Types of Irrigation Systems in India


The various types of Systems of Irrigation practiced in India

Irrigation refer to the supplying water to the dry land as a supplementation of rain water. It is mainly aimed for cultivation. There are various types of systems of irrigation practices in different parts of India. Irrigation in India is carried on through wells, tanks, canals, Perennial canal, Multi-purpose river valley projects, etc.

Irrigation System in India are carried on in the following ways:


1. Well Water Irrigation system:

Wells are mainly found in U. P., Bihar, Tamil Nadu, etc. there are various types of wells – shallow wells, deep wells, tube wells, artesian wells, etc. From the shallow wells water is not always available as the level of water goes down during the dry months. Deep wells are more suitable for the purpose of irrigation as water from them is available throughout the year.

Tube-wells are also used for irrigation purposes. At places where ground water is available, a tube-well can be installed near the agricultural area. A deep tube well worked by electricity, can irrigate a much larger area (about 400 hectares) than a surface well (1/2 hectares). Tube wells are mostly used in U.P., Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and Gujarat. In Rajasthan and Maharashtra, artesian wells are now supplying water to agricultural lands. In artesian wells, water level remains at a high-level because of the natural flow of water due to high pressure.

Also read: Well Irrigation in India

2. Tank Water Irrigation system:

In the Deccan, water-reservoirs are made by constructing dams. This system is greatly adopted in the States of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, etc. In Northern India also, tanks are constructed for storing water. From all these tanks, water is carried to the fields through canals.


In many places, rain-water harvesting systems are installed and water is stored in large artificial reservoirs to be used for agricultural purposes.

3. Inundation Irrigation system:

Canal irrigation is playing a vital role in Indian agriculture. It canal near about 42% of total irrigated land. In many places during the rainy season, there is flood in the rivers. The flood water is carried to the field through canals. These canals are found in W.B., Bihar, Orissa, etc. They supply water only when there is flood in the rivers, and therefore, are of no use during the dry season when water is required most.

4. Perennial Canals Irrigation System:

The perennial canals get the supply of water either from the river directly or through the reservoirs of the river projects. In order to supply water throughout the year, reservoirs are constructed for storing water. From these reservoirs, water can be supplied to the fields whenever there is demand for it. So this system of irrigation ensures supply of water in all season. This type of perennial canal is found mostly in Punjab, U.P., and Tamil Nadu.

In Punjab, the upper Bari Doab canal connecting the Ravi and the Beas and Sirhind (from the Sutlej) canal is famous. In U.P., the Upