ICRISAT and GSDA Forge Partnership for Agricultural Water Conservation in Maharashtra, India

This initiative will directly benefit more than 3000 farming families covering 10,000 ha with a population of more than 13,000 across seven districts viz., Satara, Solapur, Pune, Latur, Jalna, Nasik and Nagpur.

WD News: The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency (GSDA), and the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Government of Maharashtra have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to work together on groundwater augmentation across seven districts in Maharashtra using a landscape approach.

This collaborative initiative titled ‘Water budget based NRM planning and groundwater recharge’ uses a landscape approach for groundwater augmentation. The initiative is mapped to Atal Bhujal Yojana, a flagship program of Government of India. Its large-scale indirect benefits include various ecosystem services and strengthening the capacity of various stakeholders.

This initiative is unique as it surpasses mere water conservation efforts by aiming to transform dryland agri-food systems through an integrated systems approach at the landscape level. Spanning the entire value chain, from seed to market, this approach capitalises on the core strengths of ICRISAT across its three global research programs.

Chintamani Joshi (IAS), Commissioner of GSDA, emphasised on the pressing need to enhance agriculture water use efficiency and conserve vital groundwater resources. “This agreement aims to fulfil the needs and requirements of farmers. In the face of climate uncertainties and excessive groundwater extraction, this partnership will usher in a new era in dryland agriculture in Maharashtra,” said Joshi.

Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT, conveyed her delight in working together with the Government of Maharashtra, “With ICRISAT’s decades of experience and expertise in agricultural water management, we are committed to making a positive impact on the lives of farmers and the environment.”

Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research at ICRISAT said, “We eagerly anticipate close collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra in the field of water conservation and the establishment of learning sites in the seven districts.”

Source & image courtesy: ICRISAT

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