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NEWS: Groundwater depletion in India has the tendency to reduce winter cropping intensity by 20%.

Cropping intensity: It is the amount of land planted

Water scarcity in India:

  • The push to intensive agriculture post the Green revolution led to unsustainable groundwater use and thus water scarcity.

  • Nearly, 13% of villages with winter crops are in critically water depleted regions.

Winter crops and impact of water scarcity:

  • India is the second-largest producer of wheat in the world. Over 30 million hectares of land in the country is utilised in the production of wheat.

  • With the water scarcity, the cropping intensity may decrease up to 20% by 2025.

  • As per an international team from School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, which studied Indian irrigation types found out that these 13% of villages may lose 68% of their cropped area in future if access to all groundwater irrigation is lost.

  • These losses are more expected to occur in northwest and central India.

Alternative source:

  • Canal irrigation: Though canal irrigation can be looked as an alternative, it has limited potential as per the study. Despite the use of canal irrigation the cropping intensity will decline by  7% nationally.

  • Water-saving technologies: various technologies like a sprinkler irrigation, drip irrigation and maybe switching to less water-intensive crops.

  • Cultivation of environmentally suited crops by reversing the trend that started, post the green revolution era.

  • Further, development of irrigation facilities is required in eastern states like Bihar, as there are enough groundwater resources supported with higher monsoon rainfall in eastern Indian states like Bihar. However, due to lack of enough irrigation infrastructure, farmers are unable to make use of natural resources there. 

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