The Important Sources of Irrigation available in India? (4 Sources)

The tank irrigation is common in the eastern and southern states. Relative importance of each source changed through time. Canals were the major source of irrigation until 1950, claiming 39.9 per cent of the net irrigated area in the country.

Since then the irrigated area under canal irrigation increased, but its share declined in 2009-10 irrigation increased area upto under 16697 thousand hectare. With the introduction of diesel and electric pumping sets, well and tubewell-irrigated areas increased from 5.9 million hectares in 1950-51 to 39042 thousand hectares in 2009-10. Thus, tank irrigation lost its significance both absolutely and relatively.

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A. Canals:

Although canal irrigation was introduced on a large scale only during the last century, it has already become the principal source of irrigation in the country because of its cheapness, and the ease and certainly with which water is supplied. The irrigation canals of northern India rank amongst the greatest and most beneficent triumphs of modern engineering in the whole world. The canals in India are of two types, viz.

(i) Inundation Canals, which are drawn directly from the rivers without making any kind of barrage or dam at their head to regulate the flow of the river and the canal. Such canals are intended to use the excess water of rivers at the time of floods. When the flood subside, the level of the rivers falls below the level of the canal heads and therefore, the canals dry up. The water supply of such canals is uncertain. They have, therefore, been converted into perennial canals.

(ii) Perennial Canals are those which are constructed by putting some form of barrage across the river which flows throughout the year and diverting its water by means of a canal to the agricultural fields, both far and near. Most of the canals in India are of this type.

About half of India’s net canal irrigated area lies in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Maharashtra, Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat in that order of importance account for most of the remaining about half.

Canals of Punjab and Haryana:

The flat nature of the ground, the regular flow of water and fertile alluvial soil favour canal irrigation. A special feature of the canal system of Punjab and Haryana is that all the rivers have been inter-connected by means of canals so that the water resources of these are pooled together for maximum utilization. The Important Canals are:

(1) Upper Bari Doab Canal completed in 1852 is taken from the Ravi and its distributaries comprise channels, 1952 km, in length, irrigate about 3.4 lakh hectares of land in Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts. The total length of main canal is 518 km and along with the distributaries the length increases to 4900 km.

(2) Western Yamuna Canal takes off from the Yamuna River at Tejawala and irrigates about 48,000 hectares of land in Patiala district of Punjab and Ambala, Rohtak, Karnal, Jind and Hissar districts of Haryana. The channels are about 3,229 kms. Long. It has three important branches, the Delhi, the Hansi and Sirsa branch.

(3) Sirhind Canal takes off from the Satluj at Ropar and irrigates over six lakh hectares of land in the districts of Ludhiana, Ferozepur, and Patiala in Punjab and Haryana having length of 6115 kms. The canal irrigates about 7 lakh hectares of cropped areas.

(4) The Sirhind Feeder Canal completed in 1960 takes off from the Ferozepur Feeder and is 142 kms long. It irrigates land in Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar tehsils of Punjab besides Rajasthan.

(5) Bhakra Canal was completed in 1964. It takes water from the Bhakra dam and irrigates about 15 lakh hectares of land in the districts of Hissar and Rohtak in Haryana. The main canal is 174 km long and with its distributaries its length increases upto 3,360 km.

(6) Nangal Canal is taken from the Nangal dam and is about 64 kms. Long and irrigates about 26.4 lakh hectares in the districts of Jullundhur, Ferozepur, Ludhiana and Patiala in Punjab and Hissar in Haryana.

(7) Bist Doab Canal: This canal is also a part of the Bhakra-Nangal Project which has been taken out from the Satluj River at Nova (1954). It is 154 km long and irrigates about 4 lakh hactares of land in Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts of Punjab.

(8) Gurgaon Canal: It takes off from the Yamuna River at Okhla (near Delhi). It provides irrigation to about 3.2 lakh hectares of land in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts and some parts of Rajasthan.

(9) Eastern Grey Canal: It takes off from the Saduj near Firozpur. The canal was completed in 1933. It irrigates northern part of Firozpur district in Punjab.

