RICE FARMERS have been advised to avoid excessive water use to prepare them for an expected water shortage, an expert from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said.  

Kristine S. Pascual, PhilRice senior science research specialist, said studies indicate that 15 to 20 million hectares of irrigated rice land across the world will experience water shortages by 2025.  

She said improvements to water management hold the potential to save 1,400 liters of water per kilogram of rice.

“We need 4,000 liters… of water to produce 1 kilogram of rice. With proper water use, only 2,600 liters… will be needed to produce the same amount of rice,” Ms. Pascual said in a statement.  

“Farmers are encouraged to use controlled irrigation. During crop growth, farmers should practice alternate wetting and drying aided by (an) observation well (to determine) if water is insufficient,” she added.

According to Ms. Pascual, rice fields lack water if deep cracks appear in the soil for more than three days. Fields are considered to hold excess water if they are submerged in five centimeters of water for seven days or more.

She said the lack of water during vegetative stage causes leaf-rolling, leaf tip-drying, and stunted growth in rice, adding that too much water produces small leaves, lower tillering, and dark-colored roots. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave