Sustainable use of groundwater for irrigated agriculture: A case study of Punjab, Pakistan

Ghulam Hassan, Faiz Raza Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Irrigated agriculture in Pakistan contributes 22% to GDP, 66% to foreign exchange, over 90% to food production, employs 45% of country’s labor force and ranks the country as 8th largest food producer in the world. Nature has blessed Pakistan with plenty of water resources and specially a large groundwater reservoir of more than 300 m depth. Pakistan is 4th largest user of groundwater after India, USA & China. In Punjab Province, 40 MAF of groundwater are being extracted through 1.2 million tube-wells annually. Groundwater is contributing about 45% crop-water requirements and thus has gained the vital potential in irrigated agriculture. Besides irrigation uses groundwater is the major source of drinking, industrial and commercial requirements and has boosted up the cropping intensity from 60% in 1947 to 160-170% in 2015 to meet ever increasing demand of food and fiber. A monitoring network of about 3000 piezometers has been installed to observe the groundwater potential (quantity and quality) in the Province at grid of 6x6 km. Data so observed since 2006 have been analyzed using latest tools of groundwater modeling and GIS. Under recent study some recommendations have been formulated for sustainable use of groundwater for irrigated agriculture. It has been observed that over all groundwater reservoir is depleting, quality of groundwater is deteriorating reducing the crop yields and fertile land and major source of groundwater recharge is seepage from canal network. Recharge of aquifer using flood water and rainfall harvesting are two major structural interventions for sustainable use of groundwater.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-480
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Water
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable use of groundwater for irrigated agriculture: A case study of Punjab, Pakistan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this