Volume 40, Issue 3

May 2024
Water resource management in agriculture for achieving food and water security under climate change in Asia

Editorial »

Water resource management in agriculture for achieving food and water security in Asia

Jeetendra Prakash Aryal, Dil B. Rahut, Tetsushi Sonobe, Cecilia Tortajada & Panharoth Chhay

Research Articles

Climate change and water-related threats in the Indian Sundarbans: food security and management implications

Pritha Dattaa,b, Bhagirath Beheraa and Dil Bahadur Rahutb

aDepartment of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, India; bAsian Development Bank Institute, Chiyoda City, Japan

Contact: Pritha Datta | Email: dattapritha3@gmail.com


Based on a desk review and three rounds of the Delphi method, this study examines the impacts of climate change-induced waterrelated threats on food security in the Indian Sundarbans, and develops management strategies to address the issues. Results show climate change, through its impacts on water, has lowered agricultural output, endangered traditional livelihoods, reduced access to food, and affected food utilization by impacting freshwater availability and creating health hazards. In addition, intensified weather extremes are likely to threaten food security further. A combination of local-level adaptation measures and global-level mitigation initiatives is necessary to ensure food security in this region.

Pages: 323–344

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2224459 (Open Access)

Heterogeneous climate effect on crop yield and associated risks to water security in India

Souryabrata Mohapatraa, Dukhabandhu Sahoob, Auro Kumar Sahooc, Basil Sharpa and Le Wend

aDepartment of Economics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; bSchool of Humanities Social Sciences and Management, Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar, India; cDepartment of Humanities, Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Burla, India; dEnergy Centre, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Contact: Souryabrata Mohapatra | Email: smoh876@aucklanduni.ac.nz


This study uses the Just–Pope approach to investigate the effects of seasonal weather variables and extremes on the mean yield and yield variability of rice, bajra, chickpea, groundnut and sugarcane in India during the period 1990–2015. Results reveal that changes in rainfall and evapotranspiration across seasons largely affect mean yields for most crops, including bajra, chickpea and groundnut. However, high summer rainfall and low monsoon evapotranspiration extremes reduce groundnut and chickpea yield variability. Considering the importance of water availability to crop yields, this study suggests improving irrigation and water reallocation and management to reduce the severity of seasonal climate effects.

Pages: 345–378

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2244086 (Open Access)

Mechanization in land preparation and irrigation water productivity: insights from rice production

Junpeng Lia, Wanglin Mab, Julio Cesar Botero-Rb and Phong Quoc Luuc

aSchool of Economics & Management, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Regional Modern Agriculture & Environmental Protection, Huaiyin Normal University, Huaian, China; bDepartment of Global Value Chains and Trade, Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand; cDepartment of Financial and Business Systems, Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Contact: Wanglin Ma | Email: Wanglin.Ma@lincoln.ac.nz


This study investigates how and to what extent mechanization in land preparation (MLP) can help improve irrigation water productivity (IWP) (measured as rice yield per unit volume of irrigation water). We employed an endogenous treatment regression model to estimate the 2021 China Land Economic Survey (CLES) data collected from Jiangsu province, China. The results reveal that MLP adoption increases IWP significantly; a higher IWP is determined by whether or not farmers adopt MLP rather than through which channel they access their farm machines; the effects of MLP adoption on IWP are monotonically increasing across the selected quantiles.

Pages: 379–400

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2197080 (Open Access)

Groundwater governance under climate change in India: lessons based on evaluation of World Bank interventions

Bekele A. Shiferawa, V. Ratna Reddyb and Bharat Sharmac,d

aThe World Bank, Washington, DC, USA; bLivelihoods and Natural Resource Management Institute, Hyderabad, India; cInternational Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka; dIndian Council for Research on International Economic Relation (ICRIER), Delhi, India

Contact: Bekele A. Shiferaw | Email: bambaye@worldbank.org


Groundwater is the single largest source of water for irrigation and domestic use in India. Climate change further exacerbates the threat of depletion, reducing food security and increasing the vulnerabilities of resource users. Governance is complicated by externalities associated with its attributes as an invisible and fluid resource which create problems of rivalry and exclusion. Based on theory-based case studies for evaluation of selected World Bank projects, we analyse challenges for groundwater governance and identify factors that contribute to depletion. It highlights the need for integrating and balancing demand and supply-side approaches, including water-efficient irrigation and climate-smart practices.

Pages: 401–424

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2207694 (Open Access)

Farmers’ perceptions, adoption and impacts of integrated water management technology under changing climate

Hongyun Zhenga, Wanglin Mab, David Boansic and Victor Owusuc

aCollege of Economics & Management, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China; bDepartment of Global Value Chains and Trade, Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand; cDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana

Contact: Wanglin Ma | Email: Wanglin.Ma@lincoln.ac.nz


This study investigates the correlations between Chinese banana farmers’ perceptions of integrated water management technology (IWMT) and their adoption behaviours and examines the impact of IWMT adoption on farm performance. The results revealed that farmers’ IWMT adoption correlates significantly with their perceptions of whether IWMT adoption can help reduce farm workload, fertilizer and water, the extent to which the technology is easier to operate, and the extent to which the technology can generate higher economic benefits than furrow irrigation technology. IWMT adoption significantly increases banana yields, gross revenue, net returns and irrigation frequency, but does not significantly affect irrigation expenditure.

