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Water security in agriculture is a local problem and needs de-centralized solutions: U P Singh, Secretary Water Resources 

Business Standard , Feb 27, 2020

Mr U P Singh, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India said that water security in agriculture is a local problem and requires de-centralized solutions. Mr Singh said that currently we use 90 percent of fresh water in agriculture and irrigation. "Without improving the water use efficiency in agriculture, all efforts of water use elsewhere will not be meaningful," he added. He said that we need to change our mindset and give emphasis on water productivity rather than just land productivity. He added that we must focus on water footprints, like carbon footprints, and urged the industry to play more active role in the overall development of the sector.

Emphasising on the need of water conservation in agriculture, Singh said that we need to adopt water recycle, and re-use policy in agriculture sector which has provisions for mandates and incentivization. "The more water we consume, more wastewater is generated. Many states have already started adopting this policy. You need to either mandate people or incentivize people. This kind of policy will have both mandating certain use and providing incentives," he added. While highlighting the environment concerns, he said that we must also consider revisiting the current government procurement policy which mainly focuses on wheat and rice. It is important that states and farmers must be incentivized for other crops as well. "Today, we don't grow crops based on water endowment & topography of that particular area.

Ms Alka Bhargava, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India said that improved productivity is key to sustainability. "We have started adopting AI and other technologies to check soil moisture and cropping patterns. We are also looking at the use of grey water in agriculture to reduce dependence on ground water," she added.

 

 

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Event:

 National Summit on Investing in future through Sustainable water use management in Agriculture