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Prof. Chittaranjan Ray, Director, Nebraska Water Center has given Institute Seminar on 08/11/2016

Topic: Water for Global Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities Speaker: Prof. Chittaranjan Ray, Director, Nebraska Water Center
Venue: Community Center, Arugul Campus, IIT Bhubaneswar Date/Time: 8th November 2016 6.00 PM to 7.00 PM


The current world population of 7 billion is expected to reach 9.5 billion in 2050. Most of the growth will occur in Africa followed by Asia. With the rise of income, the calorie intake is also increasing as well as the proportion of animal source protein. Thus more food and animal feed will be needed with time. Sustaining a high rate of food production will require improved efficiency in irrigation, use of hybrids and fertilizers, and alternative energy sources for irrigation and other agricultural activities. Most countries will try to reduce the yield gaps (difference between the current yield and potential maximum yield). Efforts are currently underway in many food-insecure countries to examine the magnitude of the yield gap, such as the Global Yield Gap Atlas project funded by many agencies. Sophisticated crop models accounting for soil, climatic information, management (irrigation or rain-fed), hybrids, and fertilizer addition can estimate the potential maximum yield from a given location. Enhancement of production in the field is achieved with high-efficiency irrigation systems (such as low-pressure sprinkler systems or subsurface drip irrigation) along with appropriate fertilization and the use of plant protection chemicals. Energy for irrigation can be produced more efficiently and economically using alternatives such as wind and solar power in certain sections of the grids, or by using natural gas as it becomes more abundant. The Great Plains region of the United States, with its high efficiency irrigation systems will continue to serve as a food basket for the world. For sustainable production systems, we need to work within the constraints of groundwater availability, streamflow depletion, groundwater contamination, and greenhouse gas emission. High efficiency production systems in the Great Plains states, accounting for these limitations will be needed to meet the food demands of the growing population in the next decades. For Indian scenario, constraints in energy and water to achieve high efficiency food production systems, fragmented lands and limitations of mechanization, and potential means to alleviate these will be discussed.


Prof. Chittaranjan Ray completed his Ph.D. from Illinois (Urbana) in 1994 from the Civil Engineering department with the research work focused on developing a dual-permeability model for pesticide transport in macroporous agricultural soils. He worked at the Illinois State Water Survey from 1989-1997 as a research associate and then as an associate scientist focusing on water quality and water supply issues. Prior to that, he worked in the firm of Arcadis Geraghty & Miller as a staff engineer from 1985-1988. He was a faculty member at the University of Hawaii (Civil & Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Research Center) from August 1997- July 2013 and served as the interim director of WRRC from 1/2010-7/2013. Now he is the Director of Nebraska Water Center and Professor of Civil Eng (since August 2013). His research is focused on water quality aspects of agriculture, water efficiency in production systems, and riverbank filtration for water supply. He is native of the Odisha state and completed his B. Tech. from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology.