Seeking calm water: Exploring policy options for India's water future uri icon

abstract

  • This paper seeks to identify some promising policy options which could be part of a strategic and holistic effort to address India's future water challenges. Significant increases in agricultural water productivity would be a major factor in reducing the need for developing new water sources. Crop diversification, appropriately targeted to account for the present agricultural systems and available water resources, will increase productivity. Furthermore, much more emphasis needs to be placed on effective management of the groundwater resources through renewed efforts to enhance artificial recharge and conservation. Also, efforts should be revived to improve the existing surface irrigation systems. In particular, systems could be reconfigured to provide a more reliable water supply and allow effective community level management, where appropriate. Finally, while some of the increasing demands from domestic and industrial users will be met by the development of groundwater and reallocation of water from the agricultural sector, this will not be sufficient. Given that such conditions are emerging in states with high economic growth and relatively water scarce basins, this will require the further development of water resources. In some cases, these conditions along with the demand for reliable water for high value crops, will be part of the justification for inter-basin transfers
  • This paper seeks to identify some promising policy options which could be part of a strategic and holistic effort to address India's future water challenges. Significant increases in agricultural water productivity would be a major factor in reducing the need for developing new water sources. Crop diversification, appropriately targeted to account for the present agricultural systems and available water resources, will increase productivity. Furthermore, much more emphasis needs to be placed on effective management of the groundwater resources through renewed efforts to enhance artificial recharge and conservation. Also, efforts should be revived to improve the existing surface irrigation systems. In particular, systems could be reconfigured to provide a more reliable water supply and allow effective community level management, where appropriate. Finally, while some of the increasing demands from domestic and industrial users will be met by the development of groundwater and reallocation of water from the agricultural sector, this will not be sufficient. Given that such conditions are emerging in states with high economic growth and relatively water scarce basins, this will require the further development of water resources. In some cases, these conditions along with the demand for reliable water for high value crops, will be part of the justification for inter-basin transfers.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008
  • 2008