India's groundwater crisis threatens food security - A study covered by CNN and AAAS

Meha Jain

 India's groundwater crisis threatens food security for hundreds of millions according to the research performed by LCLUC PI Dr. Meha Jain and her team. Groundwater depletion is becoming a global threat to food security, yet the ultimate impacts of depletion on agricultural production and the efficacy of available adaptation strategies remain poorly quantified. This research used the high-resolution satellite and census data from India, the world’s largest consumer of groundwater, to quantify the impacts of groundwater depletion on cropping intensity, a crucial driver of agricultural production. The results suggest that, given current depletion trends, cropping intensity may decrease by 20% nationwide and by 68% in groundwater-depleted regions. Even if surface irrigation delivery is increased as a supply-side adaptation strategy, which is being widely promoted by the Indian government, cropping intensity will decrease, become more vulnerable to interannual rainfall variability, and become more spatially uneven. We find that groundwater and canal irrigation are not substitutable and that additional adaptation strategies will be necessary to maintain current levels of production in the face of groundwater depletion. This research was covered in CNN and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the links are provided below.

Thursday, February 25, 2021