Flexible land and water use; a new concept integrating water management and spatial planning (FLEX INDIA)

In the upcoming countries, industrialization attracts many migrants, as is the case in South India, where people move from rural communities to the growing (mega) cities (urban centers).

Due to increased welfare of these industrial workers and the growth of a middle class population, food demand changes fast (in terms of both quantity and quality: e.g. more meat), which puts additional pressure on the rural areas to produce sufficient good quality food.

Fragmented small land holdings, insufficient rainfall and unorganized market access already hamper agricultural productivity. Add to this higher temperatures and an increased variability in rainfall due to climate change and the result is a conflict between a growing and more constant but also inflexible demand on the one hand and an uncertain supply in an ever more variable climate on the other.

Goals of this project are:

  • Sustainable development of (sub) catchments in India through efficient use of available (rain)water
  • Scientific: Insight in the extent of the contribution of flexible land and water management in a variable climate and conditions of water stress on sustainable development.


Results are:

  • a peer reviewed article on factors influencing flexible land and water use, with a specific focus on information exchange
  • PhD-thesis.

The societal impact will be: Assessment of the vulnerability of the different agro-ecosystems in terms of food security and water use efficiency and vulnerability to climate variability and socio-economic change

Timeline approach

Activities are:

  • Quantitative assessment of 3 prominent irrigated agro-ecosystems in India
  • Development of an analysis
  • Literature review
  • Field experiments
  • Modelling
  • Cooperation with Indian partners.