Increasing Water Use Efficiency in Irrigated Agriculture in India

Increasing Water Use Efficiency in Irrigated Agriculture in India

Policy makers in Water resources Sector and Agriculture sector now showing their intention to increase water use efficiency in India, which is at many places is as low as 30 percent and in general it is about 40 to 50 percent.

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In countries like Australia, it is 80 to 90 percent. I just wonder why policy makers are not able to see just simple methods to increase it, but go for high tech solutions.

Policy makers believe lining of canals is the only and best solution for increasing water use efficiency, which is not correct. Contour survey of canal command to decide present CCA and realignment / extension/ redesigning of water courses, improving VRB/ DRB, Fall Head / Cross regulators and redesigning - reconstruction of canal are the best way to increase water use efficiency.

In India dams, canals are constructed by the government at government cost. But water courses are to be constructed by the cultivators at their own cost.

In a study made by the Central Water and Power Commission (1967), the losses during the various phases of water conveyance was determined. The losses in field channels (water courses) are 25 percent and in cultivator field are nearly 30 percent. The policy, makers in India must decide that the water courses should be planned, designed, constructed and maintained at Govt. cost. It will increase water use efficiency at least by ten percent or more.

Similarly the policy makers in India in agriculture sector are not educating farmers for proper use of water. Farmers think more water application in crops means more production and more profit. The policy makers have not made serious efforts to educate farmers for proper use of water.

The policy makers must start large scale use of soil moisture sensors in cultivator fields, so that the cultivators may know correctly how much water is to be applied for crops and when the next watering is to be applied. This will save large amount of water in agriculture which can be used for nearby irrigated areas and/ or for other uses