Friday, 5 February 15:00 – 17:00 IST / 10:30 -12:30 CET
The IWMI-led Solar Irrigation for Agricultural Resilience (SoLAR) project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is organizing a series of six webinars between 1-5 February 2021. SoLAR project aims to generate knowledge to sustainably manage water-energy and climate interlinkages through the promotion of solar irrigation pumps (SIPs). The goal of the project is to contribute to climate-resilient, gender-equitable, and socially inclusive agrarian livelihoods in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan by supporting government efforts to promote solar irrigation.
Achieving progress in poverty reduction with minimal carbon emission is at the core of the climate and sustainability challenge. This need is particularly acute in South Asia, where further expansion of irrigation holds the promise of pulling smallholders out of poverty, but will also result in large increases in carbon emissions due to overwhelming dependence on fossil fuel-based groundwater pumping. SIPs offer a “climate resilient” solution, yet adoption is slow. Little is also known about the impact of SIPs on groundwater use. In this six-part SDC-IWMI webinar series, we will explore some of these larger questions around energy transition and SIPs in four South Asian countries.
The webinars will be 1.5 hour to 2-hour online events, and will involve speakers from all four countries, as well as speakers from outside the region and will be open to the general public.
Webinar 6: Will solar irrigation deepen the groundwater crisis in South Asia?
In Webinar 6, the final of the series, we will discuss ways of managing SIP programs and policies in ways that avoid leading to groundwater over-exploitation.
South Asia is the world’s largest user of groundwater. Groundwater irrigation has been critical to agricultural production in the region and its depletion in parts of South Asia is a threat to future food security in South Asia. Climate change is further expected to affect recharge through increasing variability in rainfall. Intensive groundwater irrigation in the region has been largely farmer-led, who in turn benefitted from state policies like subsidized electricity and credit. Studies have shown that energy price plays an important role in determining farmers’ pumping behavior. Farmers who face lower marginal costs of pumping tend to pump more intensively than farmers who face a higher marginal cost. While up-front costs of solar irrigation pumps (SIPs) are high, running costs is virtually zero and this gives rise to the widespread apprehension that SIPs may promote groundwater over-exploitation, especially in groundwater scarce parts of South Asia. What is the current state of evidence on impact of SIPs on groundwater pumping? Is groundwater over-exploitation a concern everywhere in the region? Is it inevitable that SIPs will lead to groundwater over-exploitation, or is it possible to design SIP programs in ways that provides incentives to farmers to reduce groundwater pumping? What would make or break such incentive programs? In the 6th and final webinar of the SoLAR webinar series, speakers will reflect on these questions.
Moderator: Dr. Alok Sikka, IWMI, India
Speakers and Topics:
- Current state of groundwater crisis in India and what can we do about it? Dr. Veena Srinivasan, ATREE, India
- Impact of climate change on groundwater and India’s agriculture: Dr. Meha Jain, University of Michigan, USA
- Measuring groundwater use through electricity usage: A case study from China: Dr. Wolfgang Kinzelbach, ETH Zurich
- Groundwater usage among electric and diesel farmers, and implications for SIPs in Bangladesh: Dr. Mainuddin Mohammad, CSIRO, Australia
- Dr. Tushaar Shah, IWMI, India
- Dr. Anwar Zahid, BWDB, Bangladesh
- Ms. Simi Kamal, Pakistan
Concluding remarks and vote of thanks
- Ms. Divya Kashyap, SDC, India office
- Dr. Aditi Mukherji, IWMI India
Register here on Zoom for Webinar 6
More information on the SoLAR webinar series here