Solar irrigation pumps and its impact on water, energy and food security in rural India

In cooperation with the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Indo-German-Energy Programme (IGEN) of GIZ India held a workshop on the promotion of solar irrigation pumps. Solar water pumps help farmers to improve their agricultural activities and depict the strong linkage between energy, water and food security, known as “water, energy and food security (WEF) nexus”. The workshop took place on 7 August, 2019 in the Habitat Centre, New Delhi and was joined by government representatives, leading experts from national policy think tanks and non-governmental organizations. In his welcome speech, IGEN head Dr. Winfried Damm addressed the issue of overexploitation of groundwater that resulted from the industrialization of Indian agriculture. IISD and TERI presented their recent joint study titled “Mapping Policy for Solar Irrigation Across the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus in India”.

After describing pressuring issues of Indian agriculture – inter alia there are 600 million Indians who suffer from high water stress and 14% of Indians are undernourished – Dr. Mini Govindan (TERI) and Mr. Christopher Beaton (IISD) presented several policy recommendations from their study. The recommendations were formulated with reference to the recently adopted Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme, drafted by the Indian government to scale up the use of solar energy for irrigation pumps. Particularly better information on the practical implications on regulations such as KUSUM scheme as well as a policy on sustainable groundwater extraction (including solar water pumps) was requested by the experts. On the state level, the study assessed the influence of respective state-level policies on the W-E-F nexus for Bihar and Rajasthan.

The second part of the event was a panel discussion. It dealt with the practical and operational issues on deployment of the solar irrigation pump. The session started with an overview presentation by Mr. J.K. Jethani, Director at the MNRE and responsible for the KUSUM scheme. Afterwards, Mr. Amit Kumar (Senior Director of TERI) chaired a discussion on improving water efficiency. A major focus was set on micro and community irrigation as well as on the storage of harvested crops and the evolution of state-level schemes. At the end of the panel discussion, Mr. Abhishek Jain presented an on-line decision support tool “Solar Pump Tool” developed by CEEW in collaboration with GIZ, which helps to identify the most conductive geographical regions for sustainable deployment of solar pumps.

For further information kindly contact Mr. Nilanjan via email to nilanjan.ghose(at)giz.de.

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