Water management for sustainability of irrigated agriculture: an Indian perspective
Depleting water resources has put the sustainability of Indian agriculture at stake. To meet the future food demand of growing population, India must prudently manage its irrigation water. Back up of need-based technology and its infusion among the farming community plus the necessary policy support would be vital. This paper discusses issues and concerns related to agricultural water management and focuses on agronomic practices and irrigation techniques (tensiometer aided irrigation, optimum plot size, bedfurrow and trench planting, mulching, water saving cropping systems, direct seeded rice), irrigation measures (underground pipeline system, lining of canals and field channels), breeding short duration varieties; and aerobic rice varieties, mechanization for water conservation (use of laser land leveler, zero-till-drill and Happy Seeder), micro-irrigation (overhead and drip irrigation, fertigation), protected cultivation (poly-houses and low-tunnels), ground water recharging (rain water harvesting, renovation of village ponds, percolation of ponds and check dams, roof top water harvesting, recharging through abandoned wells, breathing tiles for pavements) are highlighted. A roadmap for collective action is needs to be developed.
Agriculture, water management, food security, sustainability.