Cotton – One of the thirstiest crops

Optimizing rainfall and irrigation water use efficiency for cotton cultivation
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Cotton – One of the thirstiest crops

India is one the largest producers of cotton and on average uses 22,500 litres of water to produce 1 kg of cotton. Most Indian cotton is grown in the drier regions of the country like Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu etc.

In India, a variety of crops are cultivated in vastly distinct weather and soil conditions. Thus, water becomes a major and essential resources for proper growth of these crops. Majority cotton farmers that are growing the water intensive crop thus depend on Irrigation water to meet the consumption rate of a crop. The development of water sources for irrigation threatens the sustainability of the environment, for example the construction of dams. For cotton cultivation, the water requirement for growth of 1 kilogram of cotton requires 7000 – 29,000 litres of water.

The huge amount of water that is consumed by the cotton crop becomes a serious problem for the surrounding areas and thus a vast majority of the irrigated land is through manmade interventions. Man made interventions can lead to disastrous effects to the local waterways and increase the water scarcity of the region

Kind of Solution required: Research and technology organisations that promote new water strategies for four components: maximizing rainfall capture; optimizing irrigation water; increasing plant water use efficiency; and evaluating these practices with credible metrics

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