8) Despite not being a water-short country, India is facing several challenges when it comes to conserve water for irrigation purposes. Examine these challenges and suggest the measures needed to conserve water for irrigation purposes.

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Topic: Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems  

8) Despite not being a water-short country, India is facing several challenges when it comes to conserve water for irrigation purposes. Examine these challenges and suggest the measures needed to conserve water for irrigation purposes. (200 Words)

Business Standard

  • Srikanth Reddy

    India is not a water-short country but water-loss country because of its weakness in effective conservation of water.
    – uneven distribution of water resources across the nation , one region with surplus and other with deficit
    – lack of proper planning for conservation , distribution and utilization
    – mainly dependent on rainfall during monsoon
    – break of monsoon ,
    – long drought year , 8 months with no rain or less rain
    – climate change- melting of glaciers , drought , temp raise
    – two third of agri land is not irrigated
    – short of finances
    – evaporation ( tropical country)
    MEASURES need to conserved
    – irrigation network should be increased
    – construction of storage dams
    – interlinking of rivers
    – national water grid
    – modern scientific practices such as drift irrigation, sprinkling irrigation, drought resistant species cultivation
    – water harvesting, watershed management
    – stop loss of water through evaporation by covering open drainage with solar panels

  • Mukul

    India faces several challenges in conserving water. These challenges along with steps to remove these are:

    1. Poor planning in urban development: Houses are built in a haphazard manner due to which any scheme of water conservation has less chances of being successful. Planned urban architecture needs to be emphasised upon.

    2. Populist schemes of several state governments have kept water as a free good. National Water Policy 2003 envisaged water as an economic good so that its wastage is minimised and people make attempts to conserve it.

    3. State sponsored schemes have been inadequate. Integrated Watershed Management Plan was formulated for conservation for water. However there is a need for more of such schemes.

    4. Because of India’s Monsoon type climate, most of the rainfall occurs in 3-4 months. Thought this is a major impediment, however we need to minimise wastage during this duration as we cannot have control over such factors.

    5. Traditional knowledge like khadins, Zing in Ladakh, Johad in Central India, Kunds in Rajasthan, Surangam in Western Ghats, Kere in Karnataka are being ignored. There need to be efforts towards policy formulation for revitalising these methods.

    6. Since there is low level of awareness on need and practices for conservation of water, Education and Information (EIC) campaigns must be initiated in this regard.

    Besides these, some other steps are:

    1. Creation of National Water Grid.
    2. More emphasis must be paid on interlinking of rivers but after due research on the subject.
    3. Growing of crops keeping in mind their water requirements. For example, sugarcane requires greater water, therefore must be prefered in areas with sufficient rainfall.

  • ~Kal-El~

    india is a peculiar example of being water short at places and being water abundant at places. overall it has sufficient amount of water. the mismanagement and lack of conservation and sustaianable efforts has made it into a problem. the challenges are huge and for that corresponding measures need to be taken.

    1.administered prices by government skew the croppign pattern across the country. water deficient areas need to move from water guzzling to water hardy crops. engaging farmers is important.
    2. irrigation facilities with novel features like drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation; partnership with advanced nations like israel.
    3. limits on groundwater irrigation, installing water meters.
    4. electricity feeder lines separate for hime usage and non home usage for farmers.
    5. managing disenchantment with the farmer community after application of above recommendations.

    1. linking rivers is a ambitious priject. viability is still not clear. funding problem.
    2. construction of dams and water storage capacities creating environmental problsms and displacing human settlements.
    3. associating and alluring international finance institutions for specialists and funding.

    1. waster conservation act, to be made practical.
    2. setting real achievable targets and more emphasis on grass roots implementation.
    3. water conservation policy to be made mandatory in housing sector in water deficient areas.
    4. innovative incentive schemes for houses that are implementing the schemes.
    5. IEC should become part of every government activity.
    6. exposure through media assumes importance

    1. more focus on grassroots planning and implementation going with DPSPs and 73 and 74 amendment of the constitution.
    2. perspective and long term planning by the higher offices.
    3. incentives for the innovatove officers.
    4. best practices to eb shared throughout the country
    5. a MIS for easy viewing sharing and grievance redressals for the citizenry. it should be an active and interactive platform.

    it is easily very comprehensive. the world bank projects huge scarcity of water in urban and rural areas in the near future. preventive actions can well evade such fears. the governmetns need to act fast.

    • Vaibhav

      Very well written with proper headings and sub points.

    • lebowski

      you have good coverage..but shot the word limit..you could have left out the parts on infra and govt machinery as they are not the immediate issues..would help you cut down words..also points on domestic use are not needed as the question is based on irrigation..nice answer over all..
      kindly review mine..

    • Abyss

      looks like a very well written and comprehensive answer covering all facets but havent you exceeded the word limit by more than a suitable margin?

    • vishalvishu12


    • Sumant Singh

      It would be the best ans if u had written some points n figures abt irrigation condition and challenges presently..

    • stenuous

      Structure needs to be improved..mixing of challenges and measures make it problematic to read..

