Barkina Faso
  Countries > India - West Bengal > Background
West Bengal
Overview Background Solutions Documents
West Bengal is a state in eastern India. Its geography is diverse, ranging from the Himalayan Mountains in the north to the low-lying mangrove forests of the Ganges Delta in the south. The north's climate is humid subtropical, while the south's is classified as tropical savannah. The main seasons are summer, rainy season, a short autumn and winter.

Though it occupies only 2.7% of India's land, West Bengal supports over 7.8% of the population and is the nation's most densely populated state. Almost 70% of its people depend on agriculture. Thirty-seven per cent of the population live in poverty (a much higher number than the national level of 26%) and the majority of the poor live in rural areas.

The Ganges and its tributaries flow through West Bengal. Three-quarters of the state's land area comprises alluvial plain, making it highly suitable for agriculture. However, agricultural production has been stagnant in the past few years, and West Bengal has not attained food security for its people. Rainfall is high, at 1,200–3,000mm per year, but water is unevenly distributed. Canal irrigation is declining, while groundwater irrigation is increasing.

Better agricultural water management (AWM) is seen as key to improving farm outputs. The AgWater Solutions Project has been working in West Bengal. Team members initially reviewed existing water-management practices and their geographical context using field observations, secondary data sources, household interviews and discussions with key informants. Some of the existing technologies and practices include:

Madhya Pradesh
West Bengal
Electric pumps.
    Treadle pumps.
    Diesel pumps.
    Rainwater-harvesting structures – to capture water and reduce soil erosion.
Based on the initial review and advice from a range of stakeholders in the country, the project team subsequently carried out more in-depth research around groundwater availability and sustainability, and related polices. Detailed case studies and information on other project activities in West Bengal, including research, workshops and mapping, can be found on the Country Solutions page and the Documents page.