Changes required in government policies related to irrigated agriculture

Changes required in government policies related to irrigated agriculture

India is a country where water is being used lavishly by the people in initial one third length of canal and the remaining portion of canal experiences short supply of water as compared to the designed quantity of water.

One of the reasons is defective and improper design of canals, due to which a large number of canals are unable to carry designed quantity of water in their middle and tail portions. This results excess water in initial one third portion of canal causing water logging conditions in the farmer’s fields. To solve this problem, instead of reducing supply of water in this portion of canal, a drainage system is designed to drain out the excess water from farmer fields. The water through drainage system ultimately drains into the river and goes as a waste. India is a country which is experiencing acute shortage of water even in Ganga and Yamuna basins and the states of these basins say they should be allotted more water than the present allocations as they are unable to irrigate all the Culturable land in Ganga and Yamuna basins.

Similarly in so many irrigation projects, namely Gudha Project, district Bundi in Rajasthan, even if the water is available in adequate quantity to irrigate full Culturable commanded area, it is not possible to provide water in full Culturable commanded area as the network of water courses ( field channels) carrying water from the canal to the farmer fields (which is to be constructed by the farmers at their own cost) do not cover the full Culturable commanded area.

As per the policy of Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. of India, water courses are to be constructed by the farmers at their own cost. As far as known to me, the Ministry of Water Resources, Govt of India has never carried out evaluation of any irrigation project, to exactly know, how the irrigation project is actually performing and what changes in policies are required to improve the water use efficiency. After construction of project, the project is “free to use” by farmers, whatever crops they want to grow and how much water should be given to them, irrespective of the assumption made in the project report about cropping pattern.

The Ministry of water resources, Govt of India and the Central Water Commission may like to deeply study about the changes needed in policy in water resources sector and implement the changes in a short duration to benefit the farmers of India and stop lavish use and wastage of water in large quantities in Irrigation Projects.