The Economic Survey 2018-19 has suggested that the Government should shift its focus from ‘land productivity’ to ‘irrigation water productivity’.
This shift could happen if India provides incentives to farmers to adopt efficient water use to avert a looming water crisis.
The survey has suggested India should introduce (a)improved irrigation methods (b)use technologies and (c)change cropping patterns to reduce the use of groundwater.
The survey has said that one of the key reasons for the shrinking ground water level is the cropping pattern which is skewed toward crops that use more water.Rice and sugarcane crops together consume more than 60% of water available for irrigation.
The survey said that States such as Tamil Nadu,Karnataka,Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh which have high land productivity tend to have very low irrigation water productivity reflecting inefficient use of water and the need to re-calibrate cropping pattern
According to a 2018 report by NITI Aayog,India is one of the world’s biggest users of ground water and its depleting levels are the main reason for the country’s severe shortages.About 600 million Indians are facing high-to-extreme water stress and the situation is set to worsen as water requirements rise.
According to the India Meteorological Department,India is already facing a severe water crisis with about 60% of the country having received deficient rainfall from June 1-July 4,2019.