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Experimenting with alternative approaches to water resources allocation increases yields in Andra Pradesh, India

In Andra Pradesh, India, experiments growing paddy rice with a minimum amount of water during dry years has resulted in an overall reduction of water demand by farmers. Traditionally, no crops are grown in the irrigation tank command areas before the tanks are half-full of water, which usually happens towards the end of August. This is in spite of the fact that enough soil moisture would be available in the command areas earlier. Experimentation with early deep seeding and weeding in June demonstrated that under specific conditions a crop can be grown with considerably less water. The experience has important implications for management of the command area during dry years when not enough water would be available in the tanks and reservoirs. Using the new technique allows the entire command area to receive supplemented irrigation during the critical flowering and yield formation periods. Experiments carried out during a drought showed that though the yields per hectare would decrease by about 10 percent, the total yield in the command area would increase by as much as 50%. These types of experiments will need further support if societies are to adapt to changes in the hydrological cycle due to climate change. http://www.waterandnature.org/pub/Brochure-UICN-Change.pdf

Bergkamp, G., B. Orlando and I. Burton, 2003: Change: adaptation of water resources management to climate change. IUCN and Water and Nature Initiative, p. 57.

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