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White Paper Release: Addressing the Water Crisis in Gujarat, India

In honor of World Water Day,  Columbia Water Center is releasing a new White Paper: Addressing the Water Crisis in Gujarat, India.  The paper presents the results of Columbia Water Center’s study of the severe groundwater crisis in the Mehsana region of Northern Gujarat, India. The study concludes that the current pattern of groundwater exploitation is both costly for the state and unsustainable for farmers, and could lead to the complete failure of agriculture in the area within a few years if left unchecked.

The study draws on the work of CWC and local partners, including Uttar Gujarat Vij Company (the local public power utility), and the Taleem Research Foundation.

We found that in addition to dangerously lowering the water table, the use of subsidized energy to pump groundwater from increasing depths makes irrigation for food crops economically unsustainable for both farmers and the government of Gujarat.

Here is an excerpt from the report: “At depths from which groundwater is currently extracted, tubewell irrigated agriculture as practiced today is probably not financially viable. If farmers had to pay for the energy used, they would find it unprofitable to engage in agriculture. It is estimated for the study region that the utility provides about 10,000 kWh of electricity per hectare over the year, worth about Rs 40,000 per hectare. (By contrast, the average kWh per hectare for India as a whole is 1,600 kWh per hectare).”

Download the White Paper pdf here.

Read about Columbia Water Center’s project to address the crisis discussed in the White Paper here.

Read a previous blog post with project updates:  Finding Answers to the Worsening Water Crisis in Gujarat, India

Contact us to obtain a printed copy of the White Paper.

Columbia Water Center demonstrates research-based solutions to global freshwater scarcity.  Follow Columbia Water Center on Facebook and Twitter

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