Project Signing: Government Of India And World Bank Sign $360M Agreement To Strengthen And Modernize Water Sector In Uttar Pradesh
About one million farm families will benefit
The government of India and the World Bank recently signed a $360M credit agreement to help build the institutional capacity needed to increase agricultural productivity in Uttar Pradesh (UP) where agriculture will continue to play an important role in alleviating extreme poverty.
The credit agreement for the Uttar Pradesh Water Sector Restructuring Project Phase 2 was signed by Nilaya Mitash, joint secretary, department of economic affairs, ministry of finance, on behalf of the government of India; Deepak Singhal, principal secretary, Irrigation on behalf of the government of UP; and Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director, India on behalf of World Bank.
“The Government of India has identified the need for a more holistic strategy for aquifer management, improving governance through water user associations, and focusing on rehabilitating and modernizing existing irrigation systems in critical areas for not only better management and efficiency of water resources, but also to help improve agricultural growth in the state,” said Nilaya Mitash, joint secretary, department of economic affairs, ministry of finance, government of India. “The components and activities identified in this project will directly support the government’s efforts to meet these objectives”, he added.
The project will also support the government of Uttar Pradesh’s efforts to consolidate and deepen its various institutional reform initiatives such as the Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) Act. During the Phase 1 project, the PIM Act played a transformative role in giving Water User Associations (WUA) greater responsibility in managing waters available for their farms. The WUAs are also playing a greater role in managing the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of local systems, resolving conflicts amongst competing users, and assessing water charges.
“Investing in agriculture will help reduce poverty in UP. Improvements in water use efficiency will not only help the agriculture sector–by far the largest consumer of water in India–but also address the growing mismatch between water demands and use patterns, a critical problem that cuts across many development challenges in UP, and India more generally,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director in India. “This project being delivered under the new Country Partnership Strategy for the World Bank in India is committed to working towards fostering inclusive growth in low-income states like UP, a state with the largest number of poor in India.”
Some of the other important components that will be taken up in this project include a specialized Flood Management Information System (FMIS) as more than 30% of the total geographical area in 23 districts of UP is flood-prone. Extensive use of modern technology such as satellite remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and mobile-based applications will also be employed. As part of the project’s innovative monitoring and evaluation design, the Uttar Pradesh Remote Sensing Applications Center will monitor the performance of project agriculture areas using satellite imageries.
The project also plans to develop an integrated water resources information system hosted by the State Water Resources Agency (SWARA) since water resources are currently being planned, developed and managed by different departments in the state. The SWARA will also develop river basin plans for the 8 major basins in the state and undertake special studies on the impacts of climate change,
To promote water saving agricultural practices, the project will set up farmer water schools. These schools will help farmers over an entire cropping season to improve their management practices. These may include piloting ridge and furrow irrigation, training on crop-water budgeting, laser leveling, and using raised beds. These schools are expected to create a network of trainers and practitioners from the field who can then spread these practices amongst the local communities.
“Based on our experience in the earlier project, we combine investments in rehabilitation and modernization of the state irrigation and drainage systems in areas identified by the government of Uttar Pradesh with targeted modern agriculture interventions and capacity building of water users associations” said Winston Yu, senior water resources specialist and the task tam leader for the project. “This, we hope, will not only improve agricultural performance, but also improve water use efficiency.”
The Project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA)–the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm–which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years.
UPWSRP Phase 1 Results
- 343,000 hectares of irrigation and drainage systems rehabilitated and modernized
- Over 800 Water Users Associations set up. UP Participatory Irrigation Management Act passed
- State-level water resource institutions set up
- Introduction of a management information system for the UP Irrigation Department.
SOURCE: The World Bank