Managing Drought: Prof M S Swaminathan

Chennai, January 03, 2017: Media reports are presenting a rather grim picture of water insecurity in Tamil Nadu during the coming months. The Northeast monsoon which is the main monsoon for Tamil Nadu has been poor. Even a normally water rich state like Kerala is in difficulty. How can the state government develop a water security system both for agriculture and domestic consumption? I would like to divide the strategy into three main parts:

  1. Supply augmentation –the available water sources will have to be harnessed in the most economical and efficient manner. The major sources are rainfall, groundwater, river and lake water, recycled sewage water and sea water which constitutes 97% of the total water availability. MSSRF has developed procedures for supply augmentation like efficient rainwater harvesting and the establishment of a genetic garden of halophytes to promote sea water farming. 
    2. The second aspect relates to demand management – the procedures for demand management include the adoption of water efficient technologies like drip irrigation, and System of Rice Intensification (SRI). 
    3. Peri-urban agriculture/horticulture offersgreat scope for producing fruits and vegetables with small quantities of water. Peri-urban agriculture usually tends to include high value but low water requiring crops including pulses and oilseeds. 

Where there is a problem there is also a solution. In the case of water shortage, we should grab the available opportunities for ensuring the availability of the minimum quantity of water necessary for maximising production and promoting nutrition security.

(Pic credit: The Indian Express)