Sources of Irrigation in India

Irrigation is one of the most important critical inputs for enhancing the productivity that is required at different critical stages of plant growth of various crops for optimum production. The Government of India has taken up irrigation potential creation through public funding and is assisting farmers to create potential on their own farms.

Substantial irrigation potential has been created through major and medium irrigation schemes.

  • The total irrigation potential in the country has increased from 81.1 million ha in 1991-92 to 102.77 million ha by March 2007.

The area irrigated in India in the pre-plan period was 23 million hectares.

  • Around, 45% of the 1750 Lakh hectare of India’s total Cropped Area was irrigated by the beginning of this century.
  • However, the 9th Plan document says that total irrigated area in the country is 890 Lakh hectares at the end of 1996-97.
  • India has the largest irrigated area in the world. The increase in the irrigation area as well as potential as contributed to the increase in food grains production in India from 51 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 234 million tons in 2008-09.

The area irrigated by sources has been shown in the following table and Graphics:






Wells and Tube wells  




Other Sources  

5.3 % 


100 % 


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.

States under Canal irrigation:

Canals are second most important source of irrigation in India. 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.

States under Wells 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.



  • Rabiya mansuri

    it is nice to know about the irrigation or related to agriculture topics for our knowledge….

  • rishab

    Source of irrigation is better for famer