A linear programming model has been formulated to suggest the optimal cropping pattern for maximising net returns and ensuring significant savings of groundwater with the aim of sustaining groundwater use in the Punjab agriculture. The dominance of paddy-wheat crop rotation has led to overexploitation of ground water resulting in rapid decline of water table in the entire state. The existing ground water draft for irrigation is 3.41 m ha m whereas the annual ground water availability is 2.03 m ha m, indicating a deficit of 1.38 m ha m of groundwater resources – a case of severe water imbalance in state. Diversifying agriculture towards less water consuming crops and use of resource conservation technologies is of utmost importance. The present study attempts to suggest a diversification plan for achieving water sustainability. The results revealed that a shift of area under maize and basmati in plan –I, resulted into a significant water saving of 8 per cent. The water saving amounted to 16.16 per cent when new crop activities, like paddy sown directly in the fields, i.e. resource conservation practices (DSR) technology and paddy sown by conventional method but irrigation scheduled by the use of tensiometer were introduced without any adverse impact on productivity.


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