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Which of The Following Are Water Intensive Crops? (a) Wheat and Rice (b) Wheat and Sugarcane (c) Sugarcane and Rice (d) Wheat and Gram
Agriculture is a crucial sector that provides food for the world's growing population. However, agriculture is also one of the biggest consumers of water. In fact, agriculture accounts for approximately 70% of global freshwater withdrawals.
This is a significant concern as freshwater resources are becoming increasingly scarce. One of the main drivers of water consumption in agriculture is the cultivation of water-intensive crops.
What is Water-Intensive Crops?
Water-intensive crops are crops that require a significant amount of water to grow. These crops are typically grown in areas that are already water-stressed, exacerbating the scarcity of freshwater resources in these regions. Water-intensive crops are also known as water-thirsty crops or high water-use crops.
There are several factors that contribute to a crop's water intensity. These include the crop's water requirements, the climate and soil conditions of the area it is grown in, the irrigation methods used, and the management practices employed.
Water-intensive crops are typically grown in areas with high evapotranspiration rates. Evapotranspiration is the process by which water is transferred from the soil to the atmosphere through evaporation and plant transpiration. Crops that have a high transpiration rate, such as rice, sugarcane, and cotton, require more water to grow compared to crops with a lower transpiration rate, such as wheat and barley.
The irrigation methods used to grow water-intensive crops also contribute to their water intensity. Flood irrigation, for example, is a method that involves flooding the field with water, which can result in significant water losses due to evaporation, runoff, and infiltration. In contrast, drip irrigation is a more water-efficient method that involves delivering water directly to the plant roots, minimizing water losses.
The management practices employed, such as fertilizer use and crop rotation, can also affect a crop's water intensity. For example, crops that require high levels of nitrogen fertilizer, such as corn and rice, require more water to grow. Crop rotation can help reduce a crop's water intensity by improving soil health and reducing water requirements.
Impact of Water-Intensive Crops on the Environment
The cultivation of water-intensive crops has several environmental impacts, including:
Depletion of Freshwater Resources
The cultivation of water-intensive crops can deplete freshwater resources in areas that are already water-stressed. This can result in a reduction in water availability for other uses, such as domestic and industrial use, and for the maintenance of ecosystems.
The use of fertilizers and pesticides in the cultivation of water-intensive crops can result in the contamination of water sources, leading to water pollution. This can have negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems and the health of humans and animals that depend on these water sources.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The cultivation of water-intensive crops can result in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the use of fertilizers and the release of methane during rice cultivation.
The cultivation of water-intensive crops can result in the loss of biodiversity, as natural habitats are converted into agricultural land, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers can harm wildlife.
Examples of Water-Intensive Crops
Rice is one of the most water-intensive crops, requiring approximately 2,500 liters of water to produce one kilogram of rice. The majority of rice is grown in Asia, where freshwater resources are already scarce.
Cotton is another water-intensive crop, requiring approximately 10,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton. Cotton is typically grown in arid regions where water resources are limited, making it an even greater strain on local water resources.
Sugarcane is also a highly water-intensive crop, requiring approximately 1,500 litters of water to produce one kilogram of sugar. Sugarcane is typically grown in tropical regions, where water resources may already be scarce.
Alfalfa is a crop that is commonly used for animal feed, and it is also highly water-intensive. It requires approximately 700 litres of water to produce one kilogram of alfalfa, making it a significant drain on water resources.
Avocados have become increasingly popular in recent years, but they are also a highly water-intensive crop, requiring approximately 2,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of avocados. This is particularly concerning as avocados are often grown in regions with limited water resources.
Almonds have also become increasingly popular in recent years, but they are another highly water-intensive crop, requiring approximately 3,800 litres of water to produce one kilogram of almonds. This is particularly concerning as the majority of almonds are grown in California, which has been experiencing severe droughts in recent years.
Water-intensive crops are a significant concern, as they contribute to the depletion of freshwater resources and have several negative impacts on the environment. While these crops are essential for food production, it is essential to reduce their water intensity to ensure the sustainable use of freshwater resources.
Improving irrigation methods, using drought-resistant crops, crop rotation, conservation agriculture, and rainwater harvesting are just some of the ways we can reduce the water intensity of agriculture. By working together to reduce the water intensity of agriculture, we can ensure the sustainable use of freshwater resources and protect our planet's ecosystems.
Ans: OPTION ©-SUGARCANE AND RICE
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