Solar-powered farming is quickly depleting the world’s groundwater supply

Tushaar Shah, a Scientist Emeritus at IWMI, comments on the rapid spread of solar pumps among rural communities in many water-starved regions, including India.

The crisis is particularly stark in India. The world’s most populous nation “stands at the threshold of a revolution in adoption of solar irrigation pumps,” says Tushaar Shah, a water economist for the International Water Management Institute. The government intends to raise the number of solar pumps more than tenfold to 3.5 million by 2026. The country is already the world’s largest consumer of groundwater, with farmers each year pumping onto their fields an estimated 50 cubic miles more water than the monsoon rains replace. Unchecked, says Shah, solar power is set to make the situation worse.

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