Public Lecture: Irrigation in India: Building farms of the future

Irrigation in India: building farms of the future

Convener(s): Dr Radhika Khosla (Research Director, the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development)

Speaker(s): Jan Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Principal of Somerville College); the Indian High Commissioner; Mr Julaniya (Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, India); Professor Simon Dadson (Professor of Hydrology, School of Geography and the Environment); Ms Ranu Sinha (Indira Gandhi Scholar, DPhil in Water Science Policy, School of Geography and the Environment); Mr Joop Stoutjesdijk (Lead Irrigation Engineer, Water Global Practice, Sustainable Development Network, The World Bank); Professor Robert Hope (Director, Water Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment); Dr Dustin Garrick (Associate Professor and Departmental Research Lecturer in Environmental and Resource Management, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment)

India faces complex water scarcity challenges, particularly in its farming sector: groundwater resources are rapidly declining and monsoon patterns becoming more variable.

In response to these challenges, and to promote agricultural growth, many Indian state governments have increased public investment in irrigated agriculture.

Madhya Pradesh has witnessed some of the fastest agricultural growth in India having taken steps to rehabilitate its irrigation systems, reform public-sector institutions and launch community-led efforts to ensure sustainable irrigation management.

However, findings from ongoing doctoral research at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, indicate that farmers tend to use more water inefficient practices following irrigation investment, and new infrastructure does not necessarily protect crops from monsoon variability (Sinha et al., 2018).

The Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, and the Oxford Water Network, invite you to a unique event, convening policy makers from the Government of Madhya Pradesh, World Bank irrigation specialists, and experts from Oxford’s School of Geography.

This event will tell the story of Madhya Pradesh’s irrigation reforms, present ideas to inform future irrigation policy, and debate new ways to develop sustainable and resilient farms in India.

Reserve your place now at

This event will be followed by refreshments at Somerville College.

Ranu Sinha, Michael Gilmont, Robert Hope & Simon Dadson (2018) Understanding the effectiveness of investments in irrigation system modernization: evidence from Madhya Pradesh, India, International Journal of Water Resources Development, DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2018.1480357

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