Sources of Irrigation in India

According to Agricultural Census 2010-11, India’s total area under irrigation is 64.7 million hectares. Of this maximum 45% is shared by tube wells followed by Canals and wells.

We note here that since 1950-51, the government had given considerable importance to the development of command area under canals. In 1950-51, the Canal irrigated area was 8.3 million hectares and it currently stands at 17 million hectares. Despite that, the relative importance of Canals has come down from 40% in 1951 to 26% in 2010-11.  On the other hand, the well and tube well accounted for 29% total irrigated area and now they share 64% of the total irrigated area.

This implies that “despite of heavy public expenditure on canals, our governments have not been able to reduce the groundwater depletion” done by the remarkable progress of the tube wells in last many decades.  The key reason is widening gap between irrigation potential created and actually utilized.

States under Well Irrigation

  • Well Irrigation is common in alluvial plains of the country except the deserts of Rajasthan. Plains of UP, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu are the states which are more prominently under the well irrigation.

States under Canal irrigation

Canals are second most important source of irrigation in India after wells and tube wells. The Canals are irrigating those lands which have large plains, fertile soils and perennial rivers. The plains of North India are mostly canal irrigated. Other parts are coastal low lands and some parts of Peninsular India. The states are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Punjab Rajasthan, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and UP.

Major States under Tank irrigation:

The Tank irrigation is more in the rocky plateau area of the county, where the rainfall is uneven and highly seasonal. The Eastern Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Interiors of Tamil Nadu and some parts of Andhra Pradesh have more land under tank irrigation.