Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



The Value of Irrigation Water Used For Land Reclamation: A Comment (Notes & Comments)

Author: C. E. Finney

In their article on the economics of water use on saline and alkali lands, published in the Spring 1968 issue of the Pakistan Development Review, Ch. Muhammed Rafiq, M. Alim Mian, and R. Brinkman emphasize the very low economic returns from water used to reclaim saline and alkaline land. It is conclusively shown that where water is scarce it is far better utilized for raising the intensity of cropping on the existing cultivated area. The authors also contend that the reclamation of poor saline-alkali land for agriculture is un¬economic or marginal for the private person, even at concessional water rates. This is undoubtedly correct under the conditions of permanent water shortage, but where surplus water is available or additional supplies can be provided at a reasonable cost reclamation may well be justifiable from both the farmer’s and the nation’s points of view.

C. E. Finney

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