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Home > Basin > Indo-Ganges > Scaling up water-efficient farming in India (SG508)

Full Project Title: Selecting and scaling up water-efficient farming and groundwater recharge systems among 3,000 small-scale farmers (SG508)


Water availability especially the groundwater is a big concern in the project area in Rajasthan, India. Farmers grow water intensive crops with inefficient irrigation practices due to several reasons: wasteful practices, socio-economic reasons, little exposure to recent knowledge, energy policies in the state and continuation of the old traditions (when water availability was not a serious problem).’

The main aim of the project was to test methods for reducing the demand of water in agricultural crops and enhancing the groundwater recharge through individual and community owned structures by involving the agricultural households within the project area in a farmer led research.

For example, the Furrow Irrigated Raised Beds (FIRB) leads to a saving of 49% water and allows the farmer to sow twice the area in the same time and with the same amount of water (as used in the conventional method). The project provided an opportunity to speed up the dissemination of water-saving agricultural technologies throughout the communities.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • Eight different cropping models were designed for water efficient agricultural technologies that lead to reduced pesticide use, increased yields and economic returns. It was found that certain models had more benefits in terms of water saving while others had more economic benefits (when compared to the control plots).
  • Results from the various interventions were analyzed and the reasons for different adoption rates of the models were found out. In most of the adoption cases, one factor emerged as the most crucial: Farmers’ understanding and adoption of a model or a technique was more feasible where there were examples in the area of other farmers already using it.
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • For the scaling up of the project, the interventions included field days and demonstration sites at farmers’ field were organized for the dissemination of the technologies to other farmers. For example, the scale-up process resulted in adoption of FIRB method of irrigation by 40 farmers instead of 10 earlier.
  • The farmer led research proved that the depleting water tables could be controlled and livelihoods can be improved with increased income.
Project Partners

Project partners

Dilasa, SSSP

Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.