Effects of High Groundwater Levels, Waterlogging and Salinity on Farm Economy
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The analysis thus far has shown that the major factors which have contributed towards high groundwater levels, waterlogging and salinization, are related to the main system’s operation activities and the poor maintenance, particularly, of the drainage networks, and to insufficient public investments in drainage systems. These factors either have pre-determined high water inputs at on-farm level, or have been the cause of agricultural effluents not being drained out of the area. In the analyzed institutional settings, i.e., the two public-farmer models, the farmers have no control over investment decisions, and the village-based Water User Groups had no influence on central management issues as they only technically assisted the state agency in operation and maintenance. The implementation of some groundwater and salinity control means are, however, within the scope of the farmers’ decision-making: the farmers could invest in supplementary on-farm drainage systems as it was expected by the state, and they could maintain the stateinstalled and owned on-farm drains, but they did not. The farmers control the use of water at on-farm level which shows poor application efficiencies due to poorly maintained land levelling, and improper irrigation and planting practices. As water charges have been assessed at levels to promote irrigation and the planting of specific crops, they could not function as an allocative device to save water. It is assumed here that the farmers respond in a rational economic fashion when they use ‘too much’ irrigation water, and when they substitute water for higher priced inputs such as labour and technology, because the water charges are area-crop based and not related to the amount of water used, and water savings do not make sense for the farmers.
KeywordsProject Area Cotton Yield Irrigation Project Water Charge High Groundwater Level
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