Canals of Uttar Pradesh:

Canals account for 27.6 per cent of the net irrigated area of the state, most of which lies in the Ganga- Yamuna doab, Ganga-Ghaghara doab and western part of Bundelkhand region. The total length of canals is about 50,000 km which provides irrigation to about 70 lakh hectares of the cropped area. Main canal systems are as follows-

(1) Upper Ganga Canal:

It takes off from the Ganga River at Kankhal (Hardwar). The digging of the canal started in 1842 and it was completed in 1854. The main canal is 342 km long; while alone with the distributaries it is 5,640 km.

The canal passes through a broken country so that at some places it is taken over the bridges and at others below the bridges over its first 32 km. It irrigates about 7 lakh hectares of agricultural land in Kanpur, Etah, Muzaffarpur, Meerut, Mathura, Saharanpur, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, Mainpuri and Farrukhabad districts. It merges with the Lower Ganga canal. The main branches of canal are the Anupshahar, the Deoband, the Hathras, and the Matta.

(2) Lower Ganga Canal:

It draws its water from the Ganga River at Narora (Bulandshahar). It was completed in 1878. The length of main canal is about 100 km, while with distributaries the length increases up to 6,174 km. It provides irrigation to about 4.8 lakh hectares of agricultural area in Bulandshahar. Aligarh, Etah, Mainpuri, Etawah, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Fatehpurand Kaushambi districts. Its main branches include: the Etawah, the Kanpur and the Fatehpur. It joins Upper Ganga canal near Kasganj.

(3) Eastern Yamuna Canal:

It has been taken out from the Yamuna River at Fyzabad (Saharanpur). The canal was originally constructed by the Mughal emperor Shahjehan and was renovated by the British. The main canal with its distributaries is 1,440 km long. It irrigates about 2 lakh hectares of area in Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Meerut districts in Uttar Pradesh and Union territory of Delhi.

(4) Agra Canal:

It was dug in 1875. The canal takes its water from the Yamuna River at Okhla. Its total length is about 1,600 km. It irrigates about 1.5 lakh hectares of land in Agra, Mathura and Ghaziabad districts of Uttar Pradesh; Gurgaon district of Haryana; Bharatpur district of Rajasthan; and the union territory of Delhi.

(5) Sarda Canal:

It takes off from the Sarda River at Banbasa (Nainital). It was completed in 1926. The length of canal along with distributaries is 12,368 km. It irrigates about 8 lakh hectares of land in the districts of Shahjahanpur, Barabanki, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Kheri, Hardoi, Lucknow, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, and Allahabad districts. Its main branches arc Deva, Bisalpur, Nigohi, Kheri, Sitapur, Lucknow and Hardoi.

Another canal SardaSahayak takes off from the Sardasagar about 20 km below the Sarda canal headworks near Indo-Nepal border and augments the supply in the Sarda Canal. It irrigates about 7.5 lakh hectares of land in Jaunpur, Azamgarh and Ballia districts. The canal was completed during the Third Plan Period.

(6) Ramganga Canal:

The canal has been partly completed. It takes its origin from the Ramganga River near Kalagarh (Garhwal). It will irrigate 6.59 lakh hectares of agricultural land in the Rohilkhand Plains (west central Uttar Pradesh).

(7) Betwa Canal:

It takes off from river Betwa at Paricha, 24 km away from Jhansi. It was completed in 1886. It irrigates about 83,000 hectares of land in Jhansi, Jalaun and Hamirpur districts. Its main branches are the Hamirpur and the Kathauna branch.

(8) Ken Canal:

It is taken out from the Ken River at Gangau (near Panna). Its total length is 640 km. It irrigates about 96,000 hectares of land in Banda (Uttar Pradesh), and Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh) districts.

(9) Matatila Canals:

Matatila barrage (height 36.5 m; length 713 m) has been constructed across the Betwa river from which two canals (Gursarai and Mandir) are taken out which irrigate about 1.6 lakh hectares of agricultural land in Lalitpur, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Jalaun (Uttar Pradesh) Bhind, Gwalior, Datia (Madhya Pradesh) districts.

(10) Rihand Project Canal:

These canals have been taken out from the Rihand River at Pipri from the barrage of Rihand and are providing irrigation facilities to 16 lakh hectares of land belonging to the eastern Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

(11) Dhasan Canal:

It takes off from the Dhasan River (tributary of the Yamuna) and provides irrigation to a part of the Bundelkhand area.

