Specific Yield of Unconfined Aquifers in Revisiting Efficiency of Groundwater Usage in Agricultural Systems

  • Himanshu KulkarniEmail author
  • Uma Aslekar
  • Dhaval Joshi
Part of the Springer Hydrogeology book series (SPRINGERHYDRO)


Groundwater has been the backbone of water for agriculture in India. Millions of farmers depend on groundwater for sustaining their agricultural livelihood. Any discussion on groundwater would be incomplete without taking into consideration the resource unit i.e. aquifers. Aquifer storage capacity is not necessarily reflected in discussions on water use efficiency. Efficiency estimation in agricultural systems has centred on a crop-per-drop approach. We take up three traditional approaches to efficiency in the context of two case studies from western Maharashtra which are part of shallow unconfined Deccan basalt aquifer systems, viz. Pabal and Randullabad. We compare the efficiencies of these two aquifers and propose a more comprehensive methodology to address efficiency in groundwater-based agricultural systems taking into consideration the characteristics of aquifers, mainly the specific yield. Such an efficiency index is useful in gauging specific impacts from initiatives that include supply and demand-side interventions.


Groundwater Water use efficiency Aquifers Deccan basalts Specific yield Maharashtra 



Many of the results from the Pabal study were obtained during the research project that formed a collaboration between Savitribai Phule Pune University (erstwhile University of Pune) and British Geological Survey of which Himanshu Kulkarni was part. The Randullabad case study was part of the PGWM programme undertaken by ACWADAM with support from Arghyam Trust. All the institutions mentioned here and the associated team members are gratefully acknowledged. The concept and salient findings included in the paper were presented at Bhoojal Manthan organised by CGWB, MoWR, Government of India in August 2015. The authors are grateful for CGWB’s invitation to present the findings at Bhoojal Manthan.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM)PuneIndia

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