List of Contents
Source: The post is based on the article “Water of India” published in The Times of India on 25th August 2022.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Major Crops – Cropping Patterns in various parts of the country, – Different Types of Irrigation and Irrigation Systems; ; Ecology and Environment
Relevance: Water efficiency, climate change, water resources in India.
News: Recently, China’s southwestern regions were battling fires following a severe heat wave.
What are the other extreme weather events around the world?
(1) Europe last month experienced heatwaves and wildfires
(2) The US government has for the first time ever declared a water shortage on the critical Colorado River.
In March, parts of India experienced a severe heatwave which shrunk the wheat output.
At a regional level, there are deficiencies in monsoon rainfall across a vast area from UP to Bengal. It would negatively impact the paddy output because it is a water-intensive crop.
What are the other major issues with water resources in India?
(1) Resource Scarcity: India has 17% of the world’s population and 4% of its water resources. Most of India’s groundwater draft goes to irrigation (90%). Further, Indian farmers use 2-4 times more water to produce a unit of grain as compared to China and Brazil.
(2) Paddy and sugarcane consume more than 60% of the irrigation water available, as per NABARD and ICRIER.
(3) Further, India’s cultivation patterns are out of sync with its resource endowments. The water-intensive crops are cultivated in the most water-scarce regions of India. For example, paddy cultivation in Punjab.
What are the solutions to improve water resources in India?
The states should bring policies to change cropping patterns. For example, Punjab is unsuitable for paddy cultivation. Therefore, policies should be introduced to incentivise farmers in Punjab to move to less water-intensive crops.
Further, the state governments in Eastern India, need to focus on higher crop yields.
India can no longer afford in-kind subsidies that distort prices and impact the environment. For example, free electricity incentivises more borewells. Therefore, market-responsive prices are required as these prices reflect the scarcity of resources.