(12) Middle Ganga Canal:

It takes off from a barrage over the Ganga River in Bijnor district. The main canal is 115 km long which will be linked to the Upper Ganga Canal. It will irrigate 1.78 lakh hectares of land in the trans-Ganga area of the Upper Ganga Plain.


These include the Nayar barrage canal, the Tehri Dam canals, Tanda, Dalmau, Bhopauli, Doharighat, Belan pump canals and various small canals belonging to Tumaria, Khoh, Baur, Rampura, Lalitpur dams and Kotari project.

Canals of Bihar:

In Bihar, particularly in the region south of river Ganga, the rainfall has been inadequate and erratic leading to frequent recurrence of severe famines. Following are the main canal systems of the state:

(1) Son Canal:

A barrage has been built across the Son River neat Dehri from where two canals have been taken out. The eastern canal taking off at Barun was completed in 1875. This 130 km long canal is called Patna canal which irrigates about 3 lakh hectares of land in Patna, Gaya and Aurangabad districts. The western canal originates from Dehri and feeds the Area, the Buxar and Chausa branches. It irrigates 3.5 lakh hectares of land in Ara, Shahabad and Bhojpur districts.

(2) Kosi Project Canal:

Under the project a barrage has been constructed across the Kosi River near Hanuman Nagar from which two canals would be taken out to irrigate about 8.73 lakh hectares of cropped area.

The eastern Kosi canal is complete. Its total length is 127 km consisting of Muraliganj, Janakinagar, and Banamanakhi and Agariy branches. It irrigates about 4.34 lakh ha of land in Purnea, Muzaffarpur, Munger, Darbhanga and Saharsa districts. The western Kosi canal has a length of 112.65 km (including 35.2 km in Nepal). On completion it would irrigate about 3.14 lakh hectares of land area.

(3) Gandak Canal:

Under the project a long (740 m) barrage has been built across Gandak river near Triveni Ghat from which a number of canals have been taken out to irrigate about 14.58 lakh hectares of land in Nepal, Bihar (Champaran, Saran, Chhapra, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Siwan, Vaishali (Bihar), Gorakhpur and Deoria (Uttar Pradesh) districts. The Saran (66 km), the Tirahut (257 km), Dun (95 km), Nepal east (80.47 km) is the important branches of the canal.

Canals of Madhya Pradesh:

Madhya Pradesh states due to its rocky and stony surface are suitable for tank irrigation. But in recent years well (including tube well) and canal have gained popularity and account for 53% and 30.3% of the net irrigated area of the state. Main canal systems are:

(1) Mahanadi Project Canals:

The Mahanadi canals have been constructed fewer than three stages providing irrigation to about 3.4 lakh hectares of land. The scheme involves construction of barrage across the Mahanadi at Rudri across the Sandur River under Ravishankar Sagar Project, feeder canal, Pairi dam and 1,145 km long irrigation canals.

(2) Wainganga Canal:

It takes off from the Wainganga River (length 45 km) to irrigate about 4,000 hectares of land in Balaghat, Seoni (M.P.) and Bhandara (Maharashtra) districts.

(3) Tandula Canal:

Under this scheme two earthen dams have been built near the confluence of the Tandula and Sukha rivers. Canals taken out from these are providing irrigation to about 66,000 hectares of cropland in Raipur and Durg districts.

(4) Chambal Project Canals:

This scheme involves construction of three dams. Canals under this scheme irrigate about 5.15 lakh hectares of agricultural land in Gwalior, Bhind, Morena and Datia districts. The main branches of the canal are the Ambah and the Morena.

(5) Barna Project Canals:

The Bama project involves the construction of a barrage across the Barna River (a tributary of the Narmada) and canals which irrigate about 64,400 hectares of land in Raisen district.

(6) Tawa Project Canals:

Canals originating from the barrage across the Tawa River with total length of 197 km irrigate about 3 lakh hectares of area in Hoshangabad district.

(7) Halali Project Canals:

Under this project canals have been taken out from the barrage built across the Halali River to irrigate about 73,500 hectares of cropped area in Vidisha district.

