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Water-Food-Energy Nexus in the context of groundwater use in India: Experience from three Indian States


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Water-Food-Energy Nexus in the context of groundwater use in India: Experience from three Indian States

A presentation by Aditi Mukherji

Presented at an ‘Expert Group Meeting on Improving Access to Water, Sanitation and Energy Services in Asia and the Pacific’ in Bangkok, Thailand on 20 March 2013

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Water-Food-Energy Nexus in the context of groundwater use in India: Experience from three Indian States

  1. 1. Water-Food-EnergyNexus in the context of groundwater use in India:Experience from three Indian States Aditi Mukherji, IWMI Photo :Tom van Cakenberghe/IWMI Photo: Tom van Cakenberghe/IWMI Photo: David Brazier/IWMI Water for a food-secure world
  2. 2. WEF issues in the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin• Trans boundary basin shared by India, Nepal, Bangladesh and China• Relatively water abundant compared to most other basins in Indian sub-continent• Large hydro-electricity potential – Civil society protests against hydro-power in North East India – India-Nepal unable to enter into amicable power generation agreement, but India-Bhutan has – China’s plans to harness hydro-power in Brahmaputra and concerns of downstream countries• Groundwater is used intensively for food production and energy is implicated– main focus of my ppt today Water for a food-secure world
  3. 3. The irrigation story of India…. Since 1970s,  groundwater irrigated  area has increased, as  has number of wells  and tubewells….  Water for a food-secure world
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  8. 8. Rising contribution of groundwater in agriculture 60 1970-73% A i u ua GP o g c l rl D 40 f r t 20 BUT, depletion, scarcity and over-exploitation have 0 1 emerged as serious problems 21 41 61 81 101 121 141 161 181 201 221 241 Districts 60 2000-03 P r e t g t Arc l ua G P e c na e o g i u r l D 40 t 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
  9. 9. Leading to groundwater over-exploitation in many states…… Districts depicted in red  and yellow are the  districts with over‐ exploitation problems
  10. 10. Growth in electricity consumption in agriculture has outpaced growth in other sectors There has been 12 fold  increase in overall  electricity demand in India  from 1950 to 2010, but 25  fold increase in  agricultural electricity  demand Water for a food-secure world
  11. 11. Electricity subsidy as percentage of state fiscal deficits isvery high in some states Bihar West Bengal Agriculture is often blamed for   U.P (Power corp) poor state of electricity utilities  Maharashtra Punjab Tamil NaduRajasthan (Transco) Karnataka Yet farmers receive  Andhra Pradesh poor quality service Gujarat Haryana Madhya Pradesh 0 20 40 60 80 100 PercentageBRISCOE, 2005, Data pertains to 2002
  12. 12. And requirement for subsidy keeps rising… Net electricity  subsidy in India is  close to USD 9 billion  and is rising year by  yearSource: ICRA
  13. 13. Farmers get free or highly subsidized electricity in  most states (though not all).  2500 2160 2000 Rs/HP/Year 1512 1500 850 1000 420 500 0 0 Punjab Haryana Gujarat Uttarakhand West Bengal States Flat rate tariff (Rs/HP/year)Even when farmers pay for electricity, they pay it on a flat tariff basis. Onlyexception is the state of West Bengal where agricultural tubewells are Metered and farmers pay a time of the day (TOD) tariff
  14. 14. But then, there is the energy divide: Farmers in eastern India depend pre‐dominantly on diesel pumps, while rest of India has electric pumps So the food‐ energy‐ irrigation nexus  is also different  in east vs. rest  of India Water for a food-secure world
  15. 15. To sum up…what is this food-irrigation and energy nexus?• India’s irrigation sector is dependent on groundwater• Much of this groundwater is pumped using electricity• Groundwater use is more than sustainable recharge in most states leading to groundwater over-exploitation• Electricity is subsidized in most (though not all) states• This creates a nexus where one sector (agriculture) is dependent on unsustainable trends groundwater and electricity sectors Water for a food-secure world
