IGIDR-IFPRI- Expanding Irrigation for Higher Productivity, B.R. Sharma IWMI


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Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Studies(IGIDR), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on
‘Harnessing Opportunities to Improve Agri-Food Systems’ on July 24-25 , 2014 in New Delhi.
The two day conference aims to discuss the agricultural priority of the government and develop a road map to realise these priorities for improved agri food systems.

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IGIDR-IFPRI- Expanding Irrigation for Higher Productivity, B.R. Sharma IWMI

  1. 1. Photo:KannanArunasalam/IWMI www.iwmi.org A water-secure world IGIDR-IFPRI Conference “Harnessing Opportunities to Improve Agri-Food Systems” July 24-25, 2014; New Delhi, India Expanding Irrigation for Higher Productivity
  2. 2. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world India has the largest irrigated area and is food secure- this is commendable!! At the same time: - India is home to one-third of world’s extreme poor and largest number of impoverished people. (UNMDG-2014) - India loses 2-3% of GDP primarily because of poor nutrition. (World Bank) - India ranks 63rd among 78 countries in Global Hunger Index (IFPRI) Where have we faltered and what can be done, now?
  3. 3. 0 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 Netirrigatedarea (millionha) Expenditure (billionUS$,in2000prices) Trends of public expenditure in major and medium irrigation and net irrigated area under different sources in India Expenditure Tanks Canals Groundwater Investment Canal command Groundwater After US $ 35 billion invested in canal irrigation since 1991, India has 3 m ha less under canal irrigation.
  4. 4. India is the world’s largest user of groundwater in agriculture in the world. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 cubickm/year US W.Europe Spain Mexico China India Pakistan Bangladesh Sri Lanka Vietnam Ghana South Africa Tunisia India has over 20 million irrigation wells. Until 2000, it added 0.8 million/year. Every fourth cultivator owns an irrigation well; non- owners depend on groundwater markets. Increasing irrigation in canal and tank commands is with Pumped water India
  5. 5. During the past decade, groundwater beneath the northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan has decreased by more than 88 million acre-feet. Now at risk of experiencing severe shortages of this vital resource are the 120 million inhabitants of those regions. Areas in red had slightly less mass due to a net loss of groundwater and therefore exhibited a weaker gravitational pull on the orbiting satellites. Areas in blue had greater mass and a stronger gravitational pull due to a net gain.
  6. 6. • Large areas are under water stress • Groundwater CWU > natural recharge • Substantial food production with unsustainable groundwater use Food-water-energy nexus in India
  7. 7. The Evolution of India’s E-I nexus 1970’s 1980’s 1990’s 2000’s 2010’s # of electric tubewells BCM of groundwater use in irrigation Agri. Production Electricity subsidy Producing Surplus by Scavenging the Last Drop
  8. 8. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world IMPACT OF DECLINE IN WATER TABLES ON DEMAND FOR ELECTRICITY AND LOSS IN GVOUP IF THAT ADDITIONAL ELECTRICITY WAS NOT SUPPLIED Scenario description and results Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 1 m fall in water level 5 m fall in water level 10 m fall in water level Increased demand for electricity to irrigate same amount of groundwater irrigated land as in 2010 (in MU) 339.2 1696.0 3392.0 Loss in GVOUP if that additional amount of electricity is not supplied to agriculture (in Rs. Crores)* 168.3 841.3 1682.6
  9. 9. Water for a food-secure worldWater for a food-secure world 1.4 ObjectivesYield gap of food grains in rainfed dominated districts, India Distribution of districts according to percentage gap between maximum and prevailing yield of food grains in rainfed districts of India Yield gap, % Number of districts, and (%) >75 25 (16) 50-75 86 (57) 25-50 30 (20) <25 10 (7) Total 151 Source: Amarasinghe et al., IWMI
  10. 10. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world The lack of inputs , in particular WATER and nutrients is considered to be the conspicuous explanation for the continuing large yield gaps. For Indian agricultural production, the single most effective supply side constraint is that irrigation coverage still extends to only about 44 per cent of net sown area. Almost 80 million ha or 56 % of net sown area are dependent on rainfall.
  11. 11. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world So, How can India Expand Irrigation and Where?
  12. 12. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world National River Linking Project (NRLP) • Transfer water from northern and eastern basins to water scarce south and west • Mitigate floods in the east • Generate hydropower • Navigation etc. • Transfer about 178 Bm3 of waterLargest inter- basin water transfer planned to date
  13. 13. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world Some contentious issues on NRLP 1. Do donor basins have surplus water? 2. How large is India’s food/irrigation/water demand? 3. How cost effective is water transfers for canal irrigation? 4. Have alternative water management options received adequate attention? 5. What conditions will make India to have NRLP like inter- basin water transfer, sooner than later?
  14. 14. New approaches to rehabilitate and adapt • For example, encourage distributed storage to improve system flexibility and reliability e.g. Rajasthan: farm-storages; Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh: village tanks replenished by canal water • Modernize irrigation systems e.g. pressurized systems • Transition from ‘development’ to ‘management.’