Canals of Rajasthan:

Rajasthan is deficient in rainfall and falls under arid and semi-arid climates. Canals have proved to be boon for the state as a result of which sandy patches are yielding good agricultural harvests. Some of the important canals of the state are as follows:

(1) Gang Canal:

This canal was completed in 1928 to irrigate 3.4 lakh hectares of land in Sri Ganganagar district. The canal is “a blood transfusion from the living Punjab into the moribund Marusthal.” It has helped into the cultivation of wheat, pulses, oilseeds, rice, cotton, sugarcane and citrus fruits. This canal takes off from the Satluj River near Husainiwala (Firozpur) and has a total length of 1,280 km. It is also called Bikaner canal.

(2) Chambal Project Canal:

Under the Chambal project Gandhi Sagar and Ranapratap Sagar dams have been constructed. Canals taken out from the barrage irrigate about 2.83 lakh hectares of land in Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur districts. The project is also providing irrigation to the western part of Madhya Pradesh.

(3) Jawai Project:

Here a dam has been built across the Jawai River in 1946. The main canal is 22 km long but its branches are 120 km long. It irrigates 7,690 hectares of land in Pali, Jodhpur and Sirohi districts.

(4) Ottu Feeder:

It takes off from the Ghaggar River near Sirsa (Haryana). It is a non-perennial canal providing irrigation to about 51,000 hectares of land in Ganganagar District.

(5) Hanumangarh Canal:

This belongs to the Bhakra canal group which irrigates about 2.3 lakh hectares of land in Ganganagar district.

(6) Indira Gandhi Canal:

It is an ambitious canal project to divert the additional waters of the Ravi, Beas and Satluj rivers to the dry areas of Rajasthan. The main canal has a total length of 649 km of which 179 km lies in Punjab and Haryana. Along with distributaries its total length would be 8,000 km, irrigating about 14.62 lakh hectares of land in Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer districts. The project involves construction at two stages.

The stage comprises 359 km long Rajasthan main canal and 3,000 km long distribution system to serve a culturable command area of 5.4 lakh hectares. An important feature of this stage is the construction of 152 km long Loonkaransar-Bikaner Lift canal, along with its 187 km long distribution system to serve a culturable command area of 51,000 hectares. The command area is served by 1,524 km long lined water courses.

The stage II envisages use of 4,938 million cu. m of water. It involves construction of 250 km long main canal, 2,400 km long distribution system to serve 5 lakh hectares under flow irrigation and 1,600 km long lift system to irrigate 2.6 lakh hectares of area. The lift irrigation would be provided through Gajner, Kolayat, Phalodi, Pokran and Nahar Sahawa lift schemes.

(7) Others:

Other canals include those be-longing to Parvati, Gudha, Morel, Jaggar, Kalisil, Mej, Gambhiri, Bankali, Sareri and Namana projects.

Canals of West Bengal:

West Bengal is a humid state where little irrigation is practiced. Only south-western part of the state needs some irrigation. The state has 37.5 per cent of its net irrigated area under canal irrigation. Important canal systems are as follows:

1. Damodar Project Canals:

Under the Damodar Valley Corporation a 692 meter long and 12 meter high barrage has been built up from which two canals have been taken out. The right bank canal is 89 km long and it irrigates about 4.2 lakh hectares of land in Hugli, Asansoi and Barddhaman districts. The left bank canal is 137 km long and is used for navigation.

2. Mayurakshi Project Canals:

A barrage (640 meter long and 47.24 meter high) has been constructed across the Mayurakshi River, a tributary of the Hugli River, near Marsanjor (Birbhum) in 1951 from which two canals have been constructed which irrigate 2.51 lakh hectares of land in Birbhum, Murshidabad and Barddhaman districts.

3. Kangsabati Project Canals:

Three barrages have been constructed over the Kangsabati and Kumari rivers to lay down 1,305 iong canals which irrigate 3.84 hectares of agricultural land in Bankura and Medinipur districts.

4. Medinipur Canal:

This is a 520 km long diversion canal taken out from Kaise River (near Medinipur) which irrigates 50,000 hectares of land in Medinipur and Haora districts. It was completed in 1888.

5. Edon Canal:

It is a 54 km long canal taken out from the Damodar River in 1938 which provides irrigation to 10,000 hectares of land in Bardaman districts.

