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Achieving increases in water productivity


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Huge gains in water productivity are possible across the globe, but without better measuring and monitoring the effects of new interventions will remain unclear.

Presented by Jeremy Bird and Julie van der Bliek

Published in: Technology
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Achieving increases in water productivity

  1. 1. Achieving increases in water productivity Jeremy Bird Julie van der Bliek International Water Management Institute
  2. 2. Providing evidence to influence policy and practice Focus on increasing agricultural water productivity to support:  SDG 2: Food security  SDG 6: Water security Water accounting: raising awareness, identifying scope for increasing water productivity, monitoring Multiple dimensions of influencing change – some examples  Institutional/water governance (Central Asia)  Agronomic/water management (Punjab [rice], India [milk], Vietnam [coffee])  Technology (Pakistan [laser grading]; China [on farm storage])  Nexus – (India – solar irrigation) - links to SDG 8 [renewable energy]; SDG 13 [climate mitigation] Factors influencing adoption
  3. 3. Institutional changes for improved water governance (Fergana Valley, Central Asia) 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Water intake for irrigation (m3/ha) SFC AAC KhBC 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Number of WUAs created SFC AAC KhBC Challenge: Post-Soviet transition from centrally managed large irrigation systems to multiple smaller privately owned farms and decline in system management. Solution: 2002-2010: Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) created to improve water management through more participatory water governance. Outcome: Water delivery reduced by: • 17% in the Southern Fergana Canal (SFC) zone • 26% in the Khodjabakirgan Canal (KhBC) zone • 4% in the Aravan-Akbura (AAC) zone * SIC ICWC/IWMI/SDC funded project
  4. 4. Agronomic and water management changes Punjab Preservation Subsoil Water Act, 2009 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 08-May 15-May 22-May 29-May 05-Jun AverageGain in… 1.8% 2.4% 3.5% 6.1% 8.6% 9.3% Average gain in evapotranspiration (ET), and the percentage reduction in ET demand • Challenge: Over-abstraction of groundwater, falling water table Solution: • Delay transplanting date from 01 May to 10 June (for PR113 rice variety) • Penalty for defaulters Outcome: • Water savings: 2,180 Mm3; 7% of annual draft • Electricity savings: 175 million kWh
  5. 5. Challenge: Mixed smallholder farming systems - reducing groundwater levels Approach: Assess water footprints of milk, fodder and cereal crops – direct and indirect uses Solutions: Shift balance of production to more intensive dairy production systems with less rice area - offers the most financial and sustainability benefits Outcome: Potential for increasing output by $480/ha; reducing overdraft of groundwater Agronomic and water management changes Private sector initiative – milk in India (Nestlé)
  6. 6. Agronomic and water management changes Private sector initiative – coffee in Vietnam (Nestlé) Challenge: Coffee – 3% of Vietnam’s GDP, employs 2 m people. Water scarcity threat. Farmers over-irrigate. Approach: Agronomic water studies exploring deficit irrigation Solutions: Induced water stress to stimulate ‘cherry’ development – timing and scheduling is key. Farmer training essential. Outcome: Potential to reduce irrigation demand by 30% and increase yields from 2.4 to 4.0t/ha Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Wikimedia
  7. 7. Technological changes: laser grading for surface irrigation (Pakistan) Challenge: Inefficient flood irrigation, high pumping costs Approach: Pilot trials of modifying laser levelling to laser grading - locally available technology. Solutions: Precision surface irrigation for furrow and border strip. Combine with soil moisture sensors Outcome: An efficient surface irrigation alternative to drip and sprinkler. 11% increase in land productivity (kg/ha) and 12% increase in water productivity (kg/m3)
  8. 8. Liuyuankou Irrigation System (LIS), Yellow River Molden et al. 2007 Zhanghe Irrigation System (ZIS), Yangtze River Two systems, two opportunities (to improve water productivity), two different outcomes Alignment of objectives and incentives important: two contrasting cases from China
  9. 9. Adapted from Molden et al. 2007 Incentives and pressures to save or re-allocate water by user group and scale Adapted from Molden et al. 2007 Key finding: Policies / strategies for changing water use need to align the objectives and incentives across user groups/scales to achieve society-wide goals Two contrasting cases from China
  10. 10. Technology and financial incentives: combine solar powered irrigation with water savings, India (water-energy-food nexus) The opportunity • India has 130,000 GW of installed pumping capacity in the form of electric and diesel tube wells • Sustainable solar irrigation pumps with feed-in tariff for selling excess electricity to grid Triple wins: • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions • Sustainable use of groundwater • Income to farmers ”Solar Power as a Remunerative Crop” - SPaRC
  11. 11. Some words of caution…. Efficiency gains at field level do not always translate to basin level saving Impacts of water-saving technologies in the rice-wheat zone, Punjab Province, Pakistan Changeinuse(%) Water Labor Fertilizer Driver for change may not be water – labour or other inputs
  12. 12. Some words of caution… impacts are not homogenous Lesson: When examining the contribution of water productivity to broader development objectives, not only must we look at the overall benefits but also their distribution and trade-offs “Water productivity interventions can either reinforce or reduce inter- household inequities” “Identifying pre-existing inequities in water access within and among communities will support better targeting of poor communities” Water productivity and poverty, Ganges Basin Clement et al. 2011 Water-saving myths and realities, Pakistan Ahmad et al. 2007
  13. 13. Concluding remarks • There are a mix of technology, agronomic, management and institutional approaches – often in combination • Incentives as well as polices needed to achieve increases in water productivity • Increasing water productivity at field scale is not automatically reflected in increases at basin scale. Need to monitor at a range of scales. • Be clear on the broader development goals. Inter-relationships between goals of water productivity – economic returns- equity and between water – energy - climate. • Effective water accounting and mapping of water productivity are needed to determine the impacts of interventions and contribute to the implementation and monitoring of SDG target 6.4
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