Wednesday, January 9, 2008



Introduction :
India is one of the wettest countries in the world. Nation gets about 420 million hectares meters (m ham) of precipitation annually of which 20 mham is contributed by rivers flowing in from neighboring countries. Net evapo-transpiration losses are nearly 200 m ham. About 135 mham is available on the surface and remaining recharging ground water. Distribution of rains are not equal at one extreme areas like Cherrapunji which is drenched each year with 11,000 mm of rainfall and at the other extreme are places like Jaiselmer in the west receives barely less than 200 mm rain. Though average rainfall is adequate, however nearly three quarters of the rain pours down in less than 120 days from June to September.

Main feature of Indian climate, which has a direct bearing on water dynamics is alteration of wind direction twice a year, resulting seasons consequently, the distribution of rainfall in the country is erratic and varies in space and time. About 70-90% of total rainfall is provided by south-west monsoon from June to September in most part of country except in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kashmir where winter rain contributed a major portion of rainfall. The number of rainy days varies from just 10 in Rajesthan to 50 is North-East.

According to the Central Ground Water Board of the India, the country has an annual exploitable ground water potential 26.5 mham like surface water, nearly 85% of currently exploited ground water is used only for irrigation. According to researcher, Marcus Moench groundwater accounts for as much as 70-80% of the value of farm produce attributable to irrigation. Agriculture contributing roughly 29% India GDP and production from irrigated land claiming the lion’s share a large percentage of the country’s GDP is closely tied to the availability of groundwater David Seckler, former head of the International Water Management Institute, Columbo estimates that aquifer depletion could reduce India grain harvest by one fifth, Simply because evidence suggests that crop yield per cubic meter on ground water irrigated farms tend to be 1.2 to 3 times higher than on surface water irrigated farms. This is because groundwater has actually available as and when crop require however area by irrigated by surface water distribution is un even and not available through out cropping period.

Ground water exploitations is not uniform across the country. At the national level only 30% of the actual ground water potential has been harnessed. However in some states such as Punjab against critical level of 80% the level of exploitation is 98%. Haryana is close to 80% and Tamilnadu is reaching at 60%. Within states there are pockets that have reached very critical limits of ground water utilization. Major portion of Punjab some districts of Haryana. i.e. Mahendragarh, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Mehsana district of Gujrat, Coimbatore of Tamilnadu and some blocks of Agra district of UP State have permanently exhausted their ground water reserves.

Agriculture & Water :
The high water demanding summer crops like Mentha, Sunflower and Summer rice etc. and to irrigate these crops, small mechanical pumps, now widely used for irrigation all over the country is one of the most important factor responsible for the over exploitations of ground water.

Punjab, Haryana, South west part of UP. state facing massive problem of ground water table. In these regions water table have dropped beyond the reach of muscle driven water lift that were used by farmers barely 30 years ago as the water in the well was at depth. 8 –15 meters. The latest data indicates that area where high water demanding summer crops, like Mentha, Sunflower and Summer rice are grown, water table are falling by up to 1 meter per year. Occurrence of these high water demanding summer crops and 35-75 hp pumps to lift water to irrigate these crop, the ground water level has now dipped to upto 400-450 meter.

Besides, ground water is the source of four-fifth of the domestic water supply in rural area and around half of urban and industrial demand. While ground water development has had important implication for the agriculture as ground water accounts as much 70-80% of value of farm produce and economy of the nation. The over use of ground water is emerging a serious concern. Ground water in urban areas over exhausted and ground water tables in some cities are falling at a rate of 2 m to 3 m per year.

Most ground water structures are privately owned and have therefore been outside the purview of direct regulation by state. Farmers use diesel pumps as well as electricity to fetch the water. Measure to control over ground water extraction chiefly through restriction on credit or electricity have had limited impact. In the legal frame work for the management of ground water in India there are no de jure rights to ground water, defacto all land owners have the rights to the groundwater in their land. Thus ground water is viewed as an add-on to the land. As consequence there is no limit to the amount of ground water a farm owner extract from his land.

Farmers in recent years has been intensifying their crop rotation included summer crops such as Mentha, Sunflower and Summer Rice and increasing many fold demand of water in agriculture and such a trend causing irreparable damage to the hydrology of the area.

Mentha Cultivation in Jalaun a case study.
Bundel Khand region of U.P. has higher dependence on agriculture, which depends mainly on the vagaries of monsoon 77.2 % of the main works in the this region are engaged in agriculture sector. Merely 0.62% of the agriculture population is engage in non farmer sector. Bundel Khand which has low per unit average yield as a whole, Jalaun one of the district of Bundel khand region has comparatively worse situation mainly because of low and scanty rainfall. Jalaun has around 217000 holdings. Out of 100%, 52% are small holdings and 47% marginal farmers. These are the groups which mainly form the population living below poverty line. The small and marginal farmers have to depend totally on the land for their livelihoods with no alternative left except working as a labour.