In Maharashtra there is dearth of major irrigation projects. Instead there are small irrigation projects. Canals contribute 20.9% of the net irrigated area of the State.

Canals of Maharashtra:

(1) Mutha Canal Project:

Under this project a barrage has been built across the Mutha River (in 1879) at Khadakvasla from which two canals have been taken out. The right bank canal (112 km) irrigates about 45,000 hectares of land in Pune district, while the left bank canal supplies drinking water to Pune and Kirkee.

(2) Godavari Canals:

These canals (length 200 km) originating from a barrage built across the Godavari river irrigate about 57,000 hectares of land in Ahmadnagar and Nashik districts.

(3) Nira Canal:

This project consists of a storage reservoir formed on the Yelwandi River near Bhatagar and construction of two canals. The left bank canal originates from Nira River at Vir and irrigates 33,400 hectares of area in Solapur and Pune districts. The right bank canal (174 km long) irrigates 32,850 hectares in Solapur district.

(4) Pravara River Canals:

A masonry dam 90 metres high was constructed in 1926 across the Pravara River at Bhandardara forming the Arthur Hill Lake. Canals along the right (148 km) and left (332 km) banks have been takdn out from this reservoir to irrigate 34,000 hectares of land in Ahmadnagar district.

(5) Bhima Project Canals:

Under these project two dams have been built up across Pavana River near Phagari (Pune), and across the Krishna River near Ujjaini (Solapur) which irrigate about 1.62 lakh hectares of land in Pune and Solapur districts.

(6) Jaikwadi Project Canals:

Under this project dams are being built across Godavari and Sindfana rivers to irrigate 2.78 lakh hectares of agricultural land.

(7) Kukadi Project Canals:

This project involves construction of five weirs at Yodgaon Manikdohi, Dimbha, Badaj and Pippalgaon Jog and laying down of 454 km long canals so as to create an irrigation potential of 1.56 lakh hectares.

(8) Others:

These include Penganga (1.15 lakh hectares), Nalganga (8741 hectares), and Varuna (96,058 hectares), Girna (54,000 hectares), Gangapur (33,000 hectares) and Krishna (1.12 lakh hectares) irrigation projects.

Canals of Andhra Pradesh:

Canals irrigate about 37.3 percent of the net irrigated area of Andhra Pradesh. Here inadequate rainfall, level and fertile plain facilitate the development of canal irrigation in the state. Important canals are as follows:

(1) Godavari Delta Project Canals:

The Godavari delta project comprises two-weirs-the Dolaishwaram and the Ralli. From these, right bank and delta canals have been taken out to irrigate about 4.5 lakh hectares of land. These canals were completed in 1846.

(2) Krishna Delta Canals:

The Krishna irrigation system originates from the dam built across the river near Vijayawada. It was completed in 1853. It irrigates about 4.5 lakh hectares of agricultural land. The system includes Vijayawada anicut, Sunkesulaanicut and Tungabhadra canals.

(3) Nagarjuna Sagar Project Canals:

The project was launched in 1956. A barrage has been built across the Krishna river at Nandikoda (Nalgonda) from which right bank Jawaharlal (204 km) and left bank Lalbahadur (179 km) canals have been taken out which have an irrigation potential of 8.95 lakh hectares of land in Khammam, Krishna, West Godavari (left bank canal), Guntur, Nellore, Nalgonda and Kurnool (right bank canals) districts.

(4) Tungabhadra Project Canals:

Under the project a dam has been constructed across the Tungabhadra River near Hospet (Karnataka) which irrigate about 4.97 lakh hectares of area in Mahbubnagar, Anantapur and Kurnool districts.

(5) Rampad Sagar Project Canals:

Under this project a dam has been built over the Godavar River at Polavaram. Canals of the project irrigate about 11 lakh hectares of land in Vishakhapatnam, Krishna, Godavari and Guntur districts.

(6) Others:

Canals of the Nizam Sagar irrigate about 1.1 lakh hectares of area in Medak district, the Penner canals in Nellore district irrigate 68,000 hectares and the Pochampad project about 1 lakh hectares in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts. The Telugu-Ganga Project arising out of an agreement between Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu aims at providing irrigation facilities to 3 lakh hectares of famine affected area in Kurnool, Cuddapah, Nellore and Chittoor districts.

