Rainfall Variability and Rice Sustainability: An Evaluation Study of Two Distinct Rice-Growing Ecosystems

Masoud K. Barati, V. S. Manivasagam*, Mohammad Reza Nikoo, Pasoubady Saravanane, Alagappan Narayanan, Sudheesh Manalil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inconsistency of the Indian monsoon has constantly threatened the country’s food production, especially key food crops such as rice. Crop planning measures based on rainfall patterns during the rice-growing season can significantly improve the sustainable water usage for water-intensive crops such as rice. This study examines the variability of Indian monsoonal rainfall in rainfed and irrigated rice-cultivating regions to improve rainfall utilization and irrigation water-saving practices. Two distinct rice-growing conditions in southern peninsular India are chosen for this study. The preliminary seasonal rainfall analysis (1951–2015) showed anomalies in the Sadivayal (rainfed rice) region compared to the Karaikal (irrigated rice). The dry-spell analysis and weekly rainfall classification suggested shifting the sowing date to earlier weeks for the Thaladi season (September–February) and Kar season (May–September) to avoid exposure to water stress in Sadivayal. Harvesting of excess rainwater during the wet weeks is proposed as a mitigation strategy for Karaikal during the vegetative stage of the Kuruvai season (June–October) and Late Thaladi season (October–February), where deficit rainfall is expected. Results showed that an adaptation strategy of early sowing is the most sustainable measure for rainfed rice cultivation. However, harvesting the excess rainwater is an ideal strategy to prevent water stress during deficient rainfall periods in irrigated rice farming. This comparative study proposes a comprehensive rainfall analysis framework to develop sustainable water-efficient rice cultivation practices for the changing rainfall patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1242
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Cauvery delta
  • irrigation planning
  • rainfall trend analysis
  • rainfall variability
  • rainfed rice
  • sustainable cropping strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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