Indian Activity Lead Name:
Indian Activity Lead Organization:
Indian Activity Stakeholder Lead Organization: Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management, Maharashtra
An India-UK Water Centre workshop on Managing and monitoring agricultural water demand was held in Sunderban, West Bengal, India on 10th to 12th December 2018
IUKWC Grassroots Field Exposure Sessions
The GFES initiatives aim to support the collaboration between users and researchers in the earlier stages of water science and promote the assimilation of local knowledge and users experiences into research design to develop ideas for future India-UK water research. GFES take the form of multi-day events designed to expose scientists to issues faced by water stakeholders at the ground level (for example, local municipal authorities, small and medium-sized enterprises, farmer associations) so as to understand the actual utility of scientific and policy outputs.
Agriculture Water Demand in West Bengal
About 68 percent of the West Bengal’s land is engaged in agriculture and the sector is reported to be the highest consumer of water contributing to almost 59% (7.7 Mhm) of the total water requirement of the state in 2011, projected to increase upto 11 Mhm in 2025 . Most of the state(except the Himalayan districts and some western parts of the state) is underlain by alluvial aquifer systems and majority of the districts in south Bengal depend on ground water for irrigation. Increasingly groundwater quality issues are being reported in many parts of the state due to high presence of Arsenic and Fluoride; salinity issues are also reported to be on the rise, especially in the coastal district of 24 Paranghas and the lower Gangetic plain region Given the above the current GFES aims to address the following issues:
- Depleting groundwater levels due to increased area under irrigation/increased abstraction, development of more groundwater sources, etc.
- Changing cropping patterns - cropping pattern shifting towards cash crops and more water intensive crops; improved varieties focusing on crop productivities but not much on crop-per-drop aspect.
- Competition between drinking and agricultural water demand - increasing groundwater abstraction for irrigation challenging drinking water security at village level
- Impact of water quality (especially arsenic) on food production- Arsenic being reported across the state and with increasing dependence on groundwater and perpetual development of the resource, this issue is exacerbating
- Impacts of climate change- changing rainfall patterns, regional rainfall variability, increasing instances of floods, cyclones etc. leading to vulnerability of communities and livelihoods based on agriculture