Using Experimental Evidence to Scale Up Alternate Wetting and Drying Technology for Rice Production in Bangladesh
The production of rice requires flooded fields with massive extraction of groundwater using electricity. Previous research has shown that a simple perforated pipe (called Alternate Wetting and Drying technology) can reduce water use in deep water table areas by nearly 20 percent but only in villages where farmers pay volumetric prices. Secondly, targeting these pipes to pump owners in areas with shallow water tables, instead of directly to farmers leads to sizable savings of electricity and therefore reduces carbon emissions. Two leading public sector agencies in Bangladesh—the Barind Metropolitan Development Authority (BMDA) and the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)—of the government are mandated to train people in the use of this technology. We propose to refine their strategies based on our impact evidence. For the BMDA, we will use their prepaid card data to target farmers in villages with high debit card penetration, for example, where farmers pay for water volumetrically. For the DAE, we will target tubewell owners instead of farmers. These modifications in strategy are direct offshoots of our previous research and intended to lead to sizable savings in electricity use and carbon emissions.