Climate :
In Jalaun onset of monsoon varies in between 1-7 July and area receive 800 mm average rain fall, serving mainly by South-West monsoon. Out of 85%, rains occurs in the Month of July and August and monsoon off around 15th September. Area experienced high degree of evaporation and its goes upto 15 mm per day except July and August evaporation is higher than precipitation. Maximum day temperature of Jalaun in summer varies between 350 to 460. In winter night temperature dip as low as 40C. In peak summer (May and June) desiccating wind called loo sweep in from the Rajasthan.

Drainage :
The Jalaun is drained by Pahuj & Yamuna rivers principal tributary of Ganga. Drainage occurs principally from north to south with some local variation depending upon topography with the help of major nallas i.e. Dhamna nallah, Malanga orai nallah and Malanga Konch nallah. Flow in most of water courses varies according to season. The monsoon brings heavy flooding and in dry season nallahs become dry.

Soils :
Soil in Jalaun district is deep alluvial soil often loam to sandy loam. black in colour well drained, natural pH. and poor to moderate water holding capacity. Area covering significant portion of ravines soils formed by Yamuna and Pahuj rivers.

Irrigation :
As early as fifteenth century A.D. tanks and reservoirs already used for water harvesting and irrigation in Jalaun, many of these infrastructures fallen into disappear or have been destroyed. Some are still in use. Parichha reservoir on Betwa rivers and its canal system built before independence under British Rule and later strengthen after post independence, but these canal network still only benefit a third of cultivable area. Besides, canals are flows irregular and in sufficient to grow crops in full swing.

Ground water extraction from tube wells are primary source of irrigation water. The rolling terrain and the variation in soil depth directly linked with ground water table and can be found at 3 m to 22 m on more. The easily accessibility of ground water means to obtain water from their own land as and when crop require. Mechanized pumping using electric of diesel powered pumps has greatly increased the use of ground water in irrigation.

Cropping Pattern :
In Jalaun cropping pattern change with time. Before pre canal era main crops of the area were fallow – cotton, fallow – Barley or fallow - wheat. Canal network changed the hydrology of the area and separate sets of crop rotations i.e. of Jower/Bajra in Kharif and Gram/linseed/ wheat Arhar/Moong replaced cotton crop. Upto1965 these crop were dominated with mix cropping culture. After green revolution era, crop intensity increases and Lentil becomes main crop of the area. Fallows Mustard, Lentil, linseed as mixed crops mainly dominated fallowed by Jower/Bajra/Arhar/ Moong/Urd/Til in Kharif and Lentil in Rabi. In last decade of nineties mixed crop system disappeared and Til/Moong/Urd Crops in Kharif and Pea/Wheat/Mustard crops in Rabi became most popular crops in this area. Since 2003 Mentha crop came into existence in Jalaun, introduced by some farmers and grown about 10 hector land initially.

Mentha crop :-
Mentha is an aromatic herbs of temperate region. The oil and its principal aroma-compound menthol have cooling and gastro stimulant, properties for which it is used in pharmaceutical, food flavor, confectionary cosmetics beverages and related industries. Mentha - arvensis which is main species cultivated by Indian farmers like well drained deep sandy loam to clay loam, netural pH. with good irrigation facilities, subtropical and tropical climates.

Mentha in India
The cultivation of Mentha- arvensis in India is dramatic. Before 1964 there was no production of Mentha oil and menthol in India col Mr. R.N. Chopra and Dr. I.N. Chopra of Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu Tawi first brough Mentha-arvensis in 1964 and Richardson Hindustan Ltd. identified that Tarai of U.P. would be suitable for the cultivation of Mentha-arvensis. Hindustan Richardson Ltd. Started cultivation on 15 ha. Land and established a distillation unit at Bilaspur, district Nainital. They had supplied the planting material as well as technical know how to grow Mentha crop. As a result the area of Mentha crop substantially increased in entire tarai and western district of U.P. later extended to eastern district of U.P. viz. Barabanki, Lucknow, Sitapur etc. Recently the farmers of Jalaun district attracted from the price of Mentha oil and started cultivation of Mentha arvensis. The 80% crop of India grown in U.P. itself rest 20% in Punjab, Haryana and other states i.e. M.P. Gujrat in little quantity.

India is one of the largest producer of Menthol & Mint allied products in world now second one is China. Presently 85% production of Mint products is in India rest in China, Brazil & other small countries. In India there are four kinds of Mint crop grown i.e. Mentha Arvensis, Mentha Piperita, Mentha spearmint but Mentha arvensis covers largest area.

The crop do not thrive well under water logged conditions and drought prone area. In India it is grown on around 70,000 ha. land. Clayey soils, high PH (>8.5) and frosty conditions are unsuitable for Mentha. Since it is shallow feeder, high water table between 60 cm – 100 cm with efficient drainage is favorable. It is long duration (240 days), long day plant, grown as with sunshine around the growing seasons is ideal, shade is undesirable.

Mentha in Jalaun :
Soil type, climate, high price of mint make popular Mentha cultivation among the farmer’s who are financial capable of Jalaun district.Some big farmers of Konch and Nadigaon blocks of Jalaun district introduced Mentha crop on around 10 hector land in the year 2004 and in 4 years it is spread over 4200 hectares and 4175 hectares land in Konch and Nadigaon blocks respectively. Farmers dug bore well very deep to irrigate the mint crop. A farmer owning small portion for land dug deep bore well and connect submersible pump or high horse power pump to watering crop owing the deep water table other factors suited Mentha crop in Jalaun.

Details of crop grown in Jalaun :-
Crop planted between 1st Feb to 15 March
Area of plantation 4200 ha in Konch
4275 ha in Nadigaon

Crop rotation Potato - Mentha
Mustard - Mentha
Pea - Mentha
No. of irrigation upto
First cuting 11-14
First Cutting Ist June - 20 June
(After - 115 days from the planting)

Fertilizer dose - N - 140 kg
P - 40 kg

No. of irrigation between
First cutting to
Second cutting 4-6
second and last cutting 1 st sept. to 20th sept.
(90 days from the first cutting)
Crop yield -
Herbs Av 30 ton/ha
Menthol Av 150 kg/ha

Depth of irrigation 6 cm

Water Requirement And Water Balance Sheet
Mentha crop required huge amount of water and without applying 16-20 irrigations of 6cm depth crop can not survived in this reason in summer period April to June crop needed irrigation at regular interval of 7 days and after first cutting i.e. around 1st to 20th June crop also needed atleast 4 to 6 irrigation up to second and last cutting.

Area has very poor canal network and canal flows only in Rabi season. In summer season its flows occasionally only to irrigate vegetable crops, Mentha crop is restricted to receive canal water in this region. Mentha raised only with underground water.

Water requirement of crop = No. of irrigation X depth of irrigation
= 16-20 X 6 cm
= 96 cm to 120 cm
Per hectare water requirement of Mentha crop (liter)
= amount of irrigation water + amount of effective rainfall during cropping period.
= 9600000 to 12000000 + 4000000
= 13600000 to 16000000

water requires to produce 1lit. Menthol = Water requirement / Menthol yield
= 13600000 to 16000000/150
= 90666 lit to 106666 lit.
water balance sheet
water received water consumed
Precipitation 800mm Runoff 200 mm
Consumed by crop(ET) 270 mm
Percolated to water 210mm Pumped out from 960 mm
table ground water to 1200mm
Consumed by next crop 120 mm
Total 1010mm 1550 to1790 mm

Water defecit (mm) = water consumed (mm) - water received (mm)
= 1550 to1790 - 1010
= 540mm to 780mm per year

Impact On Water Table
Data recorded in June, 2007 indicate that water table of both blocks dipped more than 1 m within three years of time. 50% tube wells of both blocks irrigating Mentha field experienced reboring. Some of them reached at critical level and they discharging only limited water which is insufficient for Mentha crop and around 10% Mentha crop in current seasons reaches at permanent wilting point.

Table - Present condition of water table is Jalaun-
(i) water table(M)
3.0 - 4.5
4.0 - 6.0
(ii) water strata(M)
60 - 63
81 - 90
(iii) tube well rebored


(i) water table(M)
2.4 - 3.0
3.0 - 5.0
(ii) water strata(M)
51 - 57
71 - 81
(iii) tube well rebored


Present condition of Potable water system in Jalaun :-

Water Point
India mark - II (failed)
20 - 25%
18 - 20%
Open well (dried up)

Conclusion :-
Ground water has actually available as and when crop require and seemingly unlimited quantity encourging farmers to grow cash crop like Mentha which is earlier limited to tarai region. Area under Mentha cultivation increases year by year and if present increase rate persist than in next two or three years 50% total cultivable land not only in these blocks but whole of Jalaun covered by Mentha crop. More and more mint crop required huge amount of water and as a result of high degree of extraction of water from ground to irrigate such type of summer crop drop water beyond their repressible reserves. So far the Mentha farmers are exporting virtual water as crop needs about 1,75000 lit. water. To produce 1 kg menthol. To avoid permanently exhausted ground water reserves in Jalaun like Mehsawa of Gujrat Coimbatore, Tamil nadu, the use of ground water must be regulated form the stand point of sustainability and equity.

· Improving productive use of water encouraging menthe growing farmer switch over to water saving diversified farming.

· Develop incentive system to encourage to water stress crop with suitable buy back mechanism for the harvest.

· Implementation of rain water harvesting techniques in the area i.e.
(a)storage of rain water on surface as part for future use.
(b) Recharge of ground water utilizing dug well, hand pumps, recharge well, recharge shafts, lateral shafts with bore well and spreading techniques.

· Identify and strengthen local institution that ensure equitable and sustainable use of water with in ecological conditions.
Redefining water governance.
Jitendra Dwivedi
Gorakhpur Environmental Action
9415790126, 9838044305


vaibhav mishra said...

best study u done & if u have any case study on pea please send me a mail on
thanks for anticepation.
Mob. No. 09415563950

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