Roorkee: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in collaboration with the Indian Water Resources Society organized a webinar titled ‘Enhancement and Irrigation Water Use Efficiency for Future Food Security’. The objective of the webinar- an initiative of the Department of Water Resource Development& Management (WRDM), IIT Roorkee, was to disseminate awareness on the significance of efficiency in water usage and deliberate on ways to ensure water efficiency for food security for future generations.
The Chief Guest, Shri U.P Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, inaugurated the webinar. It also witnessed the participation of the eminent dignitaries from the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, water experts, academicians, faculty and students of IIT Roorkee.
Prof. M.L. Kansal, Head of Department, Department of Water Resource Development& Management (WRDM), IIT Roorkee welcomed the dignitaries and set the pace for the webinar. He highlighted that agriculture is among the largest consumers of water. The burgeoning population has evoked the concern of food security. Hence, it is not only necessary to increase the area under irrigation but also put in place a strategy for judicious use of water resources.
The Chief Guest, Shri U.P Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, said: “There is a need to shift the public discourse from development of water resources to management. The terms such as ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recharge’ are widely known regarding water conservation. There is a need to ‘respect’ water resources and minimize the water footprint. There is also the need to popularize this concept on the lines of carbon footprints.”
“If we were to talk about water conservation and efficiency of water use, we need to be equally conscious of depleting groundwater resources,” he added.
Citing reference to the inauguration of Atal Water Yojana by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, he said one must keep in mind that we need to water crops, not the fields. Drawing parallels between quenching human thirst by four glasses of water instead of just one glass, he said excess irrigation can damage the crops.
In the inaugural session, Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, said: “Technology can be leveraged to relay information on the usage of the appropriate quantity of irrigation water to farmers. The capturing of local images through farmers’ smartphones and the assessment of the amount of moisture in the soil along with satellite imagery can be used and processed through high-performance computing services by agricultural scientists and engineers to convey information in a simple language to farmers on the requisite amount of irrigation and its frequency for a particular crop.”
Prof. Chaturvedi also stressed the need for dissemination of information to the farmers in simple and vernacular languages through a mobile application using automated speech generation technology.
Prof. Ashish Pandey, Secretary, Indian Water Society and the Professor of the WRDM Department elucidated on the contribution of the Society and its illustrious journey. He said that since its inception in 1980, the Society has been disseminating awareness on the need for water conservation and efficiency, especially in agriculture by organizing various national and international seminars, symposiums and workshops.
The technical session of the webinar witnessed Shri Avinash Chandra Tyagi, Former Secretary-General, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), Prof. K. N. Tiwari, IIT Kharagpur, Shri K. Vohra, Commissioner, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Prof. P.K. Singh, GB Pant Agricultural University, Pantnagar, Prof. Shekar Muddu, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Er. Dinesh Rathi, Irrigation & Water Resources Department, Haryana presented their views on various aspects of irrigation efficiency and ways to improve it. The technical session was presided over by Shri Avinash Chandra Tyagi, Former Secretary-General, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage and Shri A.B. Pandya, Secretary-General, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, and co-presided by Dr. J.V.Tyagi, Director, National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee.
The open session witnessed the enthusiastic participation and answering of queries by experts.
The webinar concluded with a Vote of Thanks by Prof. Ashish Pandey, IIT Roorkee.