Research Papers

When monsoon plays truant!
While the intensity of monsoon is predicted to increase in India, the accompanying hot and dry extremes due to temperature rise will greatly threaten food production in India, warns this study. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 week 2 days ago

A recent study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) found that very few (less than 4 percent) of Indian farmers have adopted sustainable agricultural practices and systems.

When monsoon plays truant (Image Source: India Water Portal flickr photos)
Mining affected areas and its impact on livelihoods: Meghalaya
Urgent need for a holistic policy on mining of minerals in Meghalaya Amita Bhaduri posted 1 week 3 days ago

Meghalaya has a predominantly agrarian economy.

There is a need for management of acid mine drainage and contaminated water in mining areas (Image: Environmental Change and Security Program/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA)
Why our food systems need to be changed?
Transforming food systems after COVID-19 Amita Bhaduri posted 1 week 5 days ago

COVID-19 pandemic and the associated policy responses highlighted and often exacerbated weaknesses and inequalities in our food systems. Many vulnerable people faced threats to their immediate food security, health, and nutrition restrictions.

Vegetable stand at a market in India (Image: ILRI/Mann; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
COVID-19 and social protection: Impact in the agriculture sector
Lower transaction costs, minimal leakages, and immediate delivery make a strong case for direct cash transfers, says study. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 month ago

COVID-19 induced significant economic and social disruptions in India. Rural households, including smallholders, were affected by loss in migrant income, livelihood and farm and non-farm income.

Access to credit increased farmers' expenditures on farm-related activities. (Image:
Water footprint of food and cooking fuel
Rice and wheat have large water footprints in rural India Amita Bhaduri posted 1 month 1 week ago

Water is a basic resource for food and fuelwood production. In general, people in rural areas of India consume carbohydrate-rich staples with small amounts of animal foods. They mostly depend upon fuelwood for cooking.

Madhya Pradesh has the largest blue water footprint for food (334 m3/cap/year) and the blue water footprint from wheat contributes 87%. (Image: Pixabay)
The threatened traditional tank systems of Madurai
While traditional tanks systems in Madurai continue to fulfill the drinking water and irrigation needs of the rural population, rapid urbanisation is gradually destroying them! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

The tank cascade systems of Madurai

Arid and semi-arid regions of Southern-Indian peninsula are known to experience frequent droughts and the watersheds in these regions are characterised by hot climate, scanty water availability and erratic rainfall.

The dying tanks of Madurai (Image Source: Seetha Goplalakrishnan)
Study detects high levels of arsenic in cooked rice in Bihar
Need to remove arsenic from the food chain and not just drinking water in endemic areas Amita Bhaduri posted 2 months ago

Extensive evidence of elevated arsenic in the food chain, mainly rice, wheat and vegetables exists.

Median excess lifetime cancer risk of 2 per 10,000 from food arsenic exposure in Bihar. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Managing groundwater demand: the way forward
Substituting groundwater irrigation by canal irrigation will not help in maintaining the current levels of food production in India. Managing groundwater demand will, finds a study. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 2 months ago

Groundwater reserves are depleting at rapid rates in India, which is one of the world’s largest consumer of groundwater with it  providing 60 percent of the irrigation needs of the country.

Groundwater, a valuable resource! (Image Source: India Water Portal)
Baravas - Unique water harvesting structures of Maharashtra
Baravas, the unique water harvesting structures of Maharashtra continue to stand the test of time. Urgent efforts need to be made to conserve them and learn from them! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 2 months 1 week ago

Traditional groundwater storage structures such as cisterns, stepwells, tanks, and wells in India are well known and had cultural, religious, social, and utilitarian significance in olden times.

A barav from Limb village in Satara district, Maharashtra (Image Source: Aarti Kelkar Khambete)
Dams and distress in the Himalayas!
Hydropower projects and compensatory afforestation plantations are spelling doom for the fragile Himalayan forest ecosystems. Urgent action is the need of the hour! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 2 months 1 week ago

Proliferation of hydropower development in the Himalayas is leading to extensive land use changes in the river valleys and threatening the diverse and fragile Himalayan ecosystems leading to deforestation, fragmentation, soil erosion and loss of forest biodiversity. These are a cause for serious concern for local communities, whose lives and livelihoods depend on these forests.

100 MW Tidong-I project, Kinnaur HP (Image Source: Manu Moudgil)