Water is very important for survival of all forms of life- plant as well as animal. India, by virtue of its peculiar placement in the foothills of the Himalayas and the Deccan Plateau running through it, has vast water resources which have been very meagrely tapped. Conventional and recognised means of irrigation are tanks, wells and canals.
Wells: Well irrigation is an important type of irrigation in India. Wells are particularly suitable for small farms. The important well-irrigated States are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In these States water-table is high, soil is soft and, therefore, wells are easily sunk.
Tubewells are an important development in India. They are worked by electricity or diesel oil and thus, they relieve our cattle of much of the strain. They are being quickly developed in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab. This is because these have ample sub-soil water.
Wells and tubewells account for about 48 percent of the total irrigation in India.
Tanks: Tanks are also an important and ancient source of irrigation. They are of considerable importance in central and southern India, specially in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. About 8 percent of the total irrigated area is irrigated by tanks.
Canals: Canals are the most important means of irrigation in the country. Some canals were constructed by the early Hindu and Mohammedan kings. Most of the canals, however, are the product of the British rule. At present, canals irrigate about 39 percent of total irrigated area of India. Most of the canals of the country are found in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Storage canals have been constructed in Deccan and Madhya Pradesh.
Major , Medium and Minor Irrigation Projects: The methods of irrigation used in India can be broadly classified into major, medium and minor irrigation schemes. Irrigation projects having Culturable Command Area (CCA) of more than 10,000 hectares each are classified as major projects. Those having a CCA between 2,000 hectares and 10,000 hectares fall under the category of medium irrigation projects. And the projects which have a CCA of less than 2,000 hectares are classified as minor irrigation schemes. For the purpose of analysis the major and the medium irrigation projects are generally grouped together. These projects comprise a network of dams, bunds, canals and other such schemes. Such projects require substantial financial outlay and are, therefore, constructed by the government or any other agency which may draw financial assistance form the government and financial institutions.
The minor irrigation projects, on the other hand, comprise all ground water development schemes such as dug wells, private shallow tubewells, deep public tubewells, and boring and deepening of dugewells, and small surface water development works such as storage tanks, lift irrigation projects, etc. Minor irrigation projects or the groundwater development schemes are essentially people's programmes implemented primarily through individual and cooperative efforts with finances obtained mainly through institutional sources.
Creation for irrigation potential of 10 million hectares was targeted under Bharat Nirman during 2005-06 to 2008-09. The target was proposed to be met through completion of on-going major and medium irrigation projects, and extension, renovation and modernization of existing projects. As per information provided by State Governments, the total irrigation potential created during the period is 7.31 million hectares against the target of 10 million hectares.
Bargi Project (Madhya Pradesh): It is a multipurpose project consisting of a masonry dam across Bargi river in the Jabalpur district and a left bank canal.
Beas Project (Joint venture of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan): It consists of Beas-Sutlej Link and Beas Dam at Pong.
Bhadra Project (Karnataka): A multipurpose project across the river Bhadra.
Bhakra Nangal Project (Joint project of Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan): India's biggest, multipurpose river valley project comprises a straight gravity dam across the Sutlej river at Bhakra, the Nangal dam, the Nangal hydel channel, two power houses at Bhakra dam and two power stations at Ganguwal and Kotla.
Bhima Project (Maharashtra): Comprises two dams, one on the Pawana river near Phagne in Pune district and the other across the Krishna river near Ujjaini in Sholapur district.
Chambal Project (Joint project of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan): The project comprises Gandhi Sagar dam, Rana Pratap Sagar dam and jawahar Sagar dam.
Damodar Valley Project (West Bengal and Bihar): A multipurpose project for the unified development of irrigation, flood control and power generation in West Bengal and Bihar. It comprises multipurpose dams at Konar, Tilaiya, Maithon and Pancher; hydel power stations at Tilaiya, Konar, Maithon and Panchet; barrage at Durgapur; and thermal power houses at Bokaro, Chandrapura and Durgapur. The project is administrated by the Damodar Valley Corporation.
Dulhasti Power Project (Jammu & Kashmir): It is a 390 MW power project in Kishtwar region of Jammu & Kashmir on Chenab river. Work for this project started in 1981. The foundation stone was laid on April 15, 1983 by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Work on this project was suspended due to threats of kidnapping and killings by Kashmiri militants resulting in long delay in completion of project.
Farakka Project (West Bengal): The project was taken up for the preservation and maintenance of Calcutta port and for improving the navigability of the Hoogly. It comprises a barrage at Jangipur across the Bhagirathi and a feeder channel taking off from the Ganga at Farakka and tailing into the Bhagirathi below the Jangipur barrage.
Gandak Project (Joint project of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh): Nepal also derives irrigation and power benefits form this project.
Ghataprabha Project (Karnataka): A project across Ghataprabha in Belgaum and Bijapur districts.
Hirakund (Odisha): World's longest dam, is located on the Mahanadi river.
Jayakwadi Project (Maharashtra): A masonry spillway across the river Godavari.
Kahalgaon Project (Bihar): The 840-MW Kahalgaon Super Thermal Power Project, a joint venture between National Thermal Power Corporation and the Russian State Enterprise Foreign Economic Association, was on August 12,1996 commissioned and put into commercial operation.
Kakrapara Project (Gujarat): On the Tapti river near Kakrapara, in Surat district.
Kangsabati Project (West Bengal): The project, put in operation in 1965, is located on the Kangsabati and Kumari rivers.
Karjan Project (Gujarat): A masonry dam across Karjan river near Jitgarh village in Nandoo Taluka of Bharuch district.
