Aug , 2021, Volume : 2 Article : 10

Water Budgeting and Auditing for Crop Planning and Management

Author : Arti Kumari, Ashutosh Upadhyaya, Pawan Jeet, Akram Ahmad and Ved Prakash

Cite this article as:


Kumari, A.,  Upadhyaya, A.,  Jeet, P., Ahmad, A., and Prakash, V. (2021). Water Budgeting and Auditing for Crop Planning and Management. Food and Scientific Reports. 2 (8) 46-49.



Water budgeting can be a highly effective technique of involving the local community in the understanding and monitoring of water resources where as auditing helps in indentifying the risk areas of water lost, how to minimize it and how much water used in different sectors etc. This article has been addressed its utility in Indian scenario, methodology adopted as well as successful examples which motivate the other villagers for water conservation.

 Keywords: Water budgeting, auditing, water resources, Crop planning and management


Globally, per capita fresh water availability is a key challenge as the world`s population continues to grow (Mall et al., 2006). By 2025, India`s annually per capita water availability is expected to diminish to the point of water scarcity (Poddar et al., 2014). Apart from that, rising food demand, non-agricultural water use and global climate change, have put a strain on already restricted water supplies (Rosegrant et al., 2009). Water scarcity is a major worry in the world today, and India is not an exception. The current imbalance between water availability and demand generates water scarcity, which is a major concern in the world today. The majority of Indian farmers struggle with low irrigation efficiency (up to 40% in surface irrigation), under-utilization of irrigation water potentials, inefficient water management and declining groundwater table which are necessary to tackle in present water scenario. These challenges will address issues such as how to improve on-farm water productivity, what needs to change, and so on. The effectiveness of many Indian irrigation projects is likewise not up to par (Singh et al., 2010). As a result, there is a need to improve water use efficiency by focusing “more crop per drop” evaluating the performance of agricultural production systems and recommending management practices at the field to river basin scale, which necessitates a thorough understanding of the processes influencing the water budget, as well as regular auditing of the water resources at the catchment or watershed level (Molden and Sakthivadivel, 1999). Precipitation, irrigation water applied and upward flux are important inflow parameters in crop water budgeting, whereas surface runoff, deep percolation and evapotranspiration are important outflow parameters, and the difference must equal the change in soil moisture storage within the root zone of the crops. Water audit informs us how much water is lost from different water supply systems and how much it costs to use it. It is an accounting technique that allows for the identification, measurement, monitoring and reduction of water, and revenue losses, as well as the assessment of current usage. Water auditing is a comprehensive examination that allows for more efficient and effective management of scarce resources with improved reliability (Borekar, 2017).  Keeping in view of the prevailing water scenario, the water budgeting and it’s auditing becomes an inevitable activity in India and abroad.

 Why water budgeting and its auditing is necessary?

·   In India, a cost-effective surface irrigation strategy has yet to be underdeveloped, and irrigation is unregulated, resulting in low On-farm irrigation efficiency.

·   To give a practical solution to inadequate irrigation efficiency, poor On-farm water management, and net returns due to the non-availability of water balance metrics at various scales from field to basin.

·   Inadequate surface irrigation design and operating guidelines.

·   Assists in identifying places at danger of water loss, wasteful uses and the necessary corrective actions.

·   To raise awareness among water consumers about the importance of water conservation.

·   Creation of a database to aid in the establishment of water management policies.

·   Identifying, adapting or developing solutions to water-related problems.

Benefits of Water budgeting and auditing in agriculture

There are following benefits of water budgeting and auditing in agriculture as shown in fig 1. 

Methodology adopted for water budgeting and its auditing in agriculture

It is required to estimate crop water requirements as well as water requirements for domestic and livestock purposes, water availability for various crops, and water surplus/deficit for the current cropping plan in order to estimate water budgeting at the village level. Ronald and Debra (2005) also proposed a method for calculating water budgets in agriculture at the village level. Apart from that, it’s auditing include the amount of available water, water provided to various sectors (metered and unmetered customers), water distribution system losses, and ways to remedy water loss from the farm`s irrigation system. Methodology to estimate crop water budgeting at village level is presented in figure 2

The standard methodology for water auditing was also jointly developed by American Water Works Association (AWWA) and International Water Association (IWA) in 2000 in worksheet format (Table 1).

 Modeling concept of Water budgeting and its auditing

Without understanding each component of water budgeting in agriculture, it is impossible to manage water resources in a sustainable manner. It is essentially a mass balance strategy that considers numerous water sources and sinks that affect water storage in soil. Water budgeting has three main components: inflow, outflow, and a change in soil moisture storage, which accounts for the volume of water that enters and leaves a closed space over a period of time. Researchers have also looked into the feasibility of using the water balance modelling approach for economic and hydrological study of on-farm reservoirs at the field scale (Panigrahi and Panda, 2001).

