Intentional flooding of rice fields and payment for ecosystem services in Kumamoto, Japan

In Managing Aquifer Recharge: A Showcase for Resilience and Sustainability
Chapter: 23

In this novel and integrated MAR approach, an offsetting scheme under the concept of payment for ecosystem services (PES) is used to enhance groundwater recharge along the Shirakawa River in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. The scheme gives a cash incentive to farmers who pond their abandoned rice fields for groundwater recharge. For a specified period of the year, the fields undergo intentional inundation in order to enhance the recharge of the underlying aquifer. In turn, major stakeholders reliant on a steady supply of groundwater down-gradient, such as the Kumamoto City Waterworks and Sewerage Bureau and some private sector businesses, have agreed to pay the farmers as an offset for their groundwater abstraction.

Karen G.