Water and Agriculture Ramanjaneyulu National Consultation on Draft National Policy on Water
Policy on Water• Initially ‘water policy’ equated with providing irrigation which meant mainly big ‘projects’, i e, dams, reservoirs and canal systems. This approach became a part of the Green Revolution• Strategy and produced short-term results by way of a rapid increase in the production of food grains.• In the long-term, that approach, and the idea of ‘development’ with which it was linked, set in motion an ever-growing unmanageable demand for water, inflicted grave damage on water and soil, was accompanied by inequities and injustices of various kinds, and generated severe water-related conflicts at various levels• It is clear that the old approach, which continued to be present in NWP is no longer tenable. Primacy in water policy will have to shift from supply-side projects to restraining the runaway growth of demand for agriculture
Agriculture and Water• Agriculture is the largest user of water, but hardly an economical user. The total agricultural demand for water can be significantly brought down by improvements in – water-use efficiency – avoidance of wasteful use – minimisation of losses – production of ‘more crop per drop’ – changes in cropping patterns (where feasible) – better irrigation techniques and practices – water-saving innovations such as System of Rice Intensification (SRI) – improving the productivity of ‘rainfed’ agriculture, and so on.• Water-intensive irrigated agriculture must not be extended to water-short areas, generating a growing demand for water that cannot be met.
What we need to do?• Primacy on the supply side will have to shift from large, centralised, technology-driven, capital- intensive ‘water resource development’ (WRD) projects with big dams and reservoirs and canal systems, to small, decentralised, local, community-led, water-harvesting and watershed- development programmes, with the big projects being regarded as projects of the last resort;• the exploitation of groundwater will have to be restrained in the interest of resource conservation as well as equity.
Large dams contribute 18.7 % emissions • Total methane emissions from Indias large dams could be 33.5 million tonnes (MT) per annum, including emissions from reservoirs (1.1 MT), spillways (13.2 MT) and turbines of hydropower dams (19.2 MT) • Total emission of methane likely to be around 17 MT per annum equivalent to 425 CO2 equivalent MT. This, when compared to Indias official emission of 1849 CO2e MT in year 2000 (which does not include emission from large dams) it is 18.7 %Ivan B.T. Lima et al. (2007) "Methane Emissions from Large Dams as Renewable EnergyResources: A Developing Nation Perspective,"Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for GlobalChange, published on-line March 2007
JalayagnamLift Irrigation Schemes in AP• 31 projects under lift irrigation• It needs about 206 million units electricity/day needs 12,682 Megawatt power/annum (currently we use 160.80 million units a day or 10,000 mega watt/yr)• 47 lakh ha would be brought under irrigation• Seven and half horse power motor will be used for every 10 acres and five lakh such motors have to be installed in the next four years• Needs 37.5 lakh HP electricity (2775 mega watt)• Major lift irrigation schemes needs 6407 mega watt• Minor lift irrigation schemes needs 500 mega watt• to produce and supply one mega watt power • Rs. 4 cr to create infrastructure to produce • Rs. 4.5 cr for transmission and distribution Today 3,000 mega watts power is supplied freely to agriculture for 29 lakh pump sets
Shift from major to minor irrigation• Local water augmentation through rainwater-harvesting and micro-watershed development is holds considerable promise as a significant component of national water planning• the option of local augmentation, where available, seems preferable to bringing in water from large and distant storages, with related costs, losses and other problems, except where the latter is the only course open or the best of available options• big projects have formidable impacts and consequences (ecological, social, human); those of small local interventions are likely to be far more manageable
Water foot print of food• Population increase• Change in food habbits• If the practices don’t change, water foot print doubles• Agri commodity exports should also account for the ‘virtual water exports’
Ecological Foot Prints of inundated paddy • Each Kg of Rice needs 5000 lit of water • Which means 20,000 cu m/ha • Water availability per capita in India fell by more than half from 1955 to 1990 (from 5,300 cu m to 2,500 cu m) with further decline projected to 1,500 cu m by 2025, declining by 72% within 70 years • The average CH4 flux from rice paddies ranges from 9 to 46 g/m2 over a 120 to 150 day growing season • This needs electricity to pump water or a dam/canal system to supply Agriculture consumes about 80% of India’s fresh water over 50% of this is for rice production finding water-saving methods for growing rice is becoming more and more urgent
Consider the Full Range of Agricultural Water Management Options Fish, Livestock, Crops, Ecosystem Services
Groundwater use is increasing…. Growth in groundwater use 300 250Cubic km/year 200 150 100 50 0 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Source: Shah, T. (2009). Taming the Anarchy: Groundwater Governance in South Asia. Washington D.C.: RFF press.
Managing groundwater• Reducing withdrawals mitigates – half of India’s irrigation is from groundwater requiring pumps• NWP needs to emphasise the need – to protect existing groundwater recharge mechanisms, – to create more such mechanisms, – to do demand side management, – avoiding non essential water intensive activities in deficit areas – work towards decentralised, bottom up groundwater regulatory mechanisms.
Depleting natural resources • Increasing dark zones due to groundwater depletion • 30 % of soils are reported to be saline by the recent study by ministry of environment
Opportunities in Rainfed Agriculture• Largest opportunities to build resilience and improve water productivity are in rainfed landscapes – low water productivity, high poverty• Technology – water harvesting, supplemental irrigation – Field water conservation to reduce nonproductive evaporation – Improved nutrients – Drought resistance crops and varieties• Expand Policies to include upgrading rainfed systems
Main Concern..• How to secure rainfed lands from droughts? – Soil and moisture conservation & water harvesting – Increase soil organic matter – Diversify crop systems – … the problem still persists! Protective Irrigation provides much larger security to rainfed crops and livelihoods of farmers.