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Role of canal automation and farmer's participation in managing water scarcity: a case study from Orissa, India




Das, B. P., author
Reddy, J. M., author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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The Derjang irrigation project, initially planned and constructed to command 6000 ha, experienced serious shortage and inequity in water distribution (between 1967 to 1993). Distress of the system resulting from unauthorized tampering by the beneficiaries, to a large extent, led to significant deficiency in water conveyance. A complete rehabilitation of the distribution system with structured zones below which distribution is unregulated, and formation of Water Users associations (WUAs) has resulted in increased crop production and farm income. The hydrological data from 1967 to 1980 indicated an additional yield of 1000 ha-m annually which led to creation of increased live storage by installation of gates on open crested spillway. This has led to a Stage II extension for creating an additional potential of 1800 ha. With a healthy system and WUAs functional, it has been possible to irrigate an additional 1400 ha in 1998. But a major concern continues to be the abstraction of 10 to 15% over the authorized withdrawal, where mechanically operated shutters are provided. To obviate such a contingency, canal automation in a pilot scheme for the entire command is being formulated and will be implemented in a 2-year time frame. This scheme would be a training ground for 250,000 ha of command area being rehabilitated in Orissa through a World Bank assisted Water Resources Consolidation Project (WRCP). Preliminary assessment shows that a good system with automation and farmers participation can irrigate an additional command area of 10% with minimal investment.


Presented at the 2000 USCID international conference, Challenges facing irrigation and drainage in the new millennium on June 20-24 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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