The full title of this project is Mitigating climate change impacts on India agriculture through improved irrigation water management (MICCI).

Background to the project

India is an intensely agrarian economy with more than 70% of the population relying on rainfed agriculture for employment and livelihoods. However, there have recently been considerable changes in both the spatial and temporal patterns of the monsoon rainfall, resulting in reduced crop yields and increasing uncertainty in food security and the state of the rural economy.

To combat the water scarcity problem, farmers engage in supplemental irrigation by abstracting from surface and ground water sources. These abstractions currently account for almost 80% of the total water demand, and while this is predicted to reduce in future years largely due to anticipated improvements in irrigation water productivity, the proportion will still be as high as 70% by 2025. To achieve the anticipated improvements, however, the irrigation water must be applied at the right time and amount, but climate change will affect the irrigation demand as well as the quantity and timing of water availability, with consequences for the performance of reservoirs, tube wells and other on-farm irrigation infrastructures.


Irrigation diversion canal

The aim of MICCI project therefore is to assess the impacts and uncertainty of climate change and variability on irrigation water security and to evaluate the effectiveness of better irrigation water management strategies to reduce the impacts of water scarcity on livelihoods and food security in India. Its specific objectives are to:

  • Assess the impacts, and uncertainty, of climate change on water resources availability for agriculture within a range of climatically diverse areas in northern India;
  • Assess the impacts of climate-induced shifting patterns in monsoon rainfall on crop-soil moisture regimes and irrigation demand;
  • Develop and evaluate the effectiveness of robust irrigation water management approaches to achieve stakeholder-relevant outcomes under uncertain impacts on water resources and soil moisture;
  • Implement relevant impact plan activities that ensure maximum benefits to stakeholders.

Key project members

MICCI is being led by Heriot-Watt University (Dr Adeloye) and involves Cranfield University (Dr Holman) in the UK. The lead institution in India is the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (Professor Ojha) supported by National Institutes of Technology at Kurukshetra and Hamirpur.

Principal Investigator: Dr Adebayo J. Adeloye, Heriot-Watt University, UK

Co-Principal Investigators:

Dr Ian Holman, Cranfield University, UK

Dr C. S. P. Ojha, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India


Dr K. K. Singh, National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra, India

Dr Vijay Shankar Dogra, National Institute of Technology Hamirpur, India

Research staff:

Dr B. Soundharajan, Heriot-Watt University, UK

Dr Renji Remesan, Cranfield University, UK

G.S. Kaushika, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India

We are also working with stakeholders in India (farmers, regional water management authority and policy makers) and leading UK irrigation practitioners to deliver outputs that will have lasting positive impacts on irrigation practices and management in India.

Project members at IIT Rourkee

Useful links to related websites

Ganga River Basin Management Plan – GeoSpatial Database

India Meteorological Department

India Water Portal

India – Water Resources Information System

International Water Management Institute

Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security

Rain Water Harvesting

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