Water management decisions on small farms under scarce canal water supply: A case study from NW India uri icon

abstract

  • The study investigates the present state and the scope of improvement in farmers' water management decisions for improving agricultural productivity in a water scarce canal irrigation system of Haryana, India. The study was undertaken in six watercourses located in different reaches of two distributary canals with command area of about 4000 ha each. Water management, as practiced at field as well as at watercourse level, was studied. The study suggested that the rigid water delivery schedules and the degree of water inadequacy provided very limited scope to the farmers for decision making in respect of canal water management. Farmers' decisions were largely confined to operation of the tube wells to alleviate part of the canal water deficit. The highly inadequate canal water supply and poor quality of groundwater created variation in farmers' decision in crop choices during summer season while in the winter season wheat was grown as the sole crop. The higher exploitation of groundwater, besides keeping water table under control, to some extent increased crop yields in tail reaches. But water quality being marginal, the yields in the tail watercourses were lower by 10-20% in case of wheat and 20-40% in case of rice when compared with the head watercourses. The water productivity can be increased to some extent by resorting to crop diversification and by cultivation of salt tolerant high yielding varieties of crops. Fresh and brackish water aquaculture also offers opportunity to improve both water productivity as well as income of the farming community in the region. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2005
  • 2005