Canals of Tamil Nadu:

Major part of Tamil Nadu enjoys rainfall during winter season while summer remains dry. This requires irrigation to make up the deficiency of rainfall. Canal irrigation is popular in deltaic and coastal areas accounting for 29 per cent of the net cropped area.

(1) Kaveri Delta Canals:

The Kaveridelta has the oldest and the longest (6,400 km) irrigation canal system in the state. These canals taken off from the Grand Anicut (built in 1889) irrigates about 5.15 lakh hectares of land in Thanjavur and Tiruchchirappalli districts.

(2) Mettur Canal System:

These canals taken out from the Kaveri River (Mettur dam) provide irrigation to 1.8 lakh hectares of land in Salem and Coimbatore districts.

(3) Lower Bhawani Project Canals:

Bhawani Sagar reservoir has been constructed over the Bhawani River to irrigate 78.917 hectares of land in Coimbatore district.

(4) Periyar Project Canals:

A barrage has been built across the Periyar River and its water is trans-ported to the Suruliyar River (tributary of the Vaigai River) through a 1737 m tunnel. This water is distributed through 432 km long canals to irrigate about 40,000 hectares of land in Madurai, and Ramanathapuram districts.

(5) Katalai Canal:

The Katalai High Level Canal irrigates 8,300 hectares of land in Thanjavur and Tiruchchirappalli districts.

(6) Manimuthar Project Canals:

The Manimuthar is a tributary of the Tamraparniriver over which an earthen dam has been constructed. Canals taken out from this dam irrigate 41,694 hectares of land in Tirunelveli district.

(7) Parambikulam:

Aliyar Project Canals-this is a joint venture of Tamil Nadu and Kerala states under which 244 km long canals have been constructed to utilise the water from eight rivers to irrigate 97.13 thousand hectares of agricultural land.

Canals of Karnataka:

In Karnataka canal irrigation contributes 41.3 percent of the net irrigated area. Most of these canals have been taken out from the Krishna and Kaveri rivers. Main canals are as follows:

(1) Ghataprabha Project Canals:

This project involves three stages leading to the construction of dams across the Ghataprabha river at Dhupdal and Hidkal, 114 krri long canal along the east side, 197 km long canal along the west side and creation of irrigation facilities for 3.18 lakh hectares of agricultural land in Belgaum and Bijapur districts.

(2) Tungabhadra Project Canals:

Under the project dams have been built across the Tungabhadra and Tung rivers to lay down canals which irrigate 4.97 lakh hectares of land in Bellary, Raichur, Chikmagalur and Shimoga districts.

(3) Malprabha Project Canals:

The canals taken out from the dam built across the Malprabhariver irrigate about 2.13 lakh hectares of land in Belgaum, Dharward and Bijapur districts.

(4) Bhadra Project Canals:

Bhadra project, on river Bhadra, irrigates about 1 lakh hectares of land in Shimoga district.

(5) Upper Krishna Project Canals:

Under these project two dams have been constructed over the Krishna River at Almatti and Siddpur (Bijapur district). Canals taken out from these dams (length 392 km) will produce an irrigation potential of 4.25 lakh hectares.

(6) Krishnaraja Sagara Canals:

The Visveswaraya Canal, taken off from the Kaveri (Krishnaraja Sagara Dam) irrigates about 50,000 hectares of land in Mandya and Mysore districts.

Canals of Kerala:

In Kerala canals account for 31.3 per cent of the net irrigated area of the state. Although much of the state enjoys sufficient amount of rainfall its variability is higher along the Malabar Coast. Important canals of the state include.

(1) Malampuzha Project Canals:

An 1850 meter long and 38 meter high dam has been built across Malampuzha River in 1967 whose canals irrigate 38,527 hectares of land in Palakkad district:

(2) Balayar Project Canals:

Canals taken out from the barrage built across the Balayar River (tributary of the Koryar River) irrigate about 3,200 hectares of land in Palakkad district.

(3) Mangalam Project Canals:

This project involves the construction of a 27 meter high dam across the Mangalam River to impound 563 lakh cubic meters of water which is utilised in irrigating 3,400 hectares of land in Malappuram and Thrissur districts.