Kosi Project (Bihar): A multipurpose project, which serves Bihar and Nepal.
Koyna Project (Maharashtra): It is built on a tributary of river Krishna with a capacity of 880 MW. It feeds power to Mumbai-Pune industrial belt.
Krishna Project (Maharashtra): Dhom dam near Dhom village on Krishna and Kanhar dam near Kanhar village on Varna river in Satna district.
Kukadi Project (Maharashtra): Five independent storage dams, i.e. Yodgaon, Manikdohi, Dimbha, Wadaj and Pimpalgaon Jog. The canal system comprises (i) Kukadi left bank Canal, (ii) Dimbha left bank canal, (iii) Dimbha right bank canal, (iv) Meena feeder and (v) Meena branch.
Kundoh Project (Tamil Nadu): It is in Tamil Nadu whose initial capacity of 425 MW has since been expanded to 535 MW.
Let Bank Ghaghra Canal (Uttar Pradesh): A link channel taking off from the left bank of Ghaghra river of Girja barrage across Sarju.
Madhya Ganaga Canal (Uttar Pradesh): A barrage across Ganga in Bijnore district.
Mahanadi Delta Scheme (Odisha): The irrigation scheme will utilize releases from the Hirakud reservoir.
Mahanadi Reservoir Project (Madhya Pradesh): It has three phases: (1) Ravishankar Sagar Project and feeder canal system for supply of water of Bhilai Steel Plant and Sandur dam across Sandur village. (2) Extension of Mahanadi feeder canal. (3) Pairi dam.
Mahi Project (Gujarat): A two –phase project, one across the Mahi river near Wanakbori village and the other across Mahi river near Kadana.
Malaprabha Project (Karnataka): A dam across the Malaprabha in Belgaum district.
Mayurakshi Project (West Bengal): An irrigation and hydro-electric project comprise the Canada dam.
Minimato Bango Hasdeo Project (Madhya Pradesh): This project is locted at Hasdeo Bango river in Korba district and envisages construction of a masonry dam. A hydel power plant of 120 MW capacity has been commissioned on the Bango dam.
Nagarjunasagar (Andhra Pradesh): On the Krishna river near Nandikona village (about 44 km from Hyderabad).
Panam Project (Gujarat): A gravity masonry dam across Panam river near Keldezar village in Panchmahal district.
Parambikulam Aliyar (Joint venture of Tamil Nadu and Kerala): The integrated harnessing of eight rivers, six in the Annamalai Hills and two in the plains.
Pochampad (Andhra Pradesh): Across Godavari river.
Pong Dam (Punjab): It is an important hydro-electric project located on Beas river.
Rajasthan Canal (Indira Gandhi Canal- Rajasthan): The Project uses water released from Pong dam and provides irrigation facilities to the north-western region of Rajasthan, i.e., a part of the Thar desert. It consists of Rajasthan feeder canal (with the first 167 km in Punjab and Haryana and the remaining 37 km in Rajasthan) and 445 km Rajasthan main canal entirely in Rajasthan.
Rajghat Dam Project (Madhya Pradesh): The Rajghat Dam and Rajghat Hydro Electric Projects are Inter-State projects of MP and UP. The Rajghat Dam is almost complete. All the three units of Rajghat Hydro-Electric Project had been synchronized during 1999 and power generation has been continuing ever since.
Ramganga (Uttarakhand): A dam across Ramganga, a tributary of the Ganga river located in Garhwal district. The project has, besides reducing the intensity of floods in central and western Uttar Pradesh, provided water for the Delhi water supply scheme.
Ranjit Sagar Dam (Thein Dam) (Punjab): A multi-purpose highest dam in the country, built on the Ravi river for the benefit of Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir.
Rihand Project (Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh): It is the largest man-made lake in India on the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with a capacity of 300 MW annually.
Sabarmati (Gujarat): A storage dam across Sabarmati river near Dhari Village in Mehsana district and wasna barrage near Ahmedabad.
Salal Project (Jammu & Kashmir): With the successful completion of the 2.5-km long tailrace tunnel, the 690-MW Salal (Stage I and II ) project in Jammu and Kashmir became fully operational on August 6, 1996.
Sarda Sahayak (Uttar Pradesh): A barrage across the river Ghaghra, a link channel, a barrage across River Sarda and a feeder channel of two major aqueducts over rivers Gomti and Sai.
Sharavathi Project (Karnataka): It is located at the Jog Falls with a capacity of 891 MW. It primarily feeds Bengaluru industrial region and also Goa and Tamil Nadu.
Sone High Level Canal(Bihar): An extension on Sone Barrage project.
Tawa Project (Madhya Pradesh): A project across the Tawa river, a tributary of the Narmada in Hoshangabad district.
Tehri Dam Project (Uttarakhand): Earth and rock-fill dam on Bhagirathi river in Tehri district.
Tungabhadra Project (Joint Project of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka): On the Tungabhadra River.
Ukai Project (Gujarat): A multipurpose project across Tapti river near Ukai village.
Upper Krishna Project (Karnataka): A project consisting of Narayanpur dam across the Krishna river and a dam at Almatti.
Upper Penganga Project (Maharashtra): Two reservoirs on Penganga river at Isapur in Yavatmal district and the other on Rayadhu river at Sapli in Parbhani district.
Uri Power Project (Jammu & Kashmir): It is located on the river Jhelum in the Uri Tehsil of Baramulla district in Jammu & Kashmir. It is a 480-MW hydroelectric project which was dedicated to the nation of February 13, 1997.