Improving Water Use Efficiency

This will be taken up under three different water scenarios. The aims and guiding principles vary between water sources, i.e. canal (or surface) water, groundwater and watershed.

 1. Canal irrigated clusters: The objective under canal irrigated clusters supported under the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of agriculture water savings for use outside of the agriculture sector. Canal irrigated areas, with typically low water use efficiencies and outdated irrigation management practices, are the only areas within Rajasthan where major saving water are potentially possible for diversion to other, non-agricultural water uses, through appropriate system improvements, adoption of modern management practices/instruments, and appropriate policy interventions. In case of canal irrigated clusters, therefore, the focus will be to reduce the water foot print in agriculture (without reducing the present area under irrigation or the cropping intensity/farmers income) through improving the water use efficiencies at all levels of the system, and using the water thus saved to other sectors of water uses (such as drinking water).

2. Ground water clusters: The aim over time is to achieve sustainability of groundwater sources (i.e. aquifers) selected and supported under the project. Achieving sustainability of groundwater sources is envisaged to take place through community-based approaches with public support striving to reach a situation over a meaningful period of time in 38 which the annual water extraction from the aquifer is limited to the annual ground water recharge.

3. Watershed clusters: The aim over time is to achieve hydrological balance for water users across the watershed. This requires the use of water management practices that ensures that downstream watershed users are not adversely affected by future upstream water management practices. 

            Activities supported under this sub-component for the three water scenarios with a view to promote sustainable water use for agriculture, and improved water use efficiency are briefly given below. Typically, across the three water scenario the project would support a package of institutional, physical, and improved water management related activities. Thus, in irrigated canal command areas, where the basic unit of operation will be an irrigation system under the operational area of the existing Water User Organizations (WUOs), the project would support the fostering and capacity building of water users organizations, irrigation system rehabilitation and modernization including installation of measuring devises, improved design of diggi2 , and improved water management practices, including conjunctive use of surface and ground water. In ground water irrigation areas, where the unit of operation will be the ground water aquifer, the project would support community management of ground water resources through community water user groups that will undertake assessment of water availability and allocation of water resources through aquifer level ground water utilization planning. Activities to be supported under this would include formation and capacity building of village and aquifer level community organizations, construction of rain gauge stations, construction of recharge structures and piezometers, and installation of water meters. In watershed areas, where the unit of operation will be the watershed, the project would support formation and capacity building of village and watershed level community organizations, installations of runoff recorders, sediment samplers, automatic rain gauges, construction of drop spill ways, anicuts (check dam), waste water weirs, vegetative barriers and farm ponds. Across all three water resource scenarios the project will also support promotion of on-farm water use efficiency improvement measures, including diggies, farm ponds and drip and sprinkler irrigation, bench-marking and water auditing, and complimentary agriculture support services. Matching grant financing will be provided for development plans proposed, developed and implemented by the respective farmer groups which in turn will be responsible for mobilizing their contribution either in cash or in-kind or both. Specific arrangements are given in the Project Implementation Plan and associated operational manual