Indian, American agricultural scientists discuss water management strategies

November 14th, 2007 - 1:52 am ICT by admin  
A sharp increase in the dependence on groundwater, both for irrigation and human consumption is a threat to the ecology.

Indian agricultural scientists were joined by their American counterparts recently at the Punjab Agricultural University to discuss ‘Water Management Strategies for Food Security and Environment Quality’.

Professor Rattan Lal, Soil Sciences, The Ohio State University, USA said: “Food production in India and the world has to be almost double in the next 25 to 30 years, and our water resources will not be adequate. India has 1.15 billion people and it is expected to increase at 1.6 billion by 2050. Most of that increase is going to happen by urbanisation and as the urban centres increase there is going to be a lot of demand for water,”

“India and China are growing at the rate of 8 to 11 percent every year and water which is now being used for agriculture will be diverted to urban and industrial use. So, there is a tremendous competition for water,” Lal added.

Walter T Bowen from the University of Florida said: “Many people are concerned in the western part of the plains regarding the tendency of ground water supply. So I am here to identify how educational institutions and research institutions work together with Indian partners.”

Besides, the water problem, Bowen said that we need to concentrate on soil problems like erosion, lost of organic matter and carbon.

“So, we need to concentrate on the need for quality of soil. The most important step in improving water quality is to improve soil quality,” he added.

The meeting, which was attended by academicians from six American universities and officials of the United States Department of Agriculture, was the outcome of a programme launched jointly by US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Under the Agricultural Knowledge Initiate projects, many strategies were discussed regarding feasibility of using waste water and brackish water for irrigation.

As many parts of the world are facing an acute ground water shortage, it has become imperative to be united to guarantee a `safe’ and `secure’ future. By Karan Kapoor (ANI)

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