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Impacts of off-farm employment on groundwater irrigation in North China

  • Ning Yin (a1), Qiuqiong Huang (a2) and Yumeng Wang (a3)

This study examines the relationship between groundwater irrigation and off-farm employment with a set of household level data collected in North China. The results provide evidence that off-farm employment reduces both time spent on irrigation in terms of total hours of irrigation and the amount of groundwater pumped. However, these effects have not resulted in losses of crop production. In fact, water productivity measured as output value produced per m3 of groundwater pumped is higher among households with off-farm employment. These seemingly contradictory findings are explained by the increased use of water-saving technologies such as furrow irrigation, underground pipes and/or lined canals. These technologies reduce seepage losses during the conveyance of groundwater as well as during irrigation of the fields. As a result, less groundwater needs to be pumped to achieve the same level of groundwater irrigation application rate in the field.

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Environment and Development Economics
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