Despite the topic addresses water scarcity in agriculture, in some places like in the north Coast of Colombia climate change implies water excess during the rainy season, and deficit during the dry one. Under these conditions, the Zenu tribe developed an efficient way to deal and take advantage of water excess during the rainy season, and reduce water scarcity during the dry one. They created a network of canals perpendicular to the main rivers. This network was formed by long and short canals that reduced water speed during the rainy season and lead the water to lower areas where there were crops and where they kept fisheries. The water brought sediments that improved soils fertility. This system also allowed to convey water to areas far away from the main streams, and helped to keep them wet during the whole year. It is a shame I could not find many resources in English, however you can take a look at what they did in: https://vimeo.com/12811886
Contributions for Abordar la escasez de agua en la agricultura: ¿cómo ayudan las prácticas indígenas o tradicionales?
Indigenous people have been very smart and creational using scarce water resources. For instance, In Africa they have been using the buried clay pot irrigation (pitcher irrigation) even for field crops with very water use sufficiency. In Yemen, they use spit irrigation through water harvest, convey to agricultural fields and merging the clay soil surrounded by earth wall of 1 m elevation. Then water is conveyed to lower plots within the watershed. After water fully absorbed by the soil, farmers get two yields first with short rooted crop and second with deep rooting plant. I Syria and Lebanon, some farmers use alternate irrigation of rows with drip irrigation applying alternate deficit irrigation to save water. Agricultural research institutions can support these native practices by providing good productivity, drought resistant, seeds. With the development of biosaline agriculture, farmers in Gulf countries increasingly and successfully use salt tolerant feed and food crops and irrigate with seawater.
I will like to draw attentions to the use of vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides), a native Indian grass for addressing the water scarcity. This grass is commonly known as Khas-Khas, Khas or Khus and highly valued for its essential oil. It is highly valued among tribals for its medicinal values and is frequently used in aromatherapy. This grass can be cultivated for multiple issues of in situ soil and water conservation in agrarian land. Vetiver contour hedges in India on cropping land with 1.7 % slope is reported to reduce runoff, soil loss to a huge extent. This grass can tolerate extreme climatic variations like prolonged period of drought, flood, submergence and extreme temperature fluctuations from −14 to 55 °C. It is also tolerant of adverse soil conditions like soil acidity, salinity, sodicity and acid sulfate states. Vetiver leaves can serve as medium for mushroom cultivation. Handicrafts made from vetiver roots serves as sources of income for smallholder farmers of the Western Ghats, India. Moreover, vetiver curtains on windows serves as the traditional way to keep home cool during the scorching summer days and is still used in various parts of India. It keeps home cool and is claimed to be an alternative of air conditioner thereby saving energy.
Hence cultivation of this plant in a better planned way calls for an immediate attention.
Dr Amanullah left almost nothing for others to add. He has listed almost every possible intervention that we can think of for saving water in agriculture. I will mention couple of that may help us on both water saving and climate change.
1. Rethinking Farming Systems. Need to adapt our farm planning to the changing climate. Crops that need less water and can tolerate medium to long term droughts be made part of crop rotations. Like Sisal crop that many African countries are growing fore several decades is now also being Introduced in China and other Asian countries.
2. Rebuilding Soils. In most of the developing countries, organic matter in agricultural lands have declined to alarming levels. Improving farm biodiversity together with mulching, composting particularly vermi-composting can enhance water holding capacity of soils.
3. Redesigning Irrigation Methods. With declining supplies of irrigation water, it doesn't make sense to continue with irrigation methods like flood irrigation. Farmers have to develop indigenous, innovative and low cost more efficient irrigation systems.
Dr Shahid Zia
This is a very pertinent issue in the Southern African Region.
We are faced with new threats in the region:
Climate change- the patterns of rainfall have significantly changed, such that now we require food crops that are resistant to drought.
The loss of indigenous seed crop strains in favour of hybrids, has led to a loss of important source of seed for indigenous farmers.
These topics I would like us to explore in depth.
Benefits of Improving Ground Water Recharge
Wardha district is comprised of 1006 villages located in its eight blocks. The total population of Wardha district is 1.29 million (12,96,157); out of this, 4, 20,873 population (32.47%) lives in urban area, whereas 8,75,284 population (67.52 %) is inhabitant of rural areas. The total geographical area of Wardha district is 6309 sq km or 6,29,000 ha of land, of which 4,26,200 ha area is under cultivation. Around 3, 83,300 ha area is covered under Kharif season, while only 43,600 ha area is cultivated under Rabi season. The important crops like cotton, soya bean and pigeon pea (Tur) are raised during Kharif season, wheat and green gram during Rabi season and ground nut during the summer season.
Average rainfall of Wardha district is 1062 mm. The surface rain water runoff takes away fertile top soil and that leads to severe soil erosion. This enormous loss of soil adversely affects its fertility status and land use. About 10 % of the eroded material usually gets deposited in streams and rivers resulting in silting up of river beds and reservoirs, thereby reducing water flows, ground water recharge and water retention capacity of the soil. This, in turn, decreases the crop productivity, ultimately resulting into lower incomes to the farmers.
Measures like rejuvenation of rivers/streams, construction of check dams, percolation tanks, farm ponds, recharging of existing wells, promotion of group lift irrigation, group water lifting device, group wells, etc. along with soil & water conservation measures such as Nala plugging, construction of Gabion structures, farm bunds and contour bunds have been initiated by Kamalnayan Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation with an active participation of the local community. For efficient and judicious use of available water, drip and sprinkler irrigation systems have also been promoted along with less water intensive and short duration cash crops. Following are the few experiences shared by the farmers of the region.