Pages: 425–447

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2196351 (Open Access)

Can domestic wheat farming meet the climate change-induced challenges of national food security in Uzbekistan?

Mashkhura Babadjanovaa,b, Ihtiyor Bobojonovb, Maksud Bekchanovc,d,e, Lena Kuhnb and Thomas Glaubenb

aInternational Agricultural Economics, Tashkent State Agrarian University, Tashkent, Uzbekistan; bDepartment of Agricultural Markets, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), Halle (Saale), Germany; cDepartment of Environment Sciences, Informatics and Statistics (DAIS), Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Venice, Italy; dEconomic Impacts of Climate Change and Policy (ECIP) Division, Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC), Venice, Italy; eRFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE), Milan, Italy

Contact: Mashkhura Babadjanova | Email: babadjanova@iamo.de


This study is the first to develop food supply and demand projections over the 21st century for Uzbekistan by considering the combined effects of climate change and soil salinization. The study results suggest that rising summer temperatures and soil salinity will considerably reduce wheat production. Projections indicate that a large wheat supply–demand gap will emerge in the midterm, particularly under the SSP3-RCP7.0 scenario. For the two more pessimistic scenarios, supply losses of about 24–29% are expected by the end of the century. Supply–demand gaps of up to 2.7 million tons of wheat would pose serious challenges to national food security.

Pages: 448–462

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2290523 (Open Access)

Weather shocks, irrigation development and poverty: evidence from rural Northeast Thailand and Central Vietnam

Manh Hung Do and Trung Thanh Nguyen

Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade, Leibniz University Hannover, Hannover, Germany

Contact: Trung Thanh Nguyen | Email: thanh.nguyen@iuw.uni-hannover.de


Water is critical for agriculture in developing countries and climate change has created more extreme weather events. In this study, we examine the role of villages’ year-round irrigation in ensuring households’ irrigation to cope with weather shocks and investigate the effects of irrigation on income and poverty of rural households. Our results show that the availability of villages’ year-round irrigation significantly increases the share of irrigated land area at the household level, which leads to higher crop income and household income, and lower poverty. Therefore, developing year-round irrigation is recommended.

Pages: 463–486

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2233645 (Open Access)

Climate variability, rainwater-harvesting structures and groundwater levels in Odisha, India: an empirical analysis

Bhagirath Beheraa, Koushik Chowdhuryb, Tiyasa Mishra and Dil Bahadur Rahutc

aDepartment of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, India; bFaculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany; cAsian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, Japan

Contact: Bhagirath Behera | Email: bhagirath@hss.iitkgp.ac.in


To examine the driver of groundwater depletion, this paper estimates a dynamic panel regression model using district-level secondary data from 1995 to 2017. Results show that the number of rainwater-harvesting structures, annual average rainfall, forest cover and net sown area improve groundwater levels. Tube well irrigation and rice cultivation can adversely affect groundwater levels. The positive relationship between surface water and improved groundwater level is consistent in all the estimated models. Hence, efficient use and management of surface and groundwater are crucial for the long-term sustainability of water resources.

Pages: 487–505

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2279962 (Open Access)

Retrospective climate resilience assessment of semi-arid farming systems in India

Arjuna Srinidhia,b, Saskia E. Wernersa,c, Dada Dadasb, Marcella D’Souzab, Fulco Ludwiga and Miranda P. M. Meuwissend

aWater Systems and Global Change Group, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands; bWOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS), Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), Pune, India; cInstitute for Environment and Human Security, United Nations University, Bonn, Germany; dBusiness Economics Group, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands

Contact: Arjuna Srinidhi | Email: arjuna.srinidhi@wotr.org.in


Semi-arid farming systems in India are facing an increasing frequency of climate change-induced extreme weather events. With the aim of improving their climate resilience, we retrospectively assess climate resilience in two case studies in Maharashtra, India. We considered a 15-year period and multiple interventions in both. The systems showed improved climate resilience when agricultural productivity-enhancing interventions were combined with those related to water management, soil health, livelihood diversification, and food and nutrition security. Further, we recommend embedding a monitoring, evaluation and learning component within the design of all interventions to help with adaptive decision-making.

Pages: 506–531

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2207680 (Open Access)

Water retention for agricultural resilience in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta: towards integrated ‘grey–green’ solutions

Thong Anh Trana,b,c and Brian Robert Cooka

aSchool of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; bFenner School of Environment and Society, College of Science, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia; cClimate Change Institute, An Giang University, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCM), Long Xuyen, Vietnam

Contact: Thong Anh Tran | Email: thong.tran@anu.edu.au


Emerging climate-development processes jeopardize water supply, especially in the Global South. In the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, disrupted water flows driven by climate change and hydropower development have caused water scarcity, threatening agricultural systems in both upstream and coastal areas. Based on insights from desk reviews, stakeholder workshops and interviews with local informants, this paper argues that while grey (engineered) solutions take precedence in addressing water scarcity, securing water sustainability (water retention) for agricultural resilience demands integrated ‘grey–green’ (engineered-naturebased) solutions. This paper suggests demands for translating this approach into the water governance framework for the delta’s agricultural development.

Pages: 532–553

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2023.2207674 (Open Access)