Bio-drainage as successful models for combating water logging in canal commands – Some case studieswca2014-2367 J C Dagar 1Jeet Ram 2S K Chaudhari 1Rajbir Singh 3,* 1Division of Soil and Crop Management, CSSRI, 2Forest Department, Government of Haryana, Karnal, 3Natural Resource Management Division, ICAR, New Delhi, India
Irrigated agriculture covering about 17% of the total cropped area of the world contributes 40% of the total food production. In India also, about one-third area under irrigation produces two-third of the food grains. During last 50 years, the net irrigation potential has increased from 95 million hectare (Mha) to 260 Mha in the world and from 22.5 Mha to 62 Mha in India. Expansion of irrigation in the past provided large dividends in terms of increased food production and nutritional security. However, introduction of canal irrigation in arid and semi arid regions without provision of adequate drainage causes rise in water-table leading to waterlogging and secondary salinisation. To combat such situation, biodraiage offers practical solution in such agro-ecologies. Presently, about one-third of the world’s irrigated area faces the threat of waterlogging, about 60 Mha is already waterlogged and 20Mha is salt affected. In the predominantly agricultural state of Haryana, nearly 50% area faces rising water-table and salinity problems and about 10% area (0.44 Mha) has already become waterlogged resulting in reduced crop yields, low profits and abandonment of agriculture lands. Many scientific studies have been conducted in different districts on Haryana under abandoned waterlogged degardaed land indicated that trees like Eucalyptus hybrid, Eucalyptus tereticornis C-10, Eucalyptus tereticornis C-130 and Prosopis juliflora can be categorized as fast biodrainers. Eucalyptus tereticornis C-3, Callistemon lanceolatus and Melia azedarach fall in the category of medium biodrainers whereas Terminalia arjuna and Pongamia pinnata are slow biodrainers. Strip plantation of trees on such models of agroforestry system raised on farmer’s field bunds lowers saline water table and such depression was found to the maximum magnitude beneath strips of Eucalyptus species (80-97 mm), Prosopis juliflora (82 mm) and Tamarix aphylla (79 mm). Decline in water table was observed on such pilot projects thus making it arable. The socio-economical and environmental benefits of some pilot plants have been described in the paper.