Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that marginal changes in irrigation practices will not be enough to increase productivity. To increase growth in irrigated agriculture, efficiency of the existing systems is to be enhanced; water so saved should be utilized to increase irrigation intensity and farming practices improved with modern inputs and technologies.
Shri Singh said that adverse effects of climate change on freshwater systems will aggravate the impacts of other stresses, such as population growth, changing economic activity, land use change and urbanization. Since the supply is projected to be limited and erratic the only way to balance the water demand-supply gap is through management of the resource in an efficient, equitable and sustainable manner.
Shri Singh said that heavy subsidies in electricity consumed for agriculture have tended to encourage wasteful use of energy and also wasteful use of water. This has also encouraged farmers to overdraw water from deep aquifers, thus causing water quality deterioration in many cases. Despite huge significance of ground water in agriculture growth, it is heading for crisis and needs urgent understanding and attention, he added.
Shri Singh said that food security is of supreme national importance for maintaining social harmony, equity and national integrity of India. Given the growing population and income of the country, the challenge is to manage the competitive demands on water for industrial, household and energy purposes while meeting the food security targets, he added.
GG:SB:CP/Efficient Water Management 13.01.2015