This paper attempts to discuss farm water conservation techniques and multiple cropping patterns with the idea of minimising water use. The authors provide a glimpse of agricultural facts that include total geographical area, net sown area etc. They provide population trends in the country to point out to the water and food stress.
The paper points out that agriculture in almost all cases shows the lowest return on water in economic terms. Therefore there is need for technical and research support for water management practices.
Tables on total utilisable soil and water resources in India, and the manner of utilisation are given. Water availability has reduced by 40% in the last 40 years, while demand has been increasing.
Information on water utilisation by different sectors and land ownership patterns is provided. There is also a need for an integrated approach to poverty-reducing impacts of irrigation; these include conjunctive use, developing systems that allow multiple uses of irrigation water, new investments in improving irrigation infrastructure, irrigation management, etc.
In conclusion, the authors state that there is need to find balance between soil and water demands to maintain ecosystem functions and for producing food. This is particularly important in developing countries where agriculture and and livelihoods based on the natural environment are the engines of growth.
This paper was presented at the National Seminar on Water and Culture organised by Kannada University and Sahayoga in 2007.
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