ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Water Management and Resilience in Agriculture

Water management requires multiple levels of policy action. The problem is not a shortage of water, but the absence of proper mechanisms for its augmentation, conservation, distribution, and efficient use. Water management should be given number one priority in agricultural policy, particularly to prevent drought, minimise the risks due to drought and build a climate-resilient agriculture.

I am grateful to a reviewer for comments on an earlier draft. 

Agriculture in India is the largest source of livelihood for working people although its share in the gross domestic product (GDP) has declined over time. In the last three years, the story of agriculture has not been good with an average growth rate of less than 2%. Global and domestic prices of commodities have come down. Deficit rainfall for two years in a row has affected crop production and farmers’ incomes.

Green revolution strategies in the 1960s and 1970s had benefited farmers and the country. One criticism was that it benefited only those cultivating a few kinds of crops in a few regions. Different strategies are needed to spread development of agriculture to rain-fed areas and to protect farmers from weather fluc­tuations and natural disasters like droughts. Water is the leading input in agriculture and a major policy concern in the 21st century. This article examines water management strategies needed for dro­ught mitigation and increasing climate-resilience, including soil moisture management. Specifically, it examines issues and policies for improving effectiveness in canal irrigation, water use efficiency, and strategies for climate resilient agriculture.

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