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Title: Invisible water, visible impact: groundwater use and Indian agriculture under climate change

Abstract

India is one of the world's largest food producers, making the sustainability of its agricultural system of global significance. Groundwater irrigation underpins India's agriculture, currently boosting crop production by enough to feed 170 million people. Groundwater overexploitation has led to drastic declines in groundwater levels, threatening to push this vital resource out of reach for millions of small-scale farmers who are the backbone of India's food security. Historically, losing access to groundwater has decreased agricultural production and increased poverty. We take a multidisciplinary approach to assess climate change challenges facing India's agricultural system, and to assess the effectiveness of large-scale water infrastructure projects designed to meet these challenges. We find that even in areas that experience climate change induced precipitation increases, expansion of irrigated agriculture will require increasing amounts of unsustainable groundwater. Finally, the large proposed national river linking project has limited capacity to alleviate groundwater stress. Thus, without intervention, poverty and food insecurity in rural India is likely to worsen.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States). Dept of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education
  2. Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH (United States). Inst. for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
  3. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States). Earth and Environmental Systems Inst.
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Stanford Univ., CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1436294
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0005171
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; groundwater; climate change; Indian monsoon; food security; inter-basin water transfers

Citation Formats

Zaveri, Esha, Grogan, Danielle S., Fisher-Vanden, Karen, Frolking, Steve, Lammers, Richard B., Wrenn, Douglas H., Prusevich, Alexander, and Nicholas, Robert E.. Invisible water, visible impact: groundwater use and Indian agriculture under climate change. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/8/084005.
Zaveri, Esha, Grogan, Danielle S., Fisher-Vanden, Karen, Frolking, Steve, Lammers, Richard B., Wrenn, Douglas H., Prusevich, Alexander, & Nicholas, Robert E.. Invisible water, visible impact: groundwater use and Indian agriculture under climate change. United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/8/084005.
Zaveri, Esha, Grogan, Danielle S., Fisher-Vanden, Karen, Frolking, Steve, Lammers, Richard B., Wrenn, Douglas H., Prusevich, Alexander, and Nicholas, Robert E.. Wed . "Invisible water, visible impact: groundwater use and Indian agriculture under climate change". United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/8/084005. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1436294.
@article{osti_1436294,
title = {Invisible water, visible impact: groundwater use and Indian agriculture under climate change},
author = {Zaveri, Esha and Grogan, Danielle S. and Fisher-Vanden, Karen and Frolking, Steve and Lammers, Richard B. and Wrenn, Douglas H. and Prusevich, Alexander and Nicholas, Robert E.},
abstractNote = {India is one of the world's largest food producers, making the sustainability of its agricultural system of global significance. Groundwater irrigation underpins India's agriculture, currently boosting crop production by enough to feed 170 million people. Groundwater overexploitation has led to drastic declines in groundwater levels, threatening to push this vital resource out of reach for millions of small-scale farmers who are the backbone of India's food security. Historically, losing access to groundwater has decreased agricultural production and increased poverty. We take a multidisciplinary approach to assess climate change challenges facing India's agricultural system, and to assess the effectiveness of large-scale water infrastructure projects designed to meet these challenges. We find that even in areas that experience climate change induced precipitation increases, expansion of irrigated agriculture will require increasing amounts of unsustainable groundwater. Finally, the large proposed national river linking project has limited capacity to alleviate groundwater stress. Thus, without intervention, poverty and food insecurity in rural India is likely to worsen.},
doi = {10.1088/1748-9326/11/8/084005},
journal = {Environmental Research Letters},
number = 8,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Aug 03 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Wed Aug 03 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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  • Asked to contribute to this special issue of Climatic Change, just as it is an honor to have served on the journal’s Editorial Board since, it seems, time immemorial (1983, actually). This issue celebrates the journal’s having published a full 100 volumes—this in the relatively short time-span since its founding in 1975. I take pleasure in being able to claim guest editorship or co-editorship of fully five percent of these 100 volumes.
  • This paper considers the effect of several key parameters of low carbon energy technologies on the cost of abatement. A methodology for determining the minimum level of performance required for a parameter to have a statistically significant impact on CO2 abatement cost is developed and used to evaluate the impact of eight key parameters of low carbon energy supply technologies on the cost of CO2 abatement. The capital cost of nuclear technology is found to have the greatest impact of the parameters studied. The cost of biomass and CCS technologies also have impacts, while their efficiencies have little, if any.more » Sensitivity analysis of the results with respect to population, GDP, and CO2 emission constraint show that the minimum performance level and impact of nuclear technologies is consistent across the socioeconomic scenarios studied, while the other technology parameters show different performance under higher population, lower GDP scenarios. Solar technology was found to have a small impact, and then only at very low costs. These results indicate that the cost of nuclear is the single most important driver of abatement cost, and that trading efficiency for cost may make biomass and CCS technologies more competitive.« less
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