According to NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index (CMWI), India is facing worst water crisis in its history. This underscores the need for enhanced water use efficiency in agriculture which accounts for 85% of water.
Micro irrigation (MI) (sprinkler, drip) promotes precision farming by making water available to the root zone of crops leading to 40% Water Savings and 50% increase in income (Dalwai Panel).
MI can solve water crisis in following ways:
- Integration of MI with Canal irrigation can enhance India’s irrigation efficiency (38%) and bring it on par with developed countries (60%).
- Replace Flood irrigation method and reduce over-usage of Groundwater.
- Integration of MI with rainwater harvesting can promote climate resilient agriculture.
- MI for water intensive crops can reduce water consumption by 70%.
Initiatives such as “Per Drop, More Crop”, Micro Irrigation fund etc. have been launched. However, MI may have limited scope:
- Lower Area under MI (10 Mha) against potential of 70 Mha
- Highly subsidized canal water and electricity
- Poor affordability of small and marginal farmers (83%)