India needs to promote agricultural practices that need less water for crop cultivation and give thrust to water conservation and harvesting over the next one decade to avert crisis of shortage, according to an eminent scientist. Calling for a holistic approach towards water conservation, including recharging of structures, the former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, K Kasturirangan said agriculture in India, particularly paddy cultivation, consumes substantial amount of water. “There are agricultural practices that are coming up now which needs much less water,” the former Rajya Sabha member told PTI.
“There are methods that are scientifically coming up where water requirements for agriculture is slowly brought down. We need to bring it down. It’s an important area,” the winner of civilian honour Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan said.
The former member (Science) of the now-defunct Planning Commission said rainfall in the coming years is likely to be “highly skewed”.
“So, water precipitation will not be uniform across the country. Therefore you need strategies where, whenever you get excess rainfall in any place, you should have method to managing that,” Kasturirangan said.
“There has to be strategies to harvest it, keeping it with limited amount of evaporation,” he said.
There are systems to conserve water not just now but also in ancient times, and “we need to bring them up”, Kasturirangan said. “There has to be something holistic about the way we want to manage our water”.
Noting that Indian subcontinent receives fairly good amount of rainfall, he said: “What is more important is how well we are able to manage this water by creating the right type of management system, conservation, preservation, optimal use of water and reducing the water for agriculture.”
“These are some of the things that has to be brought into the picture in the coming five to 10 years so that this (water shortage) will not become a crisis for the country,” Kasturirangan added.