Technological interventions have a critical role in addressing issues of water security at the grassroots level. They can not only bring significant improvement in water use efficiency but also enhance access to water in difficult geographies. The interventions have been proven excellent in irrigation planning, reducing wastage of water and energy, and improving water use efficiency.
In Punjab, for instance, a simple precision technology called Tensiometer helped farmers to know the accurate soil moisture content, enabling them to plan their irrigation cycles efficiently, thus reducing water and energy use in agriculture.
Similarly, the use of real-time data to develop crop advisories helped farmers in rainfed agricultural zones of Maharashtra to be better prepared for weather uncertainties and manage their farm operations accordingly, resulting in optimizing yields. The lessons from this approach can help in addressing challenges of monsoon uncertainties, more relevant now due to climate change.
There are several stories on farmer-friendly low – cost technologies which have shown remarkable results at farmers’ fields. For example, the Direct Seeding of Rice reduced monsoon dependency and improved yields. The successful use of treadle pumps (a kind of water lifting devices) proved incredibly beneficial for small and marginal farmers in improving access to water.
Its widespread application in seven states indicates the potential of this simple device in other regions as well. There are also stories on customization in micro-irrigation technologies like sprinkler and drip – systems based on local contexts and needs. These were designed to cater to different plot sizes prevalent mostly among small landholders. Use of pumps, coupled with drip irrigation, has reduced water and energy footprint for agriculture in Karnataka.
For the widespread application, it is important that the technology is appropriate, affordable, accessible and equitable. Its application should be simple and sustainable, with minimum operation and maintenance requirements. One useful insight provided here, is, along with the accuracy and usefulness of the technology it is equally important to create appropriate social mechanisms for technology adoption in the long term.
This entails participation and ownership of the community as well as other stakeholders such as technical agencies, agricultural institutions, civil society organizations and funding agencies.
In the next few posts, we’ll be sharing the details of the above-mentioned interventions extensively.
Hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed putting this work together!