The Division is committed to pursuing interdisciplinary research on standardization of subsurface drainage technology for amelioration of waterlogged saline irrigated lands, regional salinity management in irrigation commands using Satellite Remote Sensing, Geographical Information System (GIS), modeling and Decision Support Systems (DSS), development and propagation of groundwater skimming structures in coastal regions and individual farmer based groundwater recharge systems including better designs of recharge filters for augmenting groundwater and improving its quality in different regions of India. Further promising technologies of subsurface drip systems for use of sewage for horticultural crops, laser leveling and micro- irrigation systems for resource conservation and improving water productivity under fresh and saline groundwater conditions, disposal and management of saline drainage water and field/ regional water and salt balance models have been developed.

In addition to research activities, the Division is providing four pivotal central services to the institute viz. Agro-meteorological observatory and weather database, Computer center, Workshop, and Upgradation of institute website.

Over the last 25 years, the Division has undertaken externally funded national and international projects and consultancies to the extent of Rs. 25 Crores. Among other awards and recognitions, the scientists of the Division have bagged Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Awards (4) and Fellowships of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (4) and of Indian National Academy of Engineering (3).

Research Achievements

The Division has made significant contributions to the hydrology, irrigation and drainage of salt affected soils and use of poor quality water in agriculture and horticulture.

  • Design and evaluation of on-farm land development works, surface irrigation system, leaching and surface and subsurface vertical drainage requirements of alkali soil reclamation package. Laser land leveling on farmers’ fields to demonstrate its impact on improved water use efficiency and productivity of rice and wheat crops.

  • Development of 3 tier rainwater management system for rice-wheat cropping system to improve surface drainage and to increase the ground water recharge in alkali lands. Estimation of runoff potential under different land uses in alkali soils. Rice fields serve as effective groundwater recharge basins in falling water table areas.

  • Identification of optimal structural and management strategies of canal irrigation system to minimize groundwater recharge in rising water table areas through field studies and optimization models. Recommendation on volume based warabandi, optimal stream size for unit command area and provision of auxiliary storage structures at watercourse level for equitable and reliable canal water supply.

  • Application of optimization models to prioritize system improvement interventions at farm, distribution and conveyance system levels to control seepage and to allocate different salinity waters to crops of varying salt tolerance and for conjunctive use planning of saline and canal water.

  • Remote sensing and GIS based methodology for assessing crop productivity in irrigation commands under saline environment

  • Estimation of crop coefficients and evapo-transpiration of important crops viz. wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, sunflower and berseem using electronically weighing lysimeter.

  • Development of a techno-economic and environmentally viable subsurface drainage (SSD) technology for amelioration of waterlogged saline soils in arid and semi-arid regions of India. Large scale mechanically installed subsurface drainage projects implemented in 8000 ha area in Haryana and additional 30000 ha area in Rajasthan, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharsahtra and Karnataka. Pilot studies have indicated that natural or artificially constructed evaporation ponds of 5-10% drainage area can provide interim solutions for the management of saline subsurface drainage effluent.

  • Development of a number of simulation models to provide decision support on optimal drainage design, prediction of drainage water salinity and planning of sustainable strategies for management of saline drainage effluent. These models have contributed adequately to the abandoning of the concept of critical water table depth in favour of net downward water flux for deciding drain depth and consequent acceptance of shallow drains in arid and semi- arid regions.

  • Application of regional/ basin scale models to predict water table behavior under varying recharge and withdrawal options for better planning of water and land resources.

  • Design, implementation and evaluation of individual farmer based groundwater recharge wells coupled to a recharge filter for augmenting ground water, improving quality (salinity, alkalinity and fluoride) and enhancing farmers’ income by saving submerged crops by recharge of excess water. Refinement in the designs of vertical recharge filters consisting of layers of coarse sand, small gravel and boulders in a small brick masonry chamber, including thickness and size of different filter materials.

  • Development of subsurface drip technology on the use of sewage water for cultivation of guava and amla with papaya as an inter fruit crop with no or minimum hazards on human health and surface/ groundwater contamination. Finding solutions to the problem of back pressure and clogging of drip emitters with the use of sewage water.

  • Design and fabrication of micro- processor based automatic irrigation control and salinity management systems