India?s water future to 2025?2050: Business-as-usual scenario and deviations (2007)

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This research report captures the trends of key drivers of India's water demand in the recent past, and assess their implications on future water demand and ultimately on water resources. Water demand of irrigation, domestic and industrial sectors is modeled for the years 2025 and 2050.

Projections on water and food demand and supply are made as follows:
  • total water demand will increase by 22% and 32% by 2025 and 2050 respectively from the present level of 680 billion cubic metres;
  • the industrial and domestic sectors will account for 85% of the additional demand by 2050;
  • the domination of groundwater inirrigation growth, along with higher irrigation efficiencies, will decrease the water demand for irrigation over the 2025–2050 period;
  • irrigation water is sufficient to meet most of the future food demand;
  • there will be a small production surplus of grain crops, and a small production deficit of non-grains crops;
  • overall, a small deficit of crop production of all crops by 2050 is predicted;
  • although future food demand can be met, the associated water use patterns will lead to a severe regional water crisis by 2050;
  • many river basins will reach closure, will be physically water-scarce and will have regions with severely overexploited groundwater resources.
The report concludes by discussing some policy implications of the findings. The authors argue that there is ample scope for reducing the water demand by reducing feed demand (through improving the milk productivity) and increasing water use efficiency in crop production. If this can be realized, the water requirement of the other sectors can be met from the existing water resources. For this to become a reality the following are necessary:
  • a combination of investments in extension and research, introduction of hybrid high-productive livestock and control of the unproductive cattle population growth;
  • research to identify regions with low and high crop yields, and low and high potential for increasing water use efficiency;
  • investments in small-scale structures that can enhance groundwater recharge in locations where there are no adverse impacts on downstream users, and abstraction of groundwater in areas where it is abundantly available;
  • exploration of micro-irrigation technologies for increasing water use efficiency, and reducing over abstraction;
  • spreading water saving technologies through investment promotions.


     
 
Language: English
Imprint: International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/Publications/IWMI_Research_Reports/PDF/PUB123/RR123.pdf 2007
Series: Report,
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