Sustainable path of extraction of groundwater for irrigation and Whither Jevons paradox in hard rock areas of India

More than 65 percent of the geographical area in India comprise the hard rock areas where the recharge of groundwater is meagre (5 to 10% of the rainfall), while the extraction for irrigation has exceeded the recharge in several areas, leading to secular overdraft. Neither the farmers nor the policy makers have paid adequate attention towards sustainable path of extraction. This article is a modest attempt to demonstrate the sustainable path using Pontryagin‟s optimal control application in order to impress upon the policy makers the need for groundwater regulation. This study is based on primary data obtained from farmers with groundwater irrigation in hard rock areas of Deccan Plateau. Results indicated that discounted net benefit realized per well at steady state equilibrium on borewell recharge farms was Rs. 97201 ($1620) reached in 25 years; on drip irrigation farms cultivating broad spaced crops was Rs. 163347 ($2722) reached in 17 years. Thus, farmers who recharge borewell on the farm realize the service of borewell for larger number of years realizing sustainable incomes than their counterparts using drip irrigation, without performing on farm recharge. However the economic performance of both types of farms are substantially superior over farms adopting myopic extraction. The study disproved the operation of Jevons paradox.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-30

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