Co-optimizing solutions in water and agriculture lessons from India for water security

Updated : October 2020


  • Textile fiber cultivation professional
  • Textile industry sustainability professionals
India is amongst those with the most fragile water resources across the world. The serious impact of this stress was evident in early 2016 when 300 million Indians faced severe water shortages following two consecutive seasons of weak monsoons. This study outlines interventions on water efficiency and their impacts on productivity and other co-benefits. The study contends that the implementation of “smart” solutions is a need as well as an opportunity. Finally, it outlines different avenues for the application of these solutions and suggests a means of collaboration for businesses, policy-makers, and other stakeholders. The solutions focused in the report include smart crop management, mixed farming systems, better blue, and green water management, efficient farm operations and mechanization, energy efficiency, and GHG reduction. For each of these solutions, specific case studies have been outlined including their geographic spread and impact defined in a specific period. The solutions described in this report have the potential to help farming become more effective in the use of input resources to get the best value by bridging the yield gaps, smart-crop management, and crop-specific sustainable cropping systems, protect and restore ecological and societal capital, for example, by recharging water through integrated watershed management and generating higher farmer incomes through agroforestry. Each solution described in this report delivers value to the business and the farming community, paving the way for a more resilient future.

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