Climate change evidence and community level autonomous adaptation measures in a canal irrigated agriculture system of Pakistan

This paper predicts climate change pattern and outlines suitable adaptation strategies related to irrigated agricultural practices in Hakra Branch Canal Command (HBCC) of Pakistan. Climate change predictions were simulated using models perturbed with climatic data and A2 emission scenario. A biased correction method was applied to the simulated future climatic data. The study site reveals different nature of vulnerabilities to the changing climate based on climate change scenario downscaling. The variation in rainfall patterns, especially the seasonal shifts, would have likely impact on water availability for irrigation and subsequently on the crop growth. A detailed survey was conducted to investigate how farmers in HBCC perceive variations in weather patterns and the proposed adaptation measures. The statistical significance of farmers’ perceptions and decisions about adaptation measures are reported with regard to their location along the secondary canals. The literature offers a range of potential climate change adaptation measures to the farming community that sometimes are not coherent with the national policy and the local practice. Farmers generally feel it difficult to pick a suitable adaptation option that suits their particular conditions. This research proposes a simple yet robust criterion to prioritize the potential climate change adaptation measures. This criterion (colloquially known as 3P) is based on three subjective factors – i.e. policy, prevalence and practicability – and it could be scaled out to other areas where results of climate change studies are available.