How do groundwater irrigation and energy supply influence each other ? - Talks from the IWMI-Tata Annual Partners' Meet held at Anand in November 2012

This article presents videos of related talks, short descriptions of each video and links to background papers from the IWMI-Tata Annual Partners' Meet in 2012.

India is the world's largest consumer of groundwater where it is extensively used for irrigation. However, there is a considerable waste of this valuable resource. While a part of this waste can be attributed to a lack of incentive for conservation, unmetered electricity supply contributes greatly to this problem. This has led to the formation of what is being termed an energy-irrigation nexus.

Several sessions at the IWMI-Tata Annual Partners' Meet in 2012 discussed this phenomenon, its causes, impact and possible management strategies. 

The videos in the playlist above are as follows:

Chris Scott draws upon international experiences, particularly those from Mexico. This talk discusses whether the current exploitation of groundwater is an example of 'planned depletion'. It also describes groundwater management responses to this depletion in Arizona and Mexico. He then discusses the trends in global power generation and use, and the impact of these on our water resources.

Aditi Mukherji presents the results of a study conducted by IWMI in Punjab and Karnataka. This talk begins with an overview of the 'energy-irrigation nexus' in India. It then describes the results of an attempt made with the support of the World Bank to provide direct farm subsidy.

Nisha Nair speaks of the impact of  malpractices committed by farmers to cope with seasonal demand, the impact of these and the measures taken by the state to deal with this 'power anarchy'. Nair reports on the results of a survey conducted to determine the extent and nature of this impact. The water market, where farmers buy power and sell water is described, as is the Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal experience.

Madhavi Mehta examines the management changes in the Gujarat power utilities and describes how they revitalised service delivery. Mehta explains the various management changes including the unbundling of distribution companies, and the separation of feeders. The results of an analysis of the restraining and driving forces involved in this transformation are presented.

Stuti Rawat describes the ways in which regulatory authorities can influence the energy-irrigation nexus. This talk draws on studies in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Electricity demand and the regulations in place to meet this demand in these three states are described in detail.

Parmershwar Hegde presents the experiences of ENZEN Global Solutions in providing energy-efficient pumps to 39 villages in Doddaballapur, Karnataka through a programme titled 'Agricultural demand-side management', itself a part of the WENEXA programme. The program aims at not only increasing energy efficiency, but also upgrading the power distribution network, farmer consultancy, training farmers, initiating water use efficiency measures and watershed activities.

Sunderrajan Krishnan discusses the dug well recharge program initiated in 2007 following the advice of IWMI researchers, which failed to meet its goals. The lessons learnt from that program have been listed in this talk. The background paper can be read here.

SA Prathapar, in his first talk, explains the concept of aquifer recharge in its simplest terms as the process of impounding recharge where the rainfall is low. He then goes on to describe the various factors that affect the performance of recharge structures such as rainfall and rainfall patterns, and aquifer types. The background paper can be read here.

In his second talk, SA Prathapar explains that there is currently a lack of objectivity in the way that recharge is discussed today. This talk proposes a separation of 'performance' of management of aquifers from 'impacts'.  Prathapar explains these two terms in detail, and arrives at guidelines that future research is advised to follow. He suggests that impact can be measured by looking at availability (has the quantum of water increased), accessibility (can the water be used) and achievement (what is the water being used for).

Shilp Verma and Sunderrajan Krishnan present the results of a two-year study on the river Meghal. This explains the process of using multiple data sets to map the hydrology of a basin and the methods used to assess the impact of water harvesting at the basin scale. The background papers can be read here and here.

Alka Palrecha speaks of the difficulty of obtaining reliable and accurate time series data for water harvesting structures, soil and crop reports etc, which are necessary to assess the impact of water harvesting measures. The first part of this presentation describes the issues with the data obtained in great detail and also the means of correcting these errors and gaps. In the second part, Shilp Verma elaborates on the ways in which this data has been processed and utilised.

Between 2002 and 2007, several groundwater units have shifted from the critical to the semi-critical category in the semi-arid Saurashtra region. Analysis indicates that decentralised rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge interventions have led to this shift. RC Jain examines this phenomenon in this talk presented at the IWMI-TATA Annual Partners' meet at Anand, Gujarat in November 2012. The background paper can be read here.

Tushaar Shah discusses ways of dealing with the energy-irrigation nexus by managing groundwater and electricity jointly. The talk begins with a discussion of the origins and nature of the groundwater economy, with a focus on the drivers of this economy. He postulates that removing power subsidies and/or metering power will drastically decrease groundwater exploitation.Various methods of managing wasteful power consumption and controlling the present anarchy of power use are discussed in detail. Gujarat's experience with the Jyotirgram programme is discussed.

Learn more about the IWMI-Tata Annual Partners' Meet.

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