(4) Others-Parambikulam:

Aliyar project irrigates 1.01 lakh hectares; Periyar canals 31,162 hectares in Kozhikode district and the Pamba canals 33,995 hectares in Kollam district.

Canals of Gujarat:

Gujarat lacks large perennial rivers due to poor rainfall. Canals here contribute about 19.8 per cent of the net irrigated area.

(1) Ukai Project Canals:

A barrage has been built across the Tapi River near Ukai village. Canals taken out from this barrage irrigate about 1.53 lakh hectares of land in Surat and Valsad districts.

(2) Kakarapara Project:

Under the project a dam has been constructed at Kakarapara near the mouth of the Tapi River from which about 950 km long canals run along both the banks of the river. These canals irrigate about 2.77 lakh hectares of land in Surat district.

(3) Narmada Project Canals:

It includes construction of a barrage across the Narmada River at Navgaon (Bharuch) and canals so as to irrigate the interfluve area between the Narmada and Mahi rivers.

(4) Mahi Project Canals:

The project involves two stages under which water from the Mahi River would be diverted through canals to irrigate 2.75 lakh hectares of land in the Doab area of the Mahi and Sabarmati rivers.

(5) Dantiwada Project Canals:

This project built over the Banas River provides irrigation to 44 thou-sand hectares of land in Banaskantha district.

(6) Panam Barrage Project:

Canals taking off from the barrage on the Panamriver in Panchmahals district irrigate about 53,000 hectares of land besides providing drinking water to Vadodara city.

(7) Karjan Barrage Project:

The Barrage and canals on the Karjanriver irrigate about 72,000 hectares of land in Bharuch district.

(8) Sabarmati Project Canals:

The dam across the Sabarmati River in Mehsana district and canals from Vasana barrage near Ahmadabad irrigate about 59,000 hectares of agricultural land.

The Garland Canal System:

The Garland Project had been proposed by Mr. Dinshaw. J. Dastur, a consultant engineer. This system will provide irrigation facilities to all parts of the country and to permanently eliminate the vicious flood- drought circle by utilising all sources-rivers, rainfall and snowmelt.

The Project envisages the construction of two mammoth canals, the Himalayan Catchment Canal and the Central Deccan and Southern Plateau Canal, spanning the length and breadth of the country.

The Himalayan Catchment canal will embrace the foothills of the Himalayas and extend in a sweeping area of 3000 kms. From the river Ravi to Chittagong. It will be 300 metres broad and built at constant elevation of 1,000 metres above the sea level. It will arrest, control and distribute the waters of the Himalayan Rivers and snowmelt.

The Central Deccan and Southern Plateau Canal would encircle the southern and central plateau in a 900 kms- zigzag area beginning with the Chambal and undulating its way to the outskirts of Cape Comorin.

Every year 860 billion cu. metres of glacial water rushes down the Himalayan slopes, and most of it goes to waste. Under this canal, this immense quantity of water will be impounded by the H.C.C. (Himalayan Catchment Canal) and transferred via a series of pipe lines to the C.D.S. plateau canal.

This canal will be built at a uniform height of only 500 metres; and it will be more than twice as long encircling the entire southern and central plateau. Shaped like a giant necklace (garland) this canal will have 2,900 subsidiary outlets along its length.

It will connect all the monsoon-fed river of the central and southern region. The H.C.C and C.D.S plateau will be joined at two places by a series of pipe lines. Due to the 500 metre height difference between the two canals water will flow from the H.C.C. to C.D.S. plateau canal by force of gravity keeping the latter perennially filled with the glacial waters of the Himalayan catchment.

Although it is over-ambitious, and if it is implemented it will guarantee continuous supply of water to all parts of India and it may be possible to irrigate and cultivate about 2.1 m sq. kms as against only 0.3m sq kms at present.

