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A fourth example, a critique of the modern water science rolling back the (GR induced) climate change

Last modified October 26, 2009 16:16

A fourth example, a critique of the modern water science rolling back the (GR induced) climate change. Do you have examples on this subject or other diverging views on agriculture, please send them to us. Kees Stigter, INSAM (

Viewpoint one




(The SUM AND SUBSTANCE  of our interventions at the climate change convention held at Ecology Center, RDT Anantapur on 25-26 Sep/09)   

We will at the outset try a brief portrayal of how the mind of the modern water science works. It postulates that the tropics are badly dependent on the monsoon. This proposition is at the root of the modern water science. The monsoon yield is harvested according to the modern water science in three forms such as 1) the soil moisture, 2) surface water and 3) groundwater. While the 1) goes in to raising the rain fed crops, the 2 and 3 go in to raising the irrigated crops. There is thus a division of labor underway between the rain fed at one side and irrigated at the other? Fantastic formulation indeed? It all went well for the modern water science in the initial couple of decades of post GR period. However, the tallest of the practitioners of modern water science - MS Swaminathan and the ilk- grew increasingly disturbed as things started falling wayward in the recent past.


The duration of the monsoon season shows constricting from 4 months to 2 months, which again betrays an highly erratic character. It presents us in four pairs (rainy) of 2 months such as I) June- July; II) June- Aug; III) July-Sep and IV) Aug-Sep. Each rainy pair is accompanied by a dry pair. For instance, the June- Aug rainy pair is accompanied by the July- Sep dry pair and so on and so forth in the case of the rest of the rainy pairs. The dry pair is particularly reminiscent of the hot summer season. The temperatures are seen shooting up to the dizzy heights as in the peak summer season. This is suicidal for the rain fed crop culture.In other words, each rainy pair is closely accompanied by its undoing. The rain gods give us water and moisture and the Sun god takes it away. The practitioners of modern water science have thus grown highly restive for it is simply impossible to do rain fed cropping. The rain fed crops tend to yield in either sub-optimal productivities or at times wither away. Instances of much of the rain fed crop culture going on crop holiday are not rare either. The rain fed uplands show up increasing fallowisation. Nor is it that the situation on the irrigated crop culture is any thing happier. Very often, we are missing Khariff. Rabi has come to replace Khariff as the mainstay of irrigated crops. The bore wells as well as the minor and major irrigation sources are seen empty for the best part of the Khariff.

Things have thus gone seriously wrong with both the rain fed crop culture and irrigated culture as well. It threatens the food security of the multitudes of the farm households. And the food security of the country is at stake? The GOI finds obliged to place the entire rural India on unemployment allowance (NREGP)?. How do you go about securing assured food production again? This indeed was the proposition with which the modern water science or say GR started in the late sixties and seventies. But some how the very premise on which the GR based itself proved its undoing. None else but the GR should take the blame. The modern water science will of course stoutly deny this proposition. It finds fault with the GHG (green house gases) driven climate change?  A safe sanctuary of excuse indeed?


For convenience of understanding, we will agree on the basic proposition of the modern water science i.e., we are monsoon dependent but with a rider. The way the monsoon yield was harvested by our ancestry over the second millennium till as recently as the unleashing of GR shows an altogether different pattern. We have seen in the foregoing that the monsoon yield according to the modern water science is harvested in three forms. The monsoon yield was harvested in four forms. Harvesting it in to the atmospheric water reserves is the fourth form in addition to the three other forms. Then there is an other crucial difference. It is seen in the pattern of harvesting. It comes out vividly in the way the monsoon yield was harvested to the groundwater.


The ancestry maintained vast undisturbed groundwater reserves and the bit of the monsoon yield harvested to the groundwater comes over and above the reserves. Indeed, substantial part of the monsoon yield joined the groundwater reserves, which at one side helped in the upkeep of the groundwater reserves at one side and lasted across the year at the other. The monsoon season lasts for only 4 months.But the life supporting groundwater current lasts across the year. As the monsoon season progressed, the groundwater table rose and it depleted in the post monsoon season in a gradual manner. The extensive tank system helped in the upkeep of the groundwater current across the terrain and the converse was as much truer. The peaking groundwater current is an essential condition for maintaining tank bound surface storages as as the surface irrigation. The peaking groundwater current thus was critical to the  successful raising of the rain fed crop culture at one side and tank bound surface irrigation at the other. True, the peaking groundwater current played a crucial role in crop culture in general. Yet, the atmospheric water reserves played no less a crucial role in the crop culture.


We had seen in the foregoing that there were undisturbed groundwater reserves. And so was the case with the vast undisturbed atmospheric water reserves. Substantial part of the monsoon yield was harvested to join the groundwater reserves. And the groundwater reserves serve as the go between in harvesting part of the monsoon yield to the atmospheric water reserves. The universal presence of the vegetation helped pump the groundwater in to the atmospheric water reserves. The addition of the bit of the monsoon yield to the atmospheric reserves used to make a vast difference in terms of clearly delineating the monsoon season from the hot summer season. The monsoon season was characteristic of high humidities and the related low atmospheric temperatures. Nevertheless, the significance of the atmospheric water reserves in its maintaining an orderly- rhythmic pattern of rainfall.

The Rhythmic Pattern of Rainfall plays a crucial role in crop raising particularly under rain fed conditions. The rainfall was distributed in such a way that it had a secular accent and descent and in between it peaked. The June and September shared 20% each of the total volume of rainwater yield bringing the total to 40% while the rest 60% was contributed by July (31%) and Aug (29%). The atmospheric water reserves indeed served as the hydel green house (HGH). The HGH served as the protective ring to the tropical ecosystem as against the predatory tropical Sun. The HGH enticed the monsoon clouds and therefore the rhythmic pattern of the rainfall. Besides, the HGH made possible sumptuous supply of mist for the best part of the year. While the Khariff rain fed had the benefit of four sources of crop moisture supply i.e., a) groundwater current, b) soil moisture, c) rainfall and d) mist;  the Rabi rain fed had the benefit of three sources minus the rainfall. The mist indeed served as the rainfall by other means without which double cropping the rain fed uplands by our ancestry would have not been a possibility.


Concluding, we will briefly dwell on the undoing process unfolded by the GR. The bore well centric paddy strategy of GR emptied the groundwater resources even as the rapid extension of commercial crop culture on the rain fed uplands took a heavy toll of the vegetation. We were thus left with the duel mining namely the mining of groundwater and mining of vegetation. Together, they resulted in the sordid/ surrogate mining of the HGH. The loss of HGH manifests in the loss of rhythmic pattern of rainfall and the loss of mist as well. That is as simple as that. Therefore, we call it the GR driven climate change. The duel mining unleashed by GR left the terrain dry-moist less and shadeless. The terrain is thus rendered in to desert terrain. The loss of HGH resulted in climate change perse. The loss of HGH proved harmful in yielding in erratic pattern of rainfall. There is an other side to it. It is an open arms invitation to the predatory tropical Sun. The predatory tropical Sun brought with it the souring atmospheric temperatures, the costs of which are hardly noticed by MS Swaminathan and the school of the modern water science. The rain god gives at one side and the Sun god takes it away instantly. We have thus ended up in the grass underutilization of the rainwater yield, which is variously estimated at 3mm to 5mm per day. In grass terms, the loss could be estimated at 40% to 60%. It occasionally results in the undeclared crop holidays as is the case this year.


Four factors conspire together to result in the undeclared crop holidays. Firstly, the pattern of rainfall is erratic- scattered and isolated with long gaps in between. Secondly, the gaps are a field day to the predatory tropical Sun in general. The littoral rainfall is subject for instant evaporation losses. Thirdly, the farmers are in the habit of letting out two thirds of the heavy rainfall from the farm leaving only a third of the yield of major event of rainfall. Netting for the losses on account of the littoral rainfall and the undoing on the part of the farmer, what the rain fed upland is left with is pretty little. It turns out that the rain fed farm is left with 20% of the total of the monsoon yield. What if the year happens to be a deficit year in terms of the monsoon yield? The 20% translates in to pretty little in terms of the actual crop moisture support. That indeed is what the unsavory game at play to which the tallest practitioner pundits of the order of MS Swaminathan are seen going wholly going oblivion. Is there no way out? Should we go in for select GMOs which can withstand moisture stress?


Suffice it that we make it possible to harvest littoral rainfall, which is a huge gain of the order of 40% of the total seasonal yield. Suffice that we also put an end to the farmer's folly of letting out lions share of the part of heavy rainfall. The heavy rainfall is credited with 60% share of the total seasonal yield. Note also this is the one which contributes to the surface water and groundwater formation. If this is diverted to feed the soil water moisture part of the rain fed upland and also if we can erect an effective barricade against the predatory tropical Sun, we would have won our battle against the undeclared holidays and sub-optimal crop productivities. This part of our involvement may as well be taken as the good entry point activity. The entry point activity may otherwise be construed as the good launching pad for reversing the climate change.             