Table 1: AWWA/IWA water balance system

System input volume

Authorized consumption

Billed authorized consumption

·       Billed metered consumption

Revenue water

·       Billed unmetered consumption

Unbilled authorized consumption

·       unbilled metered consumption




Non-revenue water

·       unbilled unmetered consumption



Water losses


Apparent losses

·       Systematic data handling error

·       Customer metering inaccuracies

·       Unauthorized consumption


Real losses

·       Leakage on transmission and distribution mains

·       Leakage and overflows at utility storage tanks

·       Leakage on service connection up to the point of customer metering

In this perspective, Narasimhan (2008) looked at the components of India`s water budget. Sudhishri et al. (2007) used the Thornthwaite book keeping technique to investigate the water balance components in the Upper Kolab watershed of Orissa in order to manage water deficits. According to Mayer et al. (2008) Water budget studies enhanced water usage efficiency, increased water consumption and improved drought response, as well as offering prospective benefits to water utilities and consumers in dealing with increasing water scarcity and rising costs. Water budget studies aid in the identification of evapotranspiration measurement gaps (Alavi et al., 2006). Karim et al. (2012) studied the Thornthwaite water balance model (McCabe and Markstrom, 2007) to estimate seasonal and annual water balance components in Bangladesh for the period 1986 to 2006. Generally three types of numerical models such as groundwater models like MODFLOW, FEFLOW; Surface water models like WATER BUDGET, SWMM, SWAT, SHE and Conjunctive or integrated continuum models like MIKE SHE, MODFLOW-HMS, HydroGeo-Sphere, are used for water budget analysis but their selection primarily depends on dominant flow processes (surface or groundwater). Apart from this, In "Water audit: a case study of shrivardhan`s water supply scheme," Kulkarni et al. (2015) stated that comprehensive audits can provide the utility with a detailed profile of the water supply system and water users, allowing for better resource management and enhanced reliability. It`s a crucial step toward water conservation that, when combined with a leak detection strategy, may save the utility a lot of money and effort. Similarly, many researchers found that water auditing can give affirmative, accurate information, proof, stories and other outputs around which carefully focused awareness campaigns of water conservation can be developed and implemented. The goal is to shift away from public awareness campaigns and communication tactics that are mostly based on wishful thinking and a naive search for easy remedies to solve water crisis problem at ground level.

 Success stories of crop water budgetting

Kolegaon in the state of Maharashtra is representing a successful example to implement crop water budget exercise to cope with recurring droughts. Apart from it, crop water budgeting exercise pioneered by the FAO, also empowers the farmers of Andhra Pradesh and witnessed at least 33% water savings in some areas. Farol Nagariya, a remote village in the Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, is also setting the example of implementing water budgeting tool to tackle water scarcity and ultimately improve the groundwater table (Figure 3). Due to popularization and its success, this model is again replicated in six water-stressed development blocks of the district of Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.

 In Telangana state water budgeting exercise was carried out in 7 gram pahnchyats of Rangareddy and Nagaurkurnool districts and their neighboring hamlets and found that the most of the villages are facing water crisis problem due to limited rainfall for the previous three years and farmers have still used irrigation to grow water-intensive crops and cattle. The data of water budget exercise has presented a meaningful example of its usefulness. Most of the farmers here grew water-intensive crops and irrigated their fields in the traditional way. But after the water budget exercise, the farmers here started using micro-irrigation instead of surface irrigation for water saving and saved water on a large scale (Table 2).

Table 2: Water budget exercise in different village




Village name

Total water received from rainfall (crore litres)

Total water available

 (agriculture, domestic, livestock) (crore litres)

Total water requirements (agriculture, domestic, livestock)

(crore litres)

Water deficit values


Water saved by using micro irrigation

(crore litres)






































It was concluded that a basic water budgeting meeting with "numbers" made all the difference in getting communities to think about and reflect on their predicament, as well as prompting them to seek solutions. Such type of exercises in villages prompted some reflection on the importance of water conservation and the establishment of a village-level water governance structure.


Water budgeting and auditing is an effective step for water crisis and better availability of potable water, which is very helpful in ensuring sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and ground water conservation in times of climate change. Maintaining gender participation is imperative. Information based on water budgeting and auditing, the farming community prepares and implements crop plans before sowing of Rabi. Farmers are quickly adopting efficient irrigation systems (drip, sprinkler, micro irrigation system) as a result of its success. As a result, at this period of water scarcity, the  water budgeting and auditing helps in providing a scientific foundation for evidence-based strategy building, operational decision-making, and  awareness-raising campaigns among rural people for crop planning and management.



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