B. Wells:

Wells provide the most widely distributed source of irrigation in India. A well is a device by means of which water is obtained from the subsoil. Well irrigation is of importance in: (i) that part of the Ganga valley which is in close proximity to the north-east and eastern extension of the Deccan, such as, the eastern districts of U.P. particularly Gonda, Basti, Bahraich, Faizabad, etc. (ii) In Bihar well irrigation is in vogue in Shahabad, Gaya, Patna, Saran etc. districts, as these areas lie beyond the command of canals, (iii) Sub­montane regions on the eastern and southern sides of the Western Ghats, particularly in Kolhapur, Sholapur. Ahmadnagar and Poona districts in Maharashtra, and in eastern part of Nilgiri and Cardamom hills, especially in Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Coimbatore and areas between Tiruchirapalli and Guntur. (iv) Region of black cotton soil especially where it is deep as in the Malwa tract of M P. (v) In the valleys of Narmada and Tapti rivers. In other words, this method of irrigation is mostly used in the alluvial plains where soft nature of the soil helps in easy digging of wells. Some or the other type of lift is always required for using the well- water for irrigation whereas old methods like mot and reht are still practised widely in many areas, power driven pumps have become exceedingly popular in most parts.

C. Tube Wells:

Tube wells are common in areas where the water table is rather deep, say, over 15 metres. The sub-soil water is exploited through deep well pumping. Indo-Gangetic valley and in certain coastal deltaic areas tube well is common.

(1) The flow of water in the subsoil is adequate to meet the surface demand, thus ensuring a stable water table. (2) The depth of the water table below the ground does not ordinarily exceed 50 ft. (3) For lifting the water cheap power/ electricity is available over the tract which economises and popularises lifting operations. (4) The area should be in alluvial formations where water-bearing strata are found at various depths. (5) The soil should be of good quality so that high costs involved in the operation of tube well are compensated.

Area of Tube Well Irrigation:

Tube wells are usually been constructed in the Ganges plain, where a large basin with sufficient underground water supply with facilities of replenishment due to heavy rainfall in the Terai, exist. The water in this basin occurs as a continuous reservoir which is connected with the strata below the Terai.

Here tube wells have been developed both on the north having the depth of 90 to 150 metres and south of Ghagra. The states like Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, and Gujarat have number of tube wells in different location.

These are also very popular source of irrigation in the alluvial plains of north India where groundwater is plentiful and construction of wells and tubewells easy. These sources predominate in Gujarat (78.4 per cent of net irrigated area), Uttar Pradesh (70.5 per cent), Goa (69.6 per cent), Rajasthan (67.9 per cent), Punjab (61.3 per cent) and Maharashtra (61.2 per cent). In Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana. Tamil Nadu and Orissa, wells and tube-wells provides water to 40 to 55 per cent of net irrigated area.

D. Tank Irrigation:

Tank irrigation is the most feasible and widely practised method of irrigation all over the Peninsula, where most of the tanks are small in size and built by individuals or groups of farmers by raising bunds across seasonal streams.

In West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar tanks are mostly of excavated type and used also for raising fish besides irrigation. The drawbacks include high rate of evaporation and occupation of fertile land particularly as the depth of most of the tanks is shallow and the water spreads over a large area. Most of the tanks are non-perennial and supply water only for one crop in the year.

Areas of Irrigation:

Tanks irrigation is mostly practised in peninsular India including Maharashtra and Gujarat. Tanks are a special feature of the Deccan because: (i) The rivers of the Deccan are not snow-fed and they are not solely dependent upon the rain waters, (ii) There are many streams which become torrential during the rainy season but dry up in the season when the rain ceases, (iii) The undulating character of the region together with a rocky bed makes the construction prohibitive, (iv) Moreover, as the hard rock’s do not suck up water, we cannot dug wells. But the tanks can be easily made by means of making dams in hollow spaces in which rain water is stored in large quantities for distribution in dry season, (v) Lastly, the scattered population of the tract also favours the system of tank irrigation to save rain water which could have ultimately flowed to ocean.

Tank irrigation has reached its highest perfection in south, especially in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. State of West Bengal and Rajasthan too have some irrigation tanks, particularly in their southern and south-eastern regions respectively. Punjab, UP, Bihar have also some tank.

Significance of tanks as source of irrigation has declined and now only 6.1 per cent of net irrigated crops get water from tanks. It is easier to construct tanks in the undulating peninsular India. Tank irrigation is, therefore, confined to the southern states. Largest net irrigated area by tanks is 503 thousand hectares in Tamil Nadu according to 2009-10 data. Tank irrigation is also important in Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal.