To what extent, the lopsided procurement system in the country is responsible for the groundwater crisis looming large in recent times? Explain.

Published: January 26, 2017

Ground water crisis is a severe concern for our country. Erratic rainfall of monsoons, intensive use of ground water for domestic and agricultural purpose are the factors responsible for it.
Highly variable rainfall, with the bursts of heavy rainfall coming after long dry spells are also not enough to recharge the ground water levels. Along with all that a lop sided procurement system of the country involving the the policy makers supporting the water intensive crops also is responsible for ground water depletion to a great extension.
(i) Green Revolution post independence has in particularly intensified the use of HYVs – High yielding varieties of seeds of food grains. The seeds being water intensive require regular irrigation, high amount of fertilizers and pesticides. the switching from leguminous and indigenous crops led to reduction in water table, reduction in soil quality and quantity.
(ii) the areas in which the crops are grown – Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana etc are regions of poor rainfall, and with constant crop cultivation and regular irrigation facilities further reduce the water table.
(iii) switch over to plantation crops (like sugarcane) in areas with low rainfall and drought prone further reduces the water table.
(iv) effect of climate change, El-nino further has impact on monsoon rains and dynamics of ground water table.
Way ahead-
i. switching over to sustainable agriculture practices (like micro irrigation practices, sprinklers etc, switching to leguminous plants and crop rotation practices etc)
ii. making policies to discourage water intensive crops  especially in places which are drought prone and lower water table levels.
iii. developing MSPs, procurement policies for crops other than foodgrains, which in turn encourage the farmers and give them incentive to produce varieties of crops.

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