Research Highlight

Tidal water could be harnessed to boost rice production, aquaculture

doi:10.1038/nindia.2021.55 Published online 16 April 2021

Proper distribution and storage of non-saline tidal water through a network of canals and ponds could increase winter rice production by almost nine times in coastal farmlands, according to new estimates1.

In a case study in the Bay of Bengal adjoining South-24 Parganas district of the West Bengal state, researchers found that introduction of tidal water in the canal network could provide an economical and highly effective mode of irrigation water supply for rice, whose yields drop considerably in winter.

The researchers from Kolkata-based Jadavpur University say the excess tidal water could be used in aquaculture and small-scale industries, creating jobs and enhancing the income of local people.

With satellite images, ground-based studies and computer models, the scientists measured how much tidal water enters the five basins of Magrahat, Keorapukur, Kholakhali, Hara-Hatuganj and Kulpi during high tides through the sluice gates at Diamond Harbour, Kulpi, Kholakhali and Hara.

In the Keorapukur basin, they found severe water deficiency in winter even after sufficient influx of tidal water through nearby sluice gates. The shortage could be easily averted by channelling water from other basins to the water-deficient basin. It is also possible to bring water from the Piyali river in the east of the basin during November, they say. 

This could increase winter rice production by almost nine times, the researchers estimate.


References

1. Mukherjee, P. et al. Introducing winter rice cropping by using nonsaline tidal water influx in western basins of South 24 Parganas, India. Sci. Rep. 11, 553 (2021)