On March 20, the Columbia Water Center and the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) celebrated Punjab Water Day. Don’t be looking for a water slide or balloons or information booths. This was a recognition of the seriousness of the water crisis in Punjab, and of the commitment to find solutions.
As in much of the world, farmers in Punjab, an agricultural state known as the “breadbasket of India,” grow rice via flood irrigation. In this method, fields are flooded with several centimeters of water in order to kill weeds. When the water dries, the field is flooded again – up to 40 times per season. Clearly this uses a… read more
Often referred to as the granary of India, Punjab is now slowly drying out. And though many farmers are deeply worried over the prospects of producing enough food, some of the more entrepreneurial ones are adopting new ways to conserve water while bracing for what will be a drier future. Back in the 1970s India… read more
In previous weeks, I began the story of declining groundwater tables in India. In the first post, I talked about the current system of subsidized energy, the need to change it, and the willingness of farmers to adapt to such changes. The second post talked about the possible benefits and methods of direct seeding for… read more
Last week, I began the story of declining groundwater tables in India. I talked about the current system of subsidized energy, the need to change it, and the willingness of farmers to adapt to such changes. Even before changing the irrigation in the crop’s lifecycle, however, an initial step that farmers can take starts with… read more
In an earlier blog, I highlighted the story of declining groundwater in many parts of India. This story is one of agricultural intensification and widespread groundwater pumping, facilitated by highly subsidized or free electricity. As the Government of India sought food security for the nation, it promoted the procurement of rice and wheat from the… read more
The state of Punjab, located in the northwest part of the country, is known as the breadbasket of India. Punjab produces 20% of the nation’s wheat, 11% of its rice, and 11% of its cotton, from only 1.5% of its geographical area. Punjab is in trouble, however; groundwater is rapidly decreasing. Water levels have dropped… read more