Climate change

Humans more responsible for groundwater depletion than climate change: ICRISAT

Hyderabad: Humans are more responsible for groundwater depletion than climate change, a study by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) found on Saturday.

According to the ICRISAT report, cultivation of water-intensive crops in Himayat Sagar watersheds decreases rainfall due to overuse of groundwater.

“We have observed that nearly 50% of the water collected by hydrological structures contributes to increasing groundwater recharge. However, the expansion of crop area using groundwater for irrigation has depleted stream flow and groundwater storage in the Himayat Sagar catchment,” the ICRISAT report states. .

With the help of state government organizations, ICRISAT researchers studied historical data on climatic land use, watershed structures and groundwater levels and conducted field surveys on the use of groundwater for different cropping systems during the rainy (Kharif) and post-rainy (rabi) seasons. .

A farmer prepares the land for the cropping season in the Himayat Sagar watershed

The results argued for better governance of water resources sustainability, especially in semi-arid regions where there is a steady decline despite an increase or no change in rainfall. The data was analyzed using an integrated hydrological model called a modified Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT).

The ICRISAT study also explored the future impact of potential climate and watershed changes on stream flow and groundwater storage in the Himayat Sagar basin.

The study indicates that Telangana would experience a sharp increase in rainfall in September instead of August by the end of the century in light of rising temperatures (0.6 degrees to 0.9 degrees Celsius every 30 years) and climate change.

“But despite an increase in precipitation, a decrease in river flow is expected,” says the ICRISAT study, finding that human activities will have more impact on groundwater levels. as climate change (rain and rising and falling temperatures).

A hydrologist at the ICRISAT Development Center (IDC), Dr. Rajesh Nune, insists on a water resources management policy for the administration of village reservoirs, especially during dry years.

The report mentions the state government’s Mission Kakatiya program and states under it can control flood damage.

“As part of the “Mission Kakatiya” program, the reservoirs in the village have been de-sanded, rejuvenated and connected to the drainage network. According to the model’s predictions, this mitigation strategy captures excess runoff, improves groundwater recharge for upstream users, and helps control flood damage to downstream users during rainfall events. high intensity,” the report said.

According to Dr. Nune, ICRISAT’s modeling was designed to inform better public policy leading to better management of natural resources and increased agricultural productivity.

“The analytical framework used by ICRISAT will help policymakers take appropriate measures to monitor the cultivation of water-intensive crops (rice, sugar cane, maize, etc.) and guide farmers to diversify their crops. while ensuring efficient use of water resources in their region. ,” he mentioned.