Socioeconomic analysis of water use efficiency and farmers adaptation measures for improving irrigation practices: Mid-term review report (ACIAR Project LWR/2015/036): Improving Groundwater Management to Enhance Agriculture and Farming Livelihoods in Pakistan

Richard Culas, Muhammad Ali Imran, Asghar Ali, Muhammad Ashfaq, Jay Punthakey

Research output: Book/ReportResearch report not released to public

Abstract

Water security is essential for the agricultural sector, which uses 70% of water resources worldwide (Taylor, 2009). In Pakistan, around 95% of the national consumption of water is on agriculture, which represents 22% of the country Gross Domestic Product and 45% of employment sector (Malekian et al., 2016). Population growth, decline of available groundwater resources, and salinization problems deteriorate the productive nature of the agricultural land, which in turn threatens the farming livelihoods (Clarke, 1993). The agricultural sector in Pakistan was given a monumental boost after the advent of the Green Revolution as it led to the introduction of improved crop varieties, streamlined the provision of irrigation water and heralded the extensive use of fertilizers and chemicals. However, since the 1960s and 1970s, due to the prevalence of unsustainable farming practices and the inefficient use of the given resources, agricultural sector has fallen into a state of disarray, undermining the gains which were previously made. Presently, Pakistan is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and also subject to increasing levels of food and water insecurity which can adversely impact those who are already economically deprived marginalized in society. Thus, given the vitally monumental role of agriculture in Pakistan, it is imperative to gauge the threats being faced by this sector and consequently devise efficacious strategies to mitigate these challenges (Government of Pakistan, 2018). The challenges in the efficient use of resources in agriculture such as groundwater resources requires an integrated approach to enhance agricultural productivity and improve farming livelihoods. There is considerable potential to improve groundwater management practices to enhance crop production and improve farming livelihoods. The continuous decline of groundwater levels observed throughout the Indus Basin points to imbalance between abstraction and recharge (Ashfaq and Ashraf, 2006; Ashfaq et al., 2006). Hence innovative management strategies are needed to enhance groundwater supply and manage demand more effectively. This report therefore presents the progress towards achieving innovative management strategies as part of the ACIAR project LWR036. This report is organized as follows. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the agricultural sector in Pakistan and major crops grown. Chapter 3 reviews the groundwater status and irrigation management. Chapter 4 is followed by related governance issues in groundwater management. Water and energy nexus and prospects for solar powered irrigations are discussed in Chapter 5. The economic concepts related to water use in irrigated agriculture is presented in Chapter 6. Research design and the methods for analysing the data collected from household surveys are detailed in Chapter 7.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyAustralian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Number of pages92
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Grant Number

  • LWR/2015/036

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