  • Vaibhav


  • mausam

    plz read

  • NRN

    Just about 45% of our agricultural land is covered by irrigation. To improve crop productivity and protect farmers from crop loss due to drought, it is important to expand irrigation facilities. However, India is facing several challenges when it comes to conserving water for irrigation purposes.
    Challenges pertaining to well/ tubewell irrigation:
    They depend heavily on ground water reserve. However, due to over exploitation and deforestation, the gruond water reserves have depleted and are unable to recharge itself. Also, salinity and excessive minerals are additional problems.
    Challenges pertaining to canal irrigation:
    Poorly designed canals and poor lining of canal surface is resulting in loss of water. Excessive evaporation of water from open canals is another problem.
    Challenges pertaining to tank irrigation:
    Though tank irrigtion was quiet common in the past especially in drought prone Deccan regions, they have been largely neglected, in our scramble for mega irrigation projects and dams. Many tanks are facing neglect, undermining their water conservation potential. They are in dilapidated condition affecting water retaining capacity. Also, some are poorly designed and use poor quality material.
    There are also some other common challenges like reclamtion of lakes and wetlands, pollution of water resources, siltation reducing water holding capacity of canals and tanks etc.
    Suggestions to overcome these challenges and conserve water:
    1. Watershed development and afforestation to reduce runoff and improve groundwater recharge
    2. Prevent over irrigation by policy measures like increasing tariff on electricity
    3. Plant trees along canals to reduce evaporation. Japan uses floating solar panel which not only removes the issue of land acquisition for installing them but also reduces evaporation.
    4. Prevent contamination of water bodies through stringent norms.
    Focus must be given to participative approach in conservation in irrigation water. Farmers and local communities, who are stakeholders must be involved. The Pradhan Mantiri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana, that gives emphasis on local participation can be effectively turned into a platform for conserving irrigation water.

    • minaxi

      Second part of answer is good, and if i am not wrong question demands the challenges for conservation of water for irrigation purpose,

  • minaxi

    India is a special case for water availability problems, Though average rain fall in India is higher than world average yet India faces slack of water for irrigation purpose due to-
    1- Majority of rain fall in 4 months of monsoon even in these months, spatial variation is quite skewed
    2- Increasing unpredictability of rainfall and receding water table in intense agriculture areas.
    3- more than 90% of rainwater is discharged to oceans or seas by silting out the top fertile soil.
    4- Lack of infrastructure and awareness among the people

    Hence despite having good rainfall, agriculture sector faced the problem of irrigation in dry spells, for which mismanagement of water, lack of conservation , and faulty agriculture practices are responsible.

    a- Their should be measures to conserve rain water and water from melting ice and rivers by creating policies and rules and also by creating infrastructure.
    b- To enhance the awareness among agriculture community, regular and effective steps to be taken and they should be provided with monetary and other support for conservation of water.
    c- steps taken to recharge ground water in monsoon season
    d- motivate the farmers in water scarce belts area to produce environmental friendly crops,
    e- Remove some faulty schemes such as higher MSP on rice and higher prices of sugar canes, if government proved higher prices for these crops than it should be provided to the farmers only of water surplus area.
    f- focus more on micro irrigation, like sprinkle irrigation and root irrigation technique,
    g- development of seeds with short maturity period and and higher photosynthesis capacity
    h- Phase out the subsidy on power and fertilizer bcz these are one of the major reason behind water deplition

    Government has launched the PER DROP MORE CROP scheme under Pradhan Mantri Krashi Vikas Yojna to enhance the efficiency of irrigation to crop production,And it siting the depleting water resources , there is need to take immediate action to stop upcoming disasters, with help of individuals, state and international bodies like World Bank, this can be done effectively.

    • minaxi

      Plz review

    • dinesh

      minaxi, I think the examine part of the challenges is not emphasized by you as you’ve just stated the challenges.
      One thing I would like to mention how would you stop a disaster. Can you stop the earthquake or tsunami or volcanic eruption? Instead, you can say we can try to mitigate the effects of disasters. Keep Writing.


      • minaxi

        Thanks Dinesh, will try to balance answer next time, and here i used disaster word as metaphor for scarcity of potable water and water available for irrigation.
        i will review our answer, after some time.
        thanks again for review

  • Swapna

    India is facing several challenges in obtaining enough water for irrigation in spite of annual rainfall exceeding world average. Some of them are
    -> Unequal spatial distribution of rainfall leading to continuous drought in some places and floods in some places.
    -> Lack of awareness of importance of water conservation, its incentives and necessary technology.
    -> Reduced rainspells in some seasons and some years and extreme weather events due to climate change.
    -> Indiscriminate usage of groundwater.

    Measures to be taken to conserve water for irrigation are
    -> Adapt better technologies for increased irrigation area with less water. Our relations with countries like Israel which pioneer in irrigation technology can be harnessed to promote customised research in India.
    -> Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana which promote efficient use of water and rain water conservation should be tailormade regionwise to cater to its rainfall and cropping patterns.
    -> Awareness should be promoted about benefits of water saving techniques, micro irrigation and need for maintaining water table levels.
    -> Prevent contamination of water bodies and address climate change issues to avoid deterioration of available resources.

    • Mr.RedPanda

      Crisp and Clear. Israel points is well placed. I think the first part needs some more important points. one and three points can be clubbed in first part. Power subsidy is the reason for indiscriminate usage of groundwater. Can refine that point.
      Second part, PMKSY pointi s good. You can also drag some points from 12th FYP-Sustainable Use of Water for Agriculture”.

      Nevertheless, Good answer.

      • Swapna

        Yeah that was redundant. Will gather more resources

    • nicksyna

      nice answer but can add various other points as well…plz review mine

      • Swapna

        Thankyou. Was concerned about word limit but will keep your point in mind

  • Mr.RedPanda

    Eighty per cent of India’s water is used for irrigation. Sustainable use of water for agriculture has been the call for many years.


    1. Limits to big dams: The ecological and social costs of the large dam projects made them hard to implement.

    2. Falling groundwater tables: In many regions of India- Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Bundhelkhand, Marathwada- the groundwater has been receding at dangerous levels. This is a challenge to both irrigation and drinking water.

    3. Inability to transfer water from surplus regions to deficit regions.

    4. The current regime of power subsidies for agriculture has had a major role to play in deteriorating water tables in most parts of India

    Elements of the Paradigm Shift

    1. Large Irrigation Reform: Encouraging more small and medium irrigation projects in the place of large ones. Such projects have high water efficiency rates too.

    2. Participatory Aquifer Management: National Aquifer Management Programme (NAMP) being launched in the Twelfth Plan. More funding is necessary.The aquifer mapping of potential groundwater resources and ground water recharge points are the major action elements.

    3. Breaking the Groundwater-Energy Nexus:The single most effective solution is the physical segregation farm and non-farm power feeders.

