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Can Micro-Irrigation Technologies Resolve India’s Groundwater Crisis? Reflections from Dark-Regions in Gujarat

Publication Type : Journal Article

Publisher : The International Journal of the Commons

Source : The International Journal of the Commons, Volume 13, Issue 2, p.848-858 (2019)

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Campus : Amritapuri, Kochi

School : Department of Management, School of Business

Department : Department of Management

Year : 2019

Abstract : Upfront capital costs of micro-irrigation technologies are subsidized across the dark-zone regions of the state of Gujarat, where groundwater was observed as over-extracted, with an anticipation that wide-scale adoption could perhaps reduce pressure on the aquifer. From a macro-perspective, the real water saving potential depends on not only adoption of these technologies but also how best the farmers’ get convinced about the looming water scarcity and try to adapt to the new technologies. While there are several plot-level studies with respect to water consumption, very limited research is being carried out at basin-wide and irrigation system level. The onus of this paper, henceforth, is to examine the impact of micro-irrigation adoption on groundwater utilization at the irrigation system level. In the study regions, either an individual or a group of farmers’ extract water from the common aquifer, and therefore, it is being considered as a proxy for the irrigation system. Empirical observations were based on an in-depth survey of 430 tubewell owning farmers who have adopted micro-irrigation in the dark zone, and the information were collected by considering common aquifer as the unit of analysis rather than individual farm household. The major findings emerging from the study are: (i) micro-irrigation adoption per se was statistically insignificant to make any considerable plunge in the groundwater use, and (ii) technology adoption along with metered power connection leads to a reduction in groundwater extraction. It should be noted that we, based on the finding, do not categorically deny the possibility of declining groundwater use due to large-scale adoption of such technologies since negative coefficient values are found. From a policy angle, the study suggests that the promotion of these technologies may not lead to sustainable groundwater conservation outcomes unless the farmers are made to behave responsibly especially under extreme water scarcity conditions. It is also important that while supporting for the adoption of these innovations, the state also should effectively regulate the pilferages in farm power use by expediting the process of metering of unmetered connections, to achieve the desired goals of sustainable management of groundwater.

Cite this Research Publication : C. Sekhar Bahinipati and Dr. Viswanathan P. K., “Can Micro-Irrigation Technologies Resolve Indis Groundwater Crisis? Reflections from Dark-Regions in Gujarat”, The International Journal of the Commons, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 848-858, 2019.

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