  16. 16. The Food-Energy Support price policy/ AGRICULTURE Assured marketIrrigation Nexus Re-aligning food procurement Uncertain markets for Choice of crops policies crop diversification Providing incentives to grow low Agriculture water consuming crops Better field water management techniques Ene r n ate atio rgy Wa d Agr op  oundw  an ific stag icul ers e/M ture Gr div ng  isdi  Sub leti Water‐ rec f cr D ep Energy ‐ ted idies k o Agriculture Lac s Nexus Low recoveries and  GROUNDWATER ELECTRICITY low investment in Limited reach of  GW laws and regulations Demand side management infrastructure surface irrigation/ Supply augmentation uncertain rainfall Supply management through Poor quality and Lucrative through MAR Long hours of pumping rationing Energy unreliable power  Groundwater Supplygroundwater  Demand management Increasing efficiency of pumps markets Low awareness community Wastage of water and energy Institutional reforms through Highly subsidised/ regarding optimal participation irrigation free power
  17. 17. How are different states in India managing this nexus through energy side interventions?• West Bengal – Eastern India• Punjab – Northern India• Karnataka – Southern India Water for a food-secure world
  18. 18. West Bengal: Alluvial aquifers, lowgroundwater use and high recharge Water tables recover after  monsoons and average  depth to water table in 88%  of villages less than 10 m.  42% of GW resources are  used and none of the blocks  are over‐exploited Water for a food-secure world
  19. 19. Managing the nexus in West Bengal through Universal TOD and hi-tech metering• Universal Time of the Day (TOD) metering of all agricultural tubewells in the state. Till March 2010, 90% TWs metered• High tech metering with remotely read meters
  20. 20. Impacts of meteringPump owners: Largely winners  Same hours of pumping for own use– Less electricity bill  Less hour of selling water – Higher or same revenue Higher bargaining power vis-à-vis water buyers Win – win situation
  21. 21. Water buyers:Losers  Increase in water charges by 30-50%  Lesser hours sold by pump owners  Adverse terms & condition of buying water
  22. 22. Groundwater use efficiency:Winner  Increased adoption of plastic pipes for conveyance  Better maintenance of field channels Construction of underground pipelines But will it save water?
  23. 23. Food-irrigation-energy nexus in PunjabUnsustainable rates of GW depletion Rice Wheat crop combination matches over-exploited zones in Punjab WRSu WR WMRSu WR WR WRM WR WRC WRC WR WR CR Rice-Wheat Crop System in Punjab is at the heart of its agrarian prosperity CROP COMBINATIONS and also contributes to its GW crisis TWO CROP COMBINATION THREE CROP COMBINATION FOUR CROP COMBINATION Alluvial aquifers and low rainfall
  24. 24. Steps taken by Punjab to manage the nexus These measures are reasonably  successful in improving quality of  electricity to farmers, but severe  rationing pushes them to use  diesel. Fiscal discipline within the  utilities has improved.  Has not  affected crop yields adversely yet.
  25. 25. Transmission and distribution losses have reduced marginally… T&D losses based  on AP  T&D loss level  consumption  T&D loss level fixed  reported by the  approved by the Year by the Commission Board Commission2004‐05 23.25 24.27 24.592005‐06 22 25.07 25.382006‐07 20.75 23.92 24.252007‐08 19.5 22.53 25.122008‐09 19.5 19.92 22.212009‐10 22 19.5 222010‐11 20 18 19.52011‐12 192012‐13 18 Water for a food-secure world
  26. 26. But subsidy burden for agricultural consumption keeps rising…. This is because the state keeps  issuing new electricity  connections for farmers. There  are 1.1 million farm households  and around 1.2 million electric  pumps in the state! Water for a food-secure world
  27. 27. Food-energy-irrigation nexus in Karnataka Area under groundwater irrigation continues to rise… As does number of electric pumpsets..Hard rock aquifers and low rainfall
  28. 28. (Mis) managing Food-Energy-Irrigation Nexus in Karnataka Water for a food-secure world
  29. 29. Conclusions• While the broad issues are same, different states have managed this nexus differently• Ranging from very hi-tech and text-book solution in West Bengal, to second best solution in Punjab to utter anarchy in Karnataka• Much depends on political will and overall governance at state level since both water and electricity are state subjects in India Water for a food-secure world
  30. 30. Thank You a.mukherji@cgiar.orgWater for a food-secure world