Soil and Water Management strategies for Sustainable Production in Coastal-Saline Zone of West Bengal
Authors: Tarik Mitran1, Sunanda Biswas2*, N. P. S. Yaduvanshi2 and V. K. Sharma2
1Soil Land Resources Assessment Division, N R S Centre, ISRO, Hyderabad
2Division of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi-110012
*Corresponding author, email:

The sustainability of agriculture in the coastal ecosystem of West Bengal (Sunderbans deltas constitute a major portion) is seriously threatened by twin problems of water logging and soil salinity. Out of 5.82 million ha of cultivable land in the state, about 0.723 million ha is saline and waterlogged land and vulnerable to crop productivity due to high rainfall runoff accumulation in monsoon season and water scarcity in post monsoon season. Tidal seawater intrusion is also widespread in this coastal region. Such ingression contaminates the fresh groundwater regime and reduces the fertility status of soil, which ultimately affects the agricultural production in negative way. There is a scarcity of good quality surface and groundwater water for irrigation during summer season. The brackish surface water is abundantly available in the areas. Due to presence of brackish water table at a shallow depth there is always an increase in soil and water salinity in dry months. The land remains almost fallow throughout the year after Kharif. During the remaining season of the year (Rabi and summer) 90% of the land remains fallow due to soil and water salinity and lack of irrigation water. The local farmers due to the unavailability of fresh water in the adjoining areas are bound to use the easily available saline canal or drainage water for crop irrigation. A suitable soil and water management strategies is therefore required to mitigate the ill effects of degraded coastal land and water for sustained productivity. In acute water scarcity in summer months, rainwater harvesting is an ideal solution to mitigate the irrigation needs of the crop. The application of Green manure, Vermicompost, Farm Yard Manures and other organics helps to improve degraded soil properties and reduce soil salinity. The judicious and integrated use of available organic sources of plant nutrient along with inorganic fertilizer enhanced the fertilizer use efficiency and yield of crops which are generally poor in the coastal saline soils. The integrated farming approaches will help in maintaining good soil health through sustainable soil and water management and will ensure better environmental quality.

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About Author / Additional Info:
Division of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi-110012