In a reply to T Chinappa Reddy during a session in the Legislative Council on March 11, Niranjan Reddy, Agriculture Minister, Telangana said the State government is focusing on various technological interventions in water management, especially to reduce water for paddy cultivation, enhance the water productivity and gain yield. The State Government, along with the Agriculture University are exploring better ways to increase yield with less water input, added the Minister.
Further, Reddy said that the extent of cultivation of paddy is increasing with 48 lakh acres in Kharif season and 38 lakh acres presently in Rabi season. Post the formation of Telangana, the Agriculture University promoted paddy varieties with 120-day crop duration instead of 150 days, thus saving on a month’s time and water as well.
Once Kaleswaram and other irrigation projects are completed, the state aims to make use of surface water saving the groundwater table. Moreover, crop varieties that can be grown with less irrigation input and are drought tolerant are also in the evolving process. Research for developing high yield potential rice hybrids suitable to the State is underway, Reddy added.
Reddy suggested that alternate wetting and drying water management in rice should be promoted in groundwater and canal commands of erstwhile districts of Telangana — Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Khammam, Ranga Reddy and Medak. This can save nearly 35 percent of water input in rice compared to low land flood irrigation.
The minister added that with climate smart and water resilient production practice, the water usage to produce a kilogram of paddy with Telangana’s average productivity of 7 tonnes per hectare will range between 1,200 to 2,500 litres under different production systems, show recent studies.