In order to increase yield and water productivity, arrest the mining of groundwater, and achieve quality production in Northwest India, there is a need to optimise the transplanting time for newly evolved, high-yielding basmati cultivars. This study in the Indian Punjab was aimed at investigating the effect of date of transplanting (5, 15, and 25 July) on yield, quality traits, and water productivity of four basmati rice cultivars (Pusa Basmati 1121, Pusa Basmati1509, Punjab Basmati 3, and Basmati 386) varying in photoperiod sensitivity. Water productivity of Pusa Basmati1509 was higher than of photoperiod-sensitive cultivars (Punjab Basmati 386 and Punjab Basmati 3) for each transplanting date. Water productivity [irrigation, WPI; total (irrigation + rainfall), WPI+R; and real crop, WPET] of Punjab Basmati 3 for the 25 July transplanting was similar to Pusa Basmati 1509 for the 5 July transplanting. For the 25 July transplanting, WPI, WPI+R, and WPET of Pusa Basmati 1509 increased by 48.9%, 35.2%, and 22.5%, respectively, relative to Pusa Basmati 1121; by 34%, 31.4%, and 27.5% relative to Punjab Basmati 3; and by 81.1%, 70.4%, and 56% relative to Basmati 386. The study showed that delaying transplanting of photoperiod-sensitive and short-duration, photoperiod-insensitive basmati cultivars helped to improve water productivity and quality traits, particularly the head rice recovery (%), kernel length after cooking, and amylose content.