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Drivers of change in groundwater resources: a case study of the Indian Punjab

Singh, S. and Park, J. ORCID: (2018) Drivers of change in groundwater resources: a case study of the Indian Punjab. Food Security, 10 (4). pp. 965-979. ISSN 1876-4517

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s12571-018-0823-2


Indian Punjab, a strategically important region from India’s national food security standpoint, is increasingly the focus of attention for academics and policymakers because of serious concerns about over-exploitation of its groundwater resources. Currently, the policy makers and agricultural researchers/scientists in India are in a fix to prescribe an alternative, probably more sustainable, crop-mix to farmers that can save water while maintaining the farm incomes. Using primary data from 120 farmers, this paper evaluates the current situation of groundwater resources in Punjab, and outlines the major socio-economic factors that have a significant association with the change in the groundwater depth in this region. A general ANOVA regression results suggest that groundwater depth varied significantly with respect to agro-climatic regions, crop diversity, and farmer education. Crop diversity had an inverse relationship with groundwater depth whereas the association between farmer education and groundwater depth was non-linear altough in case of Gurdaspur, they showed a direct relationship. In the central zone of Indian Punjab, groundwater level on 92% of the farms had depleted by more than 0.60 metres annually between 2000 and 2010. While, the current state of groundwater resources in the other two regions was not too serious and manageable for the time being. However, if the existing policy framework for groundwater resources in the state, which allows the state government to release 0.11 million more connections to farmers putting much pressure not only on the groundwater resources but also burdening the state exchequer, continues, Punjab can end up losing all its groundwater resources forever. Considering this alarming situation, one-fifth of the farmers surveyed were in agreement to delay the sowing of rice by another two weeks i.e. up to 30 June which can further help save the fast depleting groundwater resources in Punjab.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:78157


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