------------------------------- apriltable | .8577282 .0145882 58.80 0.000 .8291239 .8863324aprnovrain~l | reduction of rejected recharge, .0003465 .0000814 4.26 0.000 .000187 .000506decmarchra~l | .0019719 .0005453 3.62 0.000 .0009026 .0030412 lower .1539974 -20.47 cheaper -3.453918 -2.850009 _cons | -3.151964 flood intensity, 0.000-------------+---------------------------------------------------------------- alternative to surface storage sigma_u | 1.7284553 sigma_e | 1.3200953 rho | .63159102 (fraction of variance due to u_i)------------------------------------------------------------------------------F test that all u_i=0: F(323, 2913) = 9.86 Prob > F = 0.0000 13
  14. 14. Predicted versus actual recovery: Shows good model fit Predicted recovery against pre-monsoon groundwater table at well-level 20 15 Predicted recovery in post monsoon season 10 5 0 -5 0 10 20 30 pre_wdActual recovery in post monsoonseason 14
  15. 15. 6 arguments as to why arsenic should not be an obstacle to intensive GW use in Bengal• Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in lower Ganga Basin. As soon as arsenic bearing layers are exposed to oxygen, they release arsenic into water. Shortthat Linking these 6 arguments shows of total ban on groundwater use, nothing much discouraging GW use is counter-productive that can be done about it because in the absence of any other• But then, GW is the only resource at disposal to farmers that allows them to intensify their alternative sources of reliable irrigation& cropping system and make a living out ofthe regionland holdings. Ponds, tanks or canals does not livelihoods, farmers in stamp size will become allow for such intensification and are at best supplemental sources of irrigation nutritionally poorer and even more susceptible to arsenic poisoning.• Arsenic is a pre-dominantly drinking water problem and several cost effective solutions to mitigate this exists. The best anti-dote to arsenic is overall socio- economic development. GW offers the best• Limited and patchy evidence that arsenic is taken up by some leafy vegetables. Create awareness so hope for rapid agricultural and overall socio- that farmers do not use arsenic rich water for anything but paddy. Arsenic uptake by paddy grains is negligible and can be taken care of development in WB economic by cooking• Finally, uptake of arsenic in human body is positively linked with poor nutritional status and providing nutritional supplements like folate is a better deterrent than blanket ban on groundwater• High agricultural growth is directly linked to poverty alleviation and better nutrition status. In Indian context, all states with high agrarian growth are also groundwater dependant 15
  16. 16. Hi-Tech Metering Technology Tamper proof TOD meters Remotely read New law against tampering Reduces corruption collusion
  17. 17. FindingsPump owners:Largely winners Same hours of self pumping – Less electricity bill Less hour of selling water – Higher or same revenueHigher bargaining power vis-à-vis water buyersWin – win situation
  18. 18. FindingsWater buyers:Losers  Increase in water charges by 30-50%  Lesser hours sold by pump owners  Adverse terms & condition of buying water
  19. 19. 3 Change in hours of pumping and water sold (2004 and 2010 compared) Pump owners are pumping less and selling even less Type of WEM Difference in Difference in Difference hours Overall contraction in of hours of self in hours of pumped irrigation economy of sold irrigation water ES (N=41) West Bengal and it will -1094.0 (44%) -50.7 -776.9 have negative EC (N=50) -636.6 (40%) -154.5 -476.0 livelihood implications DC (N=39) -75.1 (20%) -35.6 -36.4 KC (N=4) -104.3 (23%) -48.7 -56.1 All types of WEM owners are pumping less than before – the electric tubewell owners more so than the diesel and kerosene owners. Even more importantly, they are selling less than before. Overall contraction in pump rental markets and irrigation economy ES = Electric submersible; EC= Electric centrifugal, DC= Diesel centrifugal, KC = Kerosene centrifugal 19
  20. 20. FindingsGroundwateruse efficiency:Winner  Increased adoption of plastic pipes for conveyance  Better maintenance of field channels Construction of underground pipelines But will it save water? And is it important?
  21. 21. Explaining the GW paradox The political ecology perspectiveAgrarian politics GW resources GW policies
  22. 22. Policy recommendation Rapid electrification of tubewells to encourage competitive GW markets (Bihar?)Relaxation on issuance of SWID certificate for new TW installationGive capital cost subsidy for installation of tube wells – target small & marginal farmersPanchayat (village council) intervention in regulating water prices if neededPilot a scheme of ICT enabled diesel subsidy voucher (a la Bangladesh)
  23. 23. Thank You
  24. 24. References• Mukherji, A; Villholth, K. G.; Sharma, Bharat R.; Wang, J. (Eds.) 2009. Groundwater governance in the Indo-Gangetic and Yellow River basins: realities and challenges. London, UK: CRC Press. Taylor and Francis group. 325p. (IAH Selected Papers on Hydrogeology 15)• Mukherji, A., B. Das, N. Majumdar, N.C. Nayak, R.R. Sethi and B.R. Sharma (2009), Metering of agricultural power supply in West Bengal, India: Who gains and who loses? Energy Policy: 37 (12): 5530-5539.• Mukherji, A. (2008), Spatio-temporal analysis of markets for groundwater irrigation services in India, 1976-77 to 1997-98, Hydrogeology Journal, 16(6): 1077-1087. Mukherji, A. (2007), „The energy-irrigation nexus and its impact on groundwater markets in eastern Indo-Gangetic basin: Evidence from West Bengal, India‟, Energy Policy, Vol. 35(12): 6413-6430.• Mukherji, A (2007), „Implications of alternative institutional arrangements in groundwater sharing: Evidence from West Bengal‟, Economic and Political Weekly, 42 (26): 2543-2551• Mukherji, A. (2006), Political ecology of groundwater: The contrasting case of water abundant West Bengal and water scarce Gujarat, India, Hydrogeology Journal 14(3):392-406.• Mukherji, A. & Shah, T. (2005). Groundwater socio-ecology and governance: a review of institutions and policies in selected countries. Hydrogeology Journal, 13(1): 328–345. ISI ranked.