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Posted Fri Nov 19 2010: from Earth Institute:
'Small is Also Beautiful' - Appropriate Technology Cuts Rice Famers' Water Use by 30 Percent in Punjab, India
But the Green Revolution in Punjab came with a heavy price. Even as yields per acre shot up year after year, heavy use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizer and tube-irrigation soared as well, contributing to cancer, degrading the natural capital of the soil and-perhaps most importantly-depleting non-renewable underground aquifers at staggering speed. Now, even as agricultural productivity has plateaued, a dropping water table now puts the food security of the entire country at risk.... The team then installed the tensiometers in rice fields. In order to get accurate results, farmers were instructed to irrigate only one acre of their fields based on the tensiometer readings, and to use the other fields as control plots. Initial results were remarkable. On average, farmers irrigated the tensiometer fields 30 to 35 percent less than on control plots--with no adverse impact on yield. In fact, anecdotal reports suggested that in some cases yield actually improved, as farmers were able to minimize some pest diseases associated with excessive standing water.
[Read more stories about: efficiency increase, water issues, food crisis]

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'Doc Jim says:
"Appropriate technology" seems so appropriate!

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