The efforts were made by Kamalnayan Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation for improving productivity with creation of various rain water harvesting structures. Following are the few of the experiences shared by the farmers.
Mahadev Vithobaji Mate is a famer of village Kinhala of Deoli taluka. Most of the agriculture land ina the village is rainfed and the farmers are in loss due to low productivity in absence of irrigation facilities. He was convinced about the benefits of farm pond as discussed in the village level meetings conducted by KJBF. He constructed a farm pond of size 15m x 10m x 3m with a total storage volume of 450 m3. He established drip irrigation system on his farm to optimize the use of water available in the farm pond. He experienced substantial rise in the productivity of cotton and pigeon pea which improved his net earnings from Rs 39000 to Rs. 81500/-.
Diwakar Shankarrao Chavare is a farmer of village Andori of Deoli taluk. He has 3 acres of rainfed land and was cultivating crops during Kharif season only. With the creation of group well in 2010 with the support given by KJBF, he began to cultivate crops during Rabi season also, because of which his net earnings were enhanced from Rs. 16500 to Rs. 100500.
Babanraoji Yewale is a resident of Amangaon village of Seloo taluka. He has 5 acres of rainfed land and he was growing cotton and pigeon pea crops only. A percolation tank was constructed in the village by KJBF to improve the rate of recharge of ground water table. Babanraoji began to lift the water available in the percolation tank for irrigation. This has not only improved the productivity of crops but also the number of crops as he began to cultivate vegetables and wheat. As a result, his net earnings got increased from Rs.16700 to Rs.101400.
Anil Chintaman Itware is a farmer of Sujatpur village of Samudrapur taluk. He has 5 acres of land which was rainfed till 2014. In rainy season, the land used get water logged and he could not cultivate any crop during Kharif. On the other hand, he could not cultivate crops in Rabi season too due to lack of irrigation facility. In 2014, he was helped by KJBF to construct a recharge pit of size 22 ft diameter and 7 ft deep. As a result, he could now irrigate 2.5 acres of his farm in Kharif as well as Rabi which has improved his net earnings from loss to Rs.64900.
Avinash Shambhaji Lende is a farmer of village Andori of Deoli taluka. He has 3 acres of land and a farm well. He was not able to support the required irrigation to the Kharif crops and was also not able to raise Rabi crops due to less water availability in the farm well. In the year 2013, he was guided to have a well recharge pit to improve the water availability in the well. Due to this, the level of water in well got increased by 6 ft and he began to cultivate wheat on one acre of land. The productivity of Kharif crops also got improved as he could provide required number of irrigation cycles. Now, his net earnings have been raised from Rs.16000 to Rs.67000.
My experience in irrigation development has made me realize that the major problem that we have is with respect to issues of attitudes of communities. In Zimbabwe you can realize that the knowledge of what needs to be done with respect to saving water is there but the willingness to do so is not there. This has been the situation with years of failure to implement the water management policies at the expense of trying to improve some sections of the economy or the community. This was also evident in Mozambique there is evidence of significant knowledge on water management which needs to be improved. Instead of using unlined canals it would be wide to use piped systems that reduces the losses due to seepage and evaporation. The down side to the establishment of such efficient systems is lack of funding which will.always be a problem leading to most of the developments using low efficience systems yet improved knowledge is available that could increase resilience against climate change.
The following are important:
1. Growing crops which need less water
2. Increasing organic carbon or organic matter in soil using plant residues and animal manures
3. Dicouraging plantation of trees which take more water e.g. eucliptus
4. Decreasing land degradation especially decreasing erosion. Degraded land store less water than fertile lands.
5. Contouring on slope soils
7. Deep tillage in some areas increase water infiltration in the soil
8. Cover crops conserve soil moisture
9. Drip and sprinkler irrigation use less water than flood irrigation
10. Subsurface irrigation
11. Cleaning waste water
12. Use less water for cars cleaning
13. Use less water for animal's cleaning
14. Ridge and bed plantation use 50÷ less water than flat plantation
15. Cementing water channels
16. Removing weeds which transpire more
17. Big dams and small dams
18. Conservation of runoff water
19. Application of potassium in field crops
20. Use of benificial microbes in field crops production
Associate Professor of Agronomy The University of Agriculture Peshawar PAKISTAN
Here in East Timor (Timor-Leste) community still practices ritual ceremony and traditional knowledge when doing water conservation program.
Please see the link of video about water conservation in Ermera, East Timor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZUUK7tM7Fo
Also please my PowerPoint about water conservation in Ermera. www.ukm.my/lestari/ss2015/5_05032015_09.pdf
Hope this information is usufull for our discussion to bring up some indigenous knowledge on water conservation in the globe.
Founder and Executive Diretor of Permatil (Permaculture Timor-Lorosa'e)
les politiques ne ratent aucun slogan pour promettre le bien être aux administrés.
Depuis les prévisions météorologiques ,la gestion des forêts, la résilience au changement climatiques etc;;; sont des expériences politiques vécus dans les pays au sud du Sahara ou les Agriculteurs sont majoritaires et analphabètes;
Là-bas, ce n'est que l’inquiétude face au pénurie d'eau pour la consommation domestique d'abord et exacerbée par la rigueur des changements climatiques et la diminution des pluies grands pourvoyeurs de céréales:
Sous le soleil, nous avons tous les concepts du développement mais il reste à satisfaire le volet formation des producteurs dans les pays du Sud:
A cause de ce manquement nous optons pour le concept Agriculture Intellegente.
Dans le ce concept ,nous mesurons tous les dangers qui menacent la sécurité alimentaire et les solutions des bonnes pratiques à mettre en oeuvre pour réussir les politiques de Sécurité alimentaire.
Alliance du Sénégal