  15. 15. Improved Groundwater Management – two contrasting cases from Indian states 1. Gujarat - ‘free’ electricity encouraged groundwater overuse 2. West Bengal– barriers to access
  16. 16. Jyotigram in Gujarat – separate feeders • Pragmatic solution - separation of electricity supply to villages and pumps • Outcome - reduced electricity use, less groundwater use, improved power supply to domestic users Tushaar Shah, IWMI
  17. 17. West Bengal – easing regulatory and pricing barriers • Agricultural growth in West Bengal had slumped by more than half • Research identified that a major obstacle to agricultural productivity was getting access to groundwater • New policies recommended by IWMI were adopted to reduce ‘red-tape’ and improve groundwater access for smallholder farmers. • The policy change could benefit more than 5.6 million smallholders
  18. 18. Ganges Aquifer Management for Environmental and Social outcomes (GAMES) Salient features of the Ganges • Large surface runoff ( ~525 km3) 80-85% during the monsoon • Low surface water storage potential (~115 km3)  55 Km3 (~10%) is built by now • Recurrent floods and droughts • Large agriculturally dependent livelihoods  655 million total population  ~75% are in rural areas • And increasing water demand 50% of the demand from GW Will increase by 50 km3 by 2025 • Low flows in the dry season and severe water quality issues Solution • Manage the vast Ganges aquifer with an extent of one Million km2 • Increase GW potential of about 170 km3
  19. 19. GAMES-3S (2 year project 2014-2015) Objective • Augment dry season water supply for irrigation and other uses • Increasing river flows in the dry season • Mitigate severe floods/impacts in the downstream Project Strategy • Create sub-surface storage by pumping additional groundwater before monsoon from suitable locations • Fill the sub-surface storage using normal or artificially distributed recharge mechanisms during the monsoon Pumping Water table Recharge Recharge Recharge Riverleakage Unconfined Confined Unconfinedaquifer Induced recharge InfiltrationInfiltration Well dischargeWell discharge Static water levelStatic water level
  20. 20. Underground Taming of Floods for Irrigation (UTFI) Source: Pavelic 2012
  21. 21. www.iwmi.org A water-secure world Solarise Off-grid Pump Irrigation: This is now affordable with the available subsidies and has made a good headway in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and to a lesser extent in Bihar Each 3,000 wp system saves its owner Rs 45- 65,000 worth of diesel, besides increasing land and water productivity and crop quality. It also helps to diversify. Most owners were very happy with their PV pumps.
  22. 22. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world Enhancing Irrigation in Rainfed agriculture • Rainfed area – 60% of the total area – contribute to 40% of the total production • Supplementary irrigation can help 25 Million ha of rain fed lands • They have 114 Bm3 of surface runoff • Water harvest a fraction of it for supplementary irrigation • Reduce the effect of midseason and terminal droughts in rainfed areas • These alone can double the yield in those areas
  23. 23. Spatial distribution of surplus runoff (ha-m) across dominant rainfed districts and river basins of India. Crop Area, M Ha Surplus runoff, BM3 Rice 6.3 41.2 Coarse Cereals 7.5 20.6 Cotton 3.2 7.6 Oilseeds 6.3 24.2 Pulses 5.3 20.44 G Total 28.6 114.0
  24. 24. Net benefits from WH and supplemental irrigation Crop Annul cost, B Rs. Net benefits, B Rs. Rice 11.71 8.52 C. Cereals 13.88 3.66 Cotton 5.88 8.27 Oilseeds 10.52 24.44 Pulses 8.93 49.51 Grand total 50.91 94.40 The proposition makes a good economic sense to invest in rainwater harvesting- to start with in the dominant rainfed districts.
  25. 25. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world Successful regional models include: Sardar Patel Participatory Water Conservation Project: Drought-proofed 320,000 ha, enhanced recharge by 300 Mm3, augment farm income by 30 percent and played big part in agrarian resurgence. Rewa Sagar Bhagirth Farmers Movement: More than 4,000 water tanks to conserve monsoon water, non- rainy season cultivated area increased from 23 to 95 percent, milk production increased by 34 per cent- real increase in both crop yields and incomes.
  26. 26. In most cities in sub-Saharan Africa, S. Asia and SE Asia, population growth has outpaced the development of sanitation infrastructure, making the management of urban waste, human excreta and wastewater ineffective. Investment in treatment will not catch up for decades. Waste – converting challenge to opportunity
  27. 27. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Diluted wastewater or polluted water Untreated wastewater Groundwater Treated wastewater River Other surface water bodies Rainfed Irrigation canal Open drainage Numberofcities Source: IWMI, RR 127 Global survey of irrigation source in urban and peri-urban areas: In and around three of four cities in the developing world, farmers use polluted irrigation water for the production of high-value crops
  28. 28. Waste to fertilizer – closing the nutrient loop Co-composting
  29. 29. www.iwmi.org A water-secure world In Summary…. • Shift India’s rice-wheat system eastward. • Use MAR; and solar energy to reduce energy footprint of groundwater irrigation. • Improve ‘management’ of public irrigation systems. • Innovative agwater solutions for rainfed systems. • Use RRR for cleaner cities and rivers and to close the nutrient loop. • Enable “Small Farmers Smart Farmers”.
  30. 30. www.iwmi.org Water for a food-secure world b.sharma@cgiar.org Thanks for your kind attention