To understand the trajectory and drivers of change occurring in land and water resources stressed regions with respect to water availability, water quality, land degradation, food security and provision of environmental services for and by the agricultural systems; and identify appropriate practical/ policy strategies to achieve environmental sustainability and human wellbeing.
Since the early 1990s, rapid increases in irrigated agriculture and industrial production have subjected South Asia’s land and water resources to immense stress. Subsequently, conflicts over access to water, as an irrigation and household resource have intensified. Reducing such stress and resolving conflicts require an understanding of the linkages between the state of land and water resource, sectoral use and demand, and socio-cultural, economic and political contexts. In the prevailing economic contexts of increasing growth, for instance, national and international policies recognize the increasing industrial demands for water that compete with agricultural and domestic demands. Thus, although the National Water Policy, 2002, lists both drinking water and irrigation as priorities during planning and operations, it privileges the former by mandating that drinking water ‘should be the first charge of any water’. Irrigation on the other hand is required to ‘optimise water use efficiency’ even as water and land use policies need to be closely integrated. Equity and social justice need to be given due regard in water allocation. Fresh water– surface and ground– needs to be sustainably managed so that all have access to safe and sufficient water to drink and stay healthy; and food producers have access to sufficient supply to meet growing needs of an increasing population.
The broad goal of the Land, Water and Livelihoods programme is to explore interactions between agricultural, domestic and industrial land and water practices, related policies, and livelihood systems in resource-stressed agricultural regions. It will focus on understanding the direction and drivers of change in water availability, water quality, land degradation and food security in land and water-stressed regions. It will also address the provision of environmental services for and by agricultural systems, and identify appropriate practical and policy strategies to achieve environmental sustainability and human wellbeing. Emergent climate change scenarios that influence such land, water and livelihood interactions will be an important aspect of research and analysis.
Research questions are formed towards:
Includes research carried out by fellows at ATREE and CISED:
The programme is also expanding its research activities in two agro-ecological regions/sites where ATREE faculty have established prior field presence:
The research approach in these two contrasting socio-economic and ecological contexts will be to understand the bio-physical and socio-economic characteristics of the resource crisis and social conflict under changing agricultural practices and climate conditions.