What do you understand by Command Area Development? Why successive governments have failed in Command Area Development?

The command area refers to the area adjacent to the dam or water projects. The area receives ample benefits from the water available in the storage. The facilities include irrigation, flood control, electricity generation, etc. Command areas are irrigated from the scheme which is suitable for cultivation. The water source provides irrigation commands for cultivation.


  • During the time of the construction of the new canal, the engineers create their design maps, etc. While doing so, they chalk out the entire area within an imaginary line that can be included in the irrigation project under development. This is known as Gross Command Area (GCA), which includes cultivable land as well as barren land, forests, houses, wasteland, roads, etc.
  • The cultivable command area is that part of the Gross command area, that is fit for cultivating crops. So, the cultivable area excludes forest and barren land from the Gross Command Area. What is left is an uncultivable area. Gross Command Area is the addition of the total Cultivable command area and the total uncultivable area.
  • The net command area is the deduction of canal networks and supply channels in the field from the cultivable command area.

Reasons behind failure

  • The full utilization of Command areas is not achieved by the government.
  • There is a huge gap between the Irrigation Potential Created for the development and the Irrigation Potential Utilised, during the agricultural year under consideration.
  • The water supply from the existing irrigation project at the outlet is unreliable.
  • The available technology could not be adopted properly due to a lack of knowledge.
  • Participation from farmers is missing.
  • The low pace of development due to insufficient budget allocation.
  • Lack of availability of areas to set up field channels, consolidation problem, flood problem, etc.


Addressing the challenges, the government should take necessary actions to improve the Command Area Development program.


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