    4. New Groundwater Law: Sustainable and equitable management of groundwater based on aquifer management requires a new legal framework

    What lies ahead is a difficult task of implementing measures. What gives hope is the fact that India has done it before.

    • PK

      Very good answer! No suggestions.

      Please review mine.

    • nicksyna

      Gud points but very short intro….try to imrpove intro..plz review mine

      • Mr.RedPanda

        Yeah. I thought so. But to include more body points, I have no choice.

        • nicksyna

          see according to previous topper u must have a line or two for intro and same for conclusion with ur opinion on it…content with headings makes answer more attractive and as many dimensions as possible….in that way u can get gud marks per question…because according to them only 1/3rd marks are for content….

          • Mr.RedPanda

            I completely agree. In fact, I start with basic def many a times while starting to make it clear that I know the topic.I am experimenting here a bit. Any how, points taken friend.Intro and conclusion are so important.

    • Udit Malik

      bro i guess saying dam helps in irrigation purpose is wrong bcz if they really do something then why maharashtra faces farmer crisis owing to rain when maharashtra has highest number of dams…

      • Udit Malik

        you say encourage small and medium farmers irrigation practice.. but most of the land is with medium and big farmers.. so how far it will be correct to focus more on small and medium…

      • Mr.RedPanda

        Small and medium large dams do help Udit. Larger dams have other side effects as I mentioned in the Ans. Coming to MH, yes they have more dams. But,their water resources are mismanaged and diverted. Diverted water to more Industries-30-90%-leaving less water to irrigation of crops.

  • anjali2015

    India is a typical cases of scarcity in abundance. India receives a good monsoon and has abundant natural resources such as rivers,soils,temperature but still little mission variations lead to drought conditions in more than half of the country and expose the poor irrigation infrastructure.
    – temporal and spatial variability of monsoon leading to flood in one part and scarcity in other
    – faulty agricultural practices ,water intensive cultivation
    – mis management of rain water
    – excessive dependence on groundwater leading to lowering of the water table
    – Poor awareness and technological advancement each to farmers
    -technological infrastructure- proper backward linkages to farmers for new seeds and technologies that reduce water dependence
    – rainwater harvesting and watershed Management
    – effective water utilisation by preserving moisture of soil through techniques like mulching, drop irrigation
    -government initiatives – decentralizing irrigation Development Scheme to the panchayats and introduction of fresh micro irrigation and centres at the village level, interlinking water scarce and water abundant regions, groundwater regulation etc.
    The recent initiatives of ‘lab to farm’ and ‘per drop per crop ‘ are important steps taken in this direction but need effective support and participation of all the agricultural classes for holistic development of
    India’s agriculture.

  • anjali2015

    India is a typical cases of scarcity in abundance. India receives a good monsoon and has abundant natural resources such as rivers,soils,temperature but still little monsoon variations lead to drought conditions in more than half of the country and expose the poor irrigation infrastructure.
    – temporal and spatial variability of monsoon leading to flood in one part and scarcity in other
    – faulty agricultural practices ,water intensive cultivation
    – mis management of rain water
    – excessive dependence on groundwater leading to lowering of the water table
    – Poor awareness and technological advancement each to farmers
    -technological infrastructure- proper backward linkages to farmers for new seeds and technologies that reduce water dependence
    – rainwater harvesting and watershed Management
    – effective water utilisation by preserving moisture of soil through techniques like mulching, drop irrigation
    -government initiatives – decentralizing irrigation Development Scheme to the panchayats and introduction of fresh micro irrigation and centres at the village level, interlinking water scarce and water abundant regions, groundwater regulation etc.
    The recent initiatives of ‘lab to farm’ and ‘per drop per crop ‘ are important steps taken in this direction but need effective support and participation of all the agricultural classes for holistic development of
    India’s agriculture.

  • Vijay

    India is not a water short country. Average total rainfall received by india is 120 mm which is higher than world average of 990mm. still country is facing several challenges when it comes for water availability for irrigation as visible from below facts:

    1. Lack of irrigation facilities in various areas like Bundelkhand, vidarbha, marathawada, etc.
    2. 85% of pulses cultivation doesn’t have irrigation facilities

    The major challenges in conserving water for irrigation puposes:

    1. Nearly 90% rainfall occurs in 4 months of rainy season. Most water flows directly in oceans thruoogh rivers
    2. Distribution of rainfall is also not uniform
    3. Canals are mostly open which results in water evaporation
    4. Water use efficiency is also less in most irrigation projects
    5. Theft of water from water canals
    6. Excessive usage of water provided free or at reduced cost
    7. Dams across the rivers has also dried water in rivers
    8. Polluted water in many rivers like Yamuna is not fit for irrigating
    9. Cultivation of water intense crops like sugarcane in areas of water scarcity like Marathwada also poses problems
    10. Not using water preserving techniques like drip irrigation and micro irrigation
    11. Lack of availability of seeds which could survive in dry conditions

    Measures to conserver water for irrigation :

    1. Pradhanmantri sichai yojna targets increasing
    irrigation facilities
    2. Water should be used more efficiently – ‘per drop more crop’
    3. Check bunds, water tanks, etc should be used to save rain water
    4. Ground water should be used more judiciously
    5. Canals can be covered with solar panels on top for reducing evaporation losses
    6. Checking water theft
    7. Use of micro irrigation and sprinklers
    8. Using less water intensive seeds

  • Akki

    India is primarily an agricultural country. More than 50% of its population is dependent on agriculture directly or indirectly. But a majority of land under cultivation is rain fed.

    The annual rainfall in India is more than the world average, but there are two issues with Indian rainfall:
    1. It is concentrated only over a few months
    2. The distribution of rainfall is highly skewed

    This pattern of rainfall creates major challenge in water conservation. The other challenges are as follows:
    1. North-East India receives heavy rainfall, but due to the rugged nature of the terrain, water conservation becomes difficult
    2. There is surplus water in north India as compared to south, but no viable systems are available to transport water from north to south
    3. The river linking project is still in pipeline due to structural and environmental consequences
    4. Absence of groundwater management policy, which is leading to groundwater being exploited to unsustainable levels
    5. Unsustainable agronomic practices like using standing water to irrigate crops
    6. Cultivating water intensive crops in ares not suitable for it. e.g. cultivation of sugarcane in the marathwada region of Maharashtra

    The prevalent drought conditions with monsoon getting uncertain in the last few years necessitates water conservation measures for irrigation. Some of these can be:

    1. Use of drip and sprinkler system for irrigation
    2. Need for groundwater management policy along with levying of user charges to incentivise conservation
    3. Use of watershed management programme as integral part of rural development policy
    4. Integrating rain water harvesting with urban planning
    5. Developing crop varieties which use less water and mature early

  • kirtesh

    भारतीय भू भाग को वार्षिक वर्षा वैश्विक औसत से अधिक प्राप्त होती है लेकिन पर्याप्त वर्षा के बाद भी इसके विशाल भू भाग पर सिंचाई के जल की उपलब्धता की समस्या हमेशा बनी रहती हैं, ये समस्याएं निम्न प्रकार हैं-
    – वर्षा वितरण की भौगोलिक असमानता तथा हाल के वर्षों में वर्षा की अनिश्चित समयावधि( जलवायु परिवर्तन के कारण)
    – वर्षा जल संरक्षण तकनीकों के बारे में लोगों में जागरूकता का अभाव।
    – भूजल के अन्धाधुन्ध उपयोग से जल स्तर का लगातार गिरना।
    – नवीन सिंचाई पद्धतियों के प्रति जागरूकता का अभाव।
    – वर्षा न्यून क्षेत्रों में उपयुक्त फसल पद्धति का न होना।

    इन समस्याओं से निपटने के लिए निम्न कदम उठाये जा सकतें हैं-
    – ऐसी तकनीकें तथा फसल पद्धतियों को विकसित करना जिनसे न्यूनतम जल से अधिकतम उत्पादन संभव हो सके। जैसे- सिंचाई की फव्वारा पद्धति तथा वर्षा न्यून क्षेत्रों में कम जल खपत वाली फसलें उगाना।
    – नदी जोड़ने की परियोजना को वास्तविकता में परिणत करना।
    – जल संरक्षण तकनीकों के बारे में लोगों को जागरूक बनाना। जैसे- घरों की छतों पर वर्षा जल संग्रहण।
    – नहरी तंत्र के विकास में निवेश करना।
    – वर्षा जल, नदियों के जल को व्यर्थ बहकर समुद्र में जाने से रोकने के लिए बाँध बनाना।
    – उत्तर भारत में कृषि भूखंडों में छोटे तालाबों के निर्माण की योजना सफल सिद्ध हुई है अतः ऐसी योजनाओं को अन्य क्षेत्रों में भी लागू करना।

    साथ ही सरकार द्वारा जल के उचित उपयोग से अधिकतम उत्पादन के लिए प्रधानमन्त्री कृषि सिंचाई योजना, मृदा सेहत कार्ड, m-कृषि इत्यादि योजनाओं के प्रभावी क्रियान्वयन के लिए कदम उठाए जाने चाहिए।

    • VIVEK

      thats a good answer

    • Ajit

      Your answers are really good. Keep it up. Please write ethics answers also.

      • kirtesh

        Thnks, I’m in learning process right now, need lots of improvement.
        I’ll try to write ans. on tht too.

    • Bikashfree


    • IAS GOI

      you are a big help for learning hindi for compulsory papers also. But just keep in mind that people like me are relying on you for spellings so make sure that you don’t make any mistakes. 🙂
      Thanks buddy 🙂

  • dinesh

    Due to geographical phenomenon such as El Nino affecting the weather conditions in the country making prone to Drought situation in various districts of the states. Although the rainfall in average in India is about 1200mm more than that of world average 990mm still facing the challenges regarding conservation of water for irrigation purposes.

    Although there is drought situation due to geographical reasons in various districts which affecting the agricultural practices for irrigation purpose, but the situation becomes grave when there is discriminate use of underground water, lowering the ground water level, by farming the water-intensive crops such as sugarcane which causes agrarian distress in the region. Marathwada district of Maharashtra is such a case. Also, use of the obsolete technologies and traditional methods of irrigation in the field for irrigation purposes graves the water scarcity situation.

    A. Application of Technologies:
    Use of
    1.System of Rice Intensification (SRI);
    2.Irrigation methods:
    a. Micro-irrigation methods such as Dripper and sprinkler irrigation especially for sugarcane farming;
    b. Raised-bed seed planting;
    c. Furrow irrigation.
    3.Cloud Seeding Technique for raining as China uses technology in water-deficient areas;
    4. Rainwater conservation techniques.

    B. Application of Government Policies:
    1. Use of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana(PMKSY) and Soil Health Cards(SHC) for irrigation, preserving rain-water, efficient use of water purposes.
    2. Use of the subsidies provided by the government in procuring the modern technologies for irrigation to conserve water.

    From the above methods, we can conserve water for irrigation purpose but still there is an urgent need for sustainable use of water in both rural as well as urban areas.

    • dinesh


    • minaxi

      First of all Only ELNINO is not the reason of drought, it is irony that one part of india under flood while another part under drought, ELNINO only intensify this condition, their is no need to be specific by giving data, well a good attempt, keep writing, keep improving, All the best.

      • dinesh

        Thanks Minaxi for review. Eagerly waiting for the review and now atlast. Now answer to your question. Yeah, I understand El Nino is not the only reason, there are other reasons too. I took El Nino as an example as because it affected the whole nation although very little but still, while the other reasons true for some district and may not be true for the other. For example, Eucalyptus tree plantation depleting the water table level in Karnatka resulting in drought and the same situation doesn’t apply at Rajasthan and also I haven’t written in my answer. Did my answer pretend to you as its the only reason? Correct me if I am wrong.

        • minaxi

          No offence plz, i knew everybody write answer for mains will know the reasons behind the drought, but you stated that due to geographical phenomena, conditions of drought has occurred, but as we all know anthropological reasons dominated the causes behind drought, thus i said so. No your answer does not pretend me as such but if it has divert me from main demand of question, it can divert examiner also.

          • dinesh

            Yeah, thanks Minaxi, I’ll ensure my mistake next time.

            • minaxi

              Sorry Dinesh, make a fuss of it, though your answer can be improved but it is a good effort, keep writing and reviewing. Sorry once again

  • Manjul


  • wings of fire

    India is an agrarian country and 60% of its population is engaged in this occupation . Still it has not contributed at large to GDP of the country.Irrigation is one of the major block in this occupation which hinders the overall progress.
    1) Lack of awareness about water conservation and methods for conservation are way beyond common farmers, which means practically no collective approach.
    2)Use of technology in irrigation like drip and sprinkle , water meter , water level indicator.
    3)Government has failed to connect rivers through channels though there are financial problems it has not even started at small scale.
    4)El nino is a natural phenomenon which is beyond our control but global warming can be a possible cause , so plantation of tree is necessary.
    5)Farmer lack knowledge about soiol and crop suited for that soiol and are lured by factories to plant those crop which will supply raw material to them.
    1)Government can make small committee to spread awareness about water conservation and technical assistance can also be a good help.
    2)Subsidies over the technology’s that can be used in farming.
    3)Government can start river connect project at small scale and try for forigen financial assistance.
    4)Tree should be planted which conserve and maintain groundwater level and prevent errosion of soil. It will lead to larger evaporation rate and high rainfall.
    5) Farmers must be guided by governmental agriculture bodies at local level for proper plantation according to the soil and accurate whether information should be given to farmers

    This integrated approach can lead to better water conservation and contributing at large mass of people and collective growth.

  • lebowski

    Despite not being a water-short country, India is facing several challenges when it comes to conserve water for irrigation purposes. Examine these challenges and suggest the measures needed to conserve water for irrigation purposes. (200 Words)

    challenges in conserving water for irrigation :
    -variable spatial and temporal trend of annual rainfall
    – rainwater harvesting structures like tanks, ponds etc lying in dilapidated condition
    – consumption incentivised for eg cheap/free electricity for pumps etc but not conservation
    – horizontal and vertical disparity in availability of irrigation water ; big farms and wealthy farmers have larger share of water as compared to small farms and subsistence farmers
    – falling soil quality needing higher inputs

    various measures can be initiative to spur conservation of water for irrigation :
    – rejunvenating traditional water harvesting structures ; eg building johars in alwar by ‘water-man’ rajinder singh led to revival of agro-ecology
    – bringing in integrated farm management systems ; choosing region appropriate crops
    – linking water use incentives to amount of use and income levels
    – research into early maturing crops with greater yield efficiency
    – promoting and incentivising thrifty irrigation techniques like micro, drip and sprinkler irrigation, system of rice intensification
    – learning from experiences of the CDP and AIBP and bringing it into use in the PMKSY for addressing deficits
    Irrigation is the very soul of agriculture. It will lead to higher yields, better incomes and increase purchasing power for a wide section of the country for better economic growth and at the same time make them resilient to risks of climate change and crop failures.

    • PK

      Good answer. Maybe, you just need to trim it down to be in world limit. If its within the limit, then perfect! 🙂

      Please review mine

    • QCA

      good points .

  • ankit goyel

    The average total annual rainfall of India is around 1200mm
    which is approximately 200mm more than the world average. However, the rainfall
    is unevenly distributed all over the country. Further more than 80% of the
    rainfall occurs in the four month of monsoon. This cause India to suffer from alternative drought and floods conditions every year.
    The main challenges to conserve the water are:-
    a. Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 2013 make the acquisition of land tedious. This creates problem for the development of large reservoir to store water during the monsoon period and then use in lean period. The present 91 large reservoirs in India are just not sufficient to satisfy the drinking, sanitation and irrigation needs of all the people of India.
    b. Uneven rainfall in occurs in different part but the absence of canal system make it impossible to transfer the water from one
    region to another.
    c. Lack of adoption of water harvesting technologies to recharge ground water. The ground water getting depreciated every year and make the farmers more or more dependent on monsoon.
    Some of the measures are:
    a. Dilution of LAA for rural infrastructure development can allow in construction of more dams , reservoirs and early completion of
    ambitious National Water Grid (canal network).
    b. Compulsory use of water harvesting technologies in rural areas along with the modern irrigation facilities like drip irrigation etc.

  • PK

    India receives sufficient amount of rainfall and is above the world’s average in this aspect. However, the problem of water deficiency arises not because of quantity of rainfall but because of the following:

    1. Temporal distribution of rainfall : Majority of India’s rainfall is mainly received during the monsoon season while the other seasons do not receive adequate rainfall. Also, the distribution across the regions is a major problem with Rajasthan receiving as less as 10-20 cm per year while NE states receive as much as 300 cm per year.

    2. Changes in weather pattern: Off late, its been observed that there’s an increase in the frequency of freak weather phenomnon like hailstorms, cloudburst, etc. This compounds the problem of soil erosion and as well as destroying the standing crops.

    Measures Needed:
    1. To improve water availability, water storage systems need to be designed so as to nullify the distortions caused by the temporal distribution of rainfall.
    2. More usage of water efficient irrigation systems like drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, etc. is to be given importance.
    3. Changing the cropping pattern to adjust to the regional agro-climatic features. E.g: Water intense crops like Sugarcane should be actively discouraged to be cultivated in water deficient areas like Vidarbha, etc
    4. More research to develop HYV which have reduced need for water is to be conducted.
    5. Incentives should be designed for farmers to adopt water efficient crops and methods.

    With these agriculture related measures, irrigation can indeed achieve the goal of “Per Drop, More Crop”. Along with this, the recharge of ground water table is of utmost importance which can be addressed by developing watersheds, rain water harvesting, etc.

    • lebowski

      challenges for water conservation are not restricted to just monsoonal factors..you need to elaborate on that front..measures have been aptly described..can give a line on how irrigation has a cascading effect on the economy..

      • PK

        yep. misinterpreted the question!
        Thanks for the feedback

    • Mr.RedPanda

      Hi PK, you structured the answer properly. But with all due respect to your diligent efforts, I would like to mention that the first part of the question is completely missing. Second part needs some more constructive points. However, you mentioned some beautiful points-HYV, cropping pattern, water efficiency. Your conclusion is very good.
      Keep writing. Please keep reviewing.

      • PK

        Thanks man! Yes, i can see now.. i completely missed the first part.. my bad..

  • RR

    Challenges to conserve water for irrigation purposes

    Spatial and temporal variation in rainfall: India has most of its rainfall from June to September with march to may being the driest months for irrigation. The spatial variation of rainfall is no less diverse. Floods in the NE to drought in parts of deccan and west India is a major challenge for irrigation.

    Linking of rivers for better irrigation is not the most ergonomically viable solution. Variation in terrains is a problem and geological impacts by linking can threaten stability of landmasses.

    Thinking of conserving water for irrigation and at the same time over utilization of groundwater for intensive irrigation agriculture (paddy and sugarcane) and hence depleting water tables is a paradoxical situation we are in today.

    The measures that can be taken are:

    Micro irrigation by using methods like sprinkler and drip irrigation. Incentivizing these measures instead of providing subsidized electricity to deplete groundwater can take us a long way in irrigation measures

    Furrow based irrigation and using technology to develop new seeds that need lesser water

    Education the farmers on the right and the minimum quantity of water needed for crops especially rice where farmers tend to use excess water)

    Connecting the irrigation canals to the maximum reach so that all farmers are equally benefitted and not just the one’s nearer to canals

  • hemant

    India receives a sufficient rainfall during monsoon with variation as large as 100 mm to 11000 mm in Rajasthan and Meghalaya respectively eroding a good layer of fertile soil with it in the ocean. It shows:1) that the rainfall is sufficient 2) but not adequately spread across all region country wide. This is one of the biggest challenge which require better management, distribution and its conservation.

    3) Monsoon season of only four months leads to drought like conditions in many areas even during the monsoon.

    Another big challenge is receding water table in agricultural areas.

    In order to overcome above challenges, following measures under goal of “per drop more crop”-more rewards should be followed:

    1) Prevent drainage of rain/ snow water through its conservation by erecting vast pools/ tanks to contain it under Pradhan Matri Krishi Sichai Yojana.

    2) Erecting embankments guiding the flow of water toward above pool/ tanks.

    3) Promote technologies of micro irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler irrigation; and crop varieties that can ensure maximum output with minimum water.

    4) Enhancing photosynthesis efficiency of crop plants, and shorten their growing period to reduce their water uptake.

    5) conservation agriculture involving minimum
    disturbance of soil, raised-bed seed planting and furrow irrigation; and
    system of rice intensification, which helps nearly double the paddy
    yield with 50 per cent less water.

  • Batman

    India’s average total rainfall of 120 cm is sufficient enough to meet the growing demands of irrigation but the same has not been observed because of the following challenges:

    1)Rainfall is not equally distributed across all regions
    2)Absence of water-holding devices in hilly areas leads to loss of rainwater
    3)Low expansion of irrigation infrastructure
    4)Lack of political will so as to keep the sufferers as vote bank
    5)Receiving water for irrigation from canals without any charges reduces incentives for conservation
    6)Low levels of awareness among farmers about rainwater harvesting techniques
    7)Mistake of assuming conservation a costly affair and associating it with low class status

    These challenges can be overcome through the following measures:

    1)Incentivizing farmers to conserve water rather than exploit ground water resources
    2)Investments in setting up tanks and systems for rainwater harvesting
    3)Making farmers aware of the problem of water scarcity
    4)Investment in micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler irrigation
    5)Agro-ecological planning to ensure that water-intensive crops are grown in appropriate areas only
    6)Greater investments in research to come up with new water conservation techniques

    All these measures need to be implemented so as to tackle the irrigation challenge and to ensure that farmers are able to make their livelihoods.

  • Amit

    India has total average annual rainfall of 1200 mm, higher than the global average of 990 mm. Despite this it is facing problem to conserve water for irrigation purposes, it is due to reasons like:

    1. Unevenly distribution of rainfall : The rainfall pattern in the country is unevenly distribute with western Rajasthan receives mere 100 mm while Maghalaya’s Cherrapunji receives 11,000 mm of average annual rainfall.

    2. Change in climate : The change in climate pattern causes frequent hailstorms, downpours and cloud brust, thus affecting the crops. This change in climate pattern also decreases rain spells which led to longer dry or drought like phases even in the monsoon period.

    3. Irrational practices by farmers: Farmer irrigating their farmland with plenty of waters despite the same can be achieved by comparatively much less water by following drip-irrigation or micro-irrigation facilities. Their practices causing reduction in ground-water level of the region.

    Now, the need of the hour is to take immediate steps to conserve water for irrigation purpose for the country that need to feed more than 120 crore of its population. Several steps need to be taken:

    1. India must follow Israel’s agronomy technologies. Israel has the world highest ‘more crop per drop’ ratio. India must follow Israel’s drip-irrigation, micro-irrigation, filter and fertiliser technology.

    2. Efficient usage of water must be inducted into every schemes related to irrigation. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayi yojana recently launched by the government of India with an outlay of 50,000 crore for 5 years starting from 2015-16. This scheme has three components water sources, distribution network and water use application. Thus this scheme will prove boon to country irrigation projects. Scheme to rely on decentralised planning and encourage states to draw up district and state irrigation plans. 75%of the grant will be given from central government, while states have to bear the remaining 25%.

    3. System of Rice Intensification(SRI) model of Madagascar must be followed for water intensive crops – rice. Recent scheme of Soil Health Card (SHC) will also provide proper crop and fertiliser usage information for the farmers by comparing the soil health of their region, which is to be monitored by soil health labs.

    4. Need of Water harvesting model to be encouraged and even community water harvesting model must be encouraged like ‘pani panchayat’.

  • Mockingjay

    pls review…

  • Abyss

    India is not a water short country as it has an average annual rainfall of 120cm while world average is 99cm. however, the spatial and seasonal distribution of rainfall, along with inefficient use of available water makes water a precious resource with a growing need to conserve it. Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water in India with a share of >80% in the total consumption and at this rate India will be a water deficit country before 2050

    Challenges faced:
    1. Ground water depletion due to over- irrigation stemming from subsidized electricity that leads to inefficient use of available water

    2. Seasonal concentration of rainfall in the monsoon months leaving the remaining months dry

    3. Weather changes furthering periods of drought across regions in the country

    4. Unsustainable agricultural practices with water intensive crops being grown in semi arid regions through ground water
    extraction and use of excess fertilizers

    5. Water & ground water contamination through excess use of fertilizer leading to eutrophication and threat for marine life

    6. Deforestation for agricultural and industrial use leading to higher water run off and reduction in the rate of ground water

    7. Small land holding size leading to inadequate investment in infrastructure building by farmers

    In order to counter the above challenges there are measures that need to be actively taken:

    1. Water use efficiency can be enhanced by technologies like drip & sprinkler irrigation, hybrid seeds that use less water

    2. Watershed management by building small dams across streams, furrow irrigation, raised bed seed planting, rice intensification for reducing water wastage

    3. Afforestation, rain water harvesting, mulching to prevent water run off, shelter belts of trees can substantially increase water availability

    4. Shift of government policy from input subsidy to infrastructure subsidy for farmers

    Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana aims to target most of the measures mentioned above, but most of there is a need to sensitize farmers on the importance and effective usage of water.

  • Rammohan

    India is a monsoon driven conurty and spatial and temporal variability of precipitation pattert affect its agriculture system. Average rainfall of India is aprro. 117 cm which is above the world avg when compare for as vast country as India.
    Challenges for water conservation
    *Increase in MSP and green revolution have led to change in cropping pattern .eg
    Cultivation of sugarcane in Maharashtra and rice in panjab which are water intensive crops.
    *Unscientific use of manure and fertilizer.
    * deforestation – increased the surface run off , decrease soil moisture holding capacity and lowering of water table.

  • nicksyna

    With many peninsular rivers like Godavari, Krishna, kaveri etc. and many rivers in its northern part like Ganga, Indua etc. where every year we see problem of floods it is clear that India is not a water short country, but still we are facing several problems which are causing water stress in several places of India because of:

    a. Water Pollution: In case of Delhi where even after having Yamuna river people faces scarcity of problem due to excess pollution in it

    Remedy: Strict punishment for pollution causing industries, recycle and reuse is another option

    b. Excessive Ground Water Utilization: In case of Punjab and Haryana where water table is receding below their mark because of excessive exploitation of it

    Remedy: Rain water harvesting, drip irrigation to avoid wastage of water

    c. Unplanned Decision: In Marathawada region where water is being used excessively for sugarcane production and so people there are facing water scarcity problem

    Remedy: Drip irrigation and rain water harvesting to maintain water table can help

    d. Less Rainfall In Some Areas: In Bengaluru case where in the Krishnasagar reservoir the water is less than half it requires for maintaining continuous supply to city

    Remedy: River Linking project can help because a lot of water in various river is already getting wasted by flowing into the sea washing away fertile soil with it

    Apart from it in regions like West Gujarat where there is huge scarcity of water and where monsoon is also not good using afforestation, drip irrigation, rain water harvesting all will be required to make them water sustainable.

    • Mr.RedPanda

      I think you missed the crucial points in the first part. Excessive use of groundwater is because of irrational power subsidies. Large dams are no longer viable- can’t store more water. Less investment in irrigation from public. Neglected traditional water harvesting and mess in watershed management. River linking point-I am in confusion about its economic and social costs.
      With all due respect to your efforts and presentation, I am just trying to add more points from different view at the issue. All are relevant points at some point.

      • nicksyna

        yes i do agree with you…i mentioned only 4 points with region specific example, but ur points are valid too…..

    • Swapna

      Good attempt. The idea of presenting a problem and remedy is good. But overall, there was redundancy in problems as well as remedies. Try to include not just more points but variety in the points. Keep writing and reviewing 🙂

      • nicksyna

        Thank you for revie…will keep that in mind….

  • Wolverine

    India is an Agriculture based country with more than half of
    it’s population employed in the Primary Sector. The vast country through is not
    water short is experiencing water scarcity in some of it’s parts given the
    spatial distribution of rain water and other factors.

    —-Challenges for conserving Water for irrigational

    –The Rainwater, due to increasing deforestation doesn’t go
    down the ground and often results in washing off the precious soil.

    –The micro irrigation methods like drip and sprinkle
    irrigation, conservation methods like Raised bed seed planting and furrow irrigation
    etc. are not universal.

    –The subsidies for Electricity and on tubewells have
    resulted in water wastage and water logging creating salinity for soil.

    —-Measures needed—

    –Adoption of Micro irrigation and conservation methods in
    the whole of India.

    –Adopting Rainwater Harvesting techniques for the recharge
    of groundwater & reducing subsidies on Tube wells and Electricity
    especially in the Western India.

    –Developing seeds which result in low water intake and
    maximum output and

    –Educating farmers on how to conserve water.

    —-The irrigation in India can be provided for
    all crops provided we take the above steps. Failing which the issue will
    persist until action is taken.


    India with 118-120 cm of average annual rainfall is categorized as wet country. But still droughts are widespread in India this not because scarcity but rather mismanagement of water. There are certain challenges that India faces in respect of conservation of water. Some of these are
    1. Lack of infrastructure to store water in monsoon months due to which all water went into sea via surface runoff
    2. False sense of surplus among those living in northern plains thus making no effort to recharge ground water
    3. Still flow irrigation is practiced which consumes large amount of water. Though actual requirement is low as most water is lost to evaporative losses.
    4. Faulty choice of crops such as taking up rice and sugarcane cultivation(which took more water) in north-west India and black cotton soil regions respectively thereby severely compromising water conservation needs.
    5. Deforestation leading to fall in water table as tree acts as tiny dams in recharging ground water which can be taken up for a irrigation purpose.
    6. Change in climatic phenomenon where India now witnessing prolonged periods of dry spells even in monsoon months.

    Measures need to be taken
    1. Use of mulching which is soil moisture conservation technique.
    2. Use micro irrigation methods which includes drip and sprinkler irrigation
    3. Development of drought resistant crops thus consuming lesser water.
    4. Use of agroclimatic farming methods where crops like pulses coarse cereals need to be grown in drier areas and rice, sugarcane in wetter parts of India
    5. Afforestation is necessary which can be done by agroforestry and social forestry methods
    6. Building underground structures to store excess water in monsoon months which can be utilized later in drier months. This will also address problem of flooding
    7. Rainwater harvesting should be made compulsory. In various parts of countries these are known by different names like surangam, dhad system, digghi, johad, baoli, kata, zing etc.
    8. Interlinking of rivers ( though Indian lithology do not allow it)
    9. Involvement of PRIs in water conservation.

    Recent Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojna is good example of promoting water conservation attitudeamong farmers but more such steps need to taken to make agriculture ecologically sustainable and monsoon proof

    • Sanjay


    • hemant

      Ans is lacking data/committee support. You have not even mentioned 12th plan in which it was most heated topic.( Yojana nov 2013). overall very general ans

  • photon

    India is blessed with good rainfall with annual average rainfall 1200 mm which is more than world average 990 mm.but still india faces challenges for facilitate adequate water for crop irrigation which is important as it ensures food security and better quality of life for 125 crore population.
    challenges in conservation of water for irrigation in India ;
    1.Farmer in india practices flow irrigation which causes huge wastage of water besides soil erosion,leaching of fertilisers.
    2.Water use efficiency in agriculture far below than developed countries due to practicing improper water storage methods and cultivation of high water demand crops which further enhancing water scarcity.
    3.Global warming is further poses as bane as it increases evapo-transpiration and frequent floods in himalayan rivers so that these often causes severe shortage of water for irrigation.
    4.Over exploitation of ground water in one hand and indiscriminate deforestation on other hand leading to decrease in ground water availability.
    5.Lack of awareness among people and poor infrastructure to construct dam and reservoirs further posing situation become worst.

    measures for conservation of water;
    1.Immediate attention is needed for shift from flood irrigation method to micro irrigation methods which will not only ensures water efficiency but also government slogan “per drop more crop” .
    2.Inter linking of rivers tend to be boon as it solves thirst of water scarce areas.
    3.adoption of rain water harvesting and watershed management techniques will increases water availability for irrigation.

    4.ground water availability can be increased by afforestation, cutting power subsidies and introducing rewards and punishment for practicing water prudence.
    5.needed to investment in research related to ground water monitoring,weather forcasting,development of drought resistant less water crops.
    as india’s agriculture monsoon dependent which is irregular in nature it not only important but it is necessary need for conservation and sustainable usage of water as it is not inherited from our ancestors it is borrowed from our children.

  • Prashanth

    total rainfall of around 1,200 mm is more than world average of 990 mm but most of the rainfall occur in 4 months with wide variation spatially and temporally which requires proper management .
    Challenges for conserving water for irrigational uses : unsustainable use of water , no check dams to allow the water to penetrate .
    – evaporation losses
    – no proper linkages from canals to farms resulting in more wastage .
    – soil erosion resulting in reduced capacity of storage structures
    – seepage in to ground
    – not scientific cropping patterns resulting in more water usage .
    Measures needed to conserve water
    – Micro irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler irrigation
    – drought resistance varieties
    – research should be done to improve maturing periods of crops .
    – raised bed seed planting and furrow irrigation
    – system of rice intensification
    – construction of check bunds for water conservation
    – micro irrigation must be mae compulsory for water guzzling crops
    Above all measures , farmers should be made aware that water is a finite resource and economize in its use .

  • Udit Malik

    criticism welcome!

  • Irrigation accounts for about 83% usage of freshwater in India and there are multiple issues with conservation of water for irirgation:
    1. Lack of ample storage space due to shortage of capacity in forms of tanks, etc.
    2. Too much dependence on rainfall which is growing erratic due to effects of climate change. Anyways rainfall has a wide spatial variation.
    3. Use of water intensive crops due to Minimum support price regime like sugarcane, rice, etc in water deficient regions like South India.
    4. Lack of community awareness and participation towards conservation of water and aquifer recharge.
    5. Use of wasteful techniques of irirgation like flooisng the fields of water.
    Consrrvation of water becomes imperative since we have about 4% of world’s freshwate reosurces but 17% of population which needs food security and if it 51% is involved in agricultural occupations.

    Variouus messures can be taken to improve conservation of water for irrigation:
    A. Use of better irrigation techniques like microirrigation and sprinklers.
    B. Incentivising farmers to switch to drough resistant crops in drought prine areas and absndon water guzzling crops like paddy, sugarcane. Rice intensification can be used to double paddy yield with half of water reuqired.
    C. Enhancing community awarenes and participation for groundwater recharge. 22 March can be ised for campaigning.
    D. Develop srorage capacity and involve private sector for robust mnagament.
    E. Intrrlinking of rivers to trnasfer water from surplus to deficit zones for use and storage but viability and possibility of sucha project are questionable.
    F. Afforestation to stop run off and erosion.
    These steps wil ensure that indeed there is per drop, more crop as envisaged under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchaai Yojana. Besides, Accelereated Irrigation Benefit Program and Domman area Development need to be fast tracked.