The GR is an Indian variant of industrial farming. "Controlled production under controlled conditions" is its basic premise. The GR mobilises hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers and water as part of creating controlled conditions with an expectation of realizing controlled rather anticipated production. The Indian variant took to the suicidal path of intensive mining of groundwater as a strategic intervention. The mining emptied groundwater reserves sooner than later, which in turn led to the surrogate mining of atmospheric water reserves culminating in climate change at the end. Having exhausted the reserves, the bore wells have had to rely on the given years monsoon yield only. Even here the situation, the situation is far from satisfactory. The loss of littoral rainfall together with part loss of heavy rainfall as stated earlier cuts short the groundwater formation by half its potential size. So is the case with the surface water formation as well. In other words, the irrigation potential is cut short by half in any given year. Come the year of deficit rainfall, the the bore wells as well as the surface water bodies hardly receive any water. It is time for undeclared crop holidays. The serious readers would not miss the point.


The GR introduced for the first time in history a fundamental shift in the pattern of water usage. We may call it the terminal consumption of water resource. We embark on using the freshwater resource quite on the lines of the fossil fuel and exhaust it. The terminal consumption is better understood in comparison of the way the monsoon yield was put to crop moisture support. The seasonal yield joined the reserves in the pre GR period. Two things of significance are note worthy in this context. The monsoon yield  surcharged the dynamic groundwater current, which in turn helped support the rain fed as well as the irrigated crops and withdrew in to the sea in a slow process across the year. The monsoon yield other wise was seen in the roll of a RE-CYCLICAL RESOURCE.  The monsoon yield originated the high seas and it is destined to rejoin the place of the origin and in the process it helped meet the needs of all and sundry of the stakeholders. Ideally the recycling implies NO LOSS and NO GAIN to the mass of the monsoon yield. Indeed, the mist is marked for its recycling of the intake of freshwater by way of evapo-transpiration.

What is most noteworthy in the final analysis is that the HGH entices the monsoon yield at one side and helps to recycle it primarily in the form of i) Recycling the freshwater resource in the form of I) mist II) dynamic groundwater current and III) surface water current.

We will now sum it up by a poser. We have no other option except choosing between Terminal Consumption of Freshwater Resource as is the practice in the post GR period and Restoring the Monsoon Yield of its Re-cyclical character in the interest of making possible sustainable agriculture.

We appeal to one and all that it is high time to embark on the road of rolling back the terminal consumption of freshwater which inter alias helps roll back the climate change.

Mohan Reddy & Gangi Reddy
Forum for Tropical Water


(Mohan Reddy Vishwavaram <>)    



Viewpoint Two


Dear Mohan Reddy and Gangi Reddy,
greetings from Timbaktu!!

I have read this piece of yours very carefully and slowly. And like I have said before, I am in total agreement with you.

However, I wish to humbly submit that if you keep writing and talking in a language that very few people can understand or even have the patience to read, you will not get too much attention. This is very much like Shri Aurobindo Ghosh's writings. Simple stuff made very complicated.

What you are trying to say and have been trying to say over such a long time are actually very simple principles of life and I am totally with you there. I think our work and action stands as a testimony to that. I request you therefore not to write in such esoteric terms. Soil is soil, moisture is moisture, mist is mist, underground water is underground water..... by creating new terms and complicating a very simple principle, I think we are loosing more friends than gaining them. I have known both of you for a long time. I have read all your earlier mails as well but this time I thought I should take the liberty of saying a few things. I hope that both of you will take my comments in the spirit that I have written to you.

However, I would like to say that it is not just modern water science or the green revolution that is the culprit. It is modern science itself. It is the way of thinking about and perceiving Nature.  It is the non understanding of the modern industrial man of the symbiotic relationship between plant, animals and soil. And the role the five elements fire, water, soil, air and void  in the cosmic ecology.  It is a mindset that believes productivity of any soil can be increased infinitely by fixing Nitrogen available abundantly in petrochemical waste. It is a mindset that does not even know that the soil is a living being and when it begins to die, we die too.

Am I sounding esoteric myself? I have been to the US and seen just a small part of the 18 million acres of land that has been laid to waste by modern industrial agriculture growing type 2 corn, that cannot be eaten by humans. When there is no corn growing there, nothing else grows there, no grass, no animals, no birds and of course no humans. They say that 80% of the food available in the US is processed and over 60% of that is nothing else but CORN grown with petrochemical waste. And the green revolution is a product of that thinking.

There has been a paradigm shift in the philosophy of living and our farmers are also being carried away in that along with the scientists, bureaucrats and other agents of development. The soul of a nation is its agriculture and relationship it has with its land and other natural elements that happen to be available to it. Unless that is reversed, unless the health of the soil and the animals and the plants is nurtured and restored, we are all walking on very thin ice.

We, my friends, are causing climate change. Its not climate change that is destroying agriculture or causing the crisis. Of course there is lot more to all this. But we will talk about it at some other point of time.

Warm Regards and Best Wishes.

Bablu (Bablu Ganguly,

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