Farmers' irrigation practices to satisfy crop water requirement under canal water scarcity

Muhammad Asghar, R Wahaj, L Vincent, A R Khan

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

In most of the (semi-) arid irrigated agricultural areas around the world, the increasing demand of food and fiber has resulted, not only, in the increased cropping intensities but also the cropping patterns have changed. This is particularly true in vast and growing regions, like the Ganga-Meghana-Brahmaputra basin in South Asia, the Indus basin of Pakistan, and areas of Vietnam, Laos and South China. This demand-oriented change in irrigated agriculture sector, created a gap between demand and supply of canal water. Farmers increase their water supplies with groundwater to overcome this canal water scarcity, and this paper identifies factors that can promote equitable sharing of groundwater resources for improving production of irrigated agricultural areas where canal water is scarce. For this study, six watercourses were selected in the command of Chishtian sub-division of the Fordwah Irrigation System in southeastern Punjab, Pakistan. Relevant data were collected for two crop seasons: Kharif 1997 (summer season), and Rabi 1997-98 (winter season). Results indicate that groundwater provides a reliable water source to the farmers. However, groundwater is generally used to supplement canal supplies and not as the main source. This is because, when compared to canal water, groundwater quality is generally marginal for irrigation purposes, and cost is higher. Therefore, farmers' cropping intensities decisions are based on the canal water supplies, and groundwater is used only during peak demand, but it makes a significant contribution in enhancing agricultural productivity. Although, groundwater use enhances production of irrigated agriculture in the area, there is a production gap between farmers who purchase groundwater and those who have direct access to tubewell water. Among purchasers, 97% of the farmers have medium landholdings. Therefore, policies to encourage groundwater markets should target medium size farmers because these farmers are more likebuy a tubewell than farmers with small landholdings, and they are more likely to sell tubewell water than large farmers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNational Symposium on Drought and Water Resources in Pakistan
EditorsM.M. Saeed, M. Latif
Place of PublicationPakistan
PublisherCEWRE
Pages81-97
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2002
EventNational Symposium on Drought and Water Resources in Pakistan - Lahore, Pakistan, Pakistan
Duration: 18 Mar 2002 → …

Conference

ConferenceNational Symposium on Drought and Water Resources in Pakistan
CountryPakistan
Period18/03/02 → …

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  • Cite this

    Asghar, M., Wahaj, R., Vincent, L., & Khan, A. R. (2002). Farmers' irrigation practices to satisfy crop water requirement under canal water scarcity. In M. M. Saeed, & M. Latif (Eds.), National Symposium on Drought and Water Resources in Pakistan (pp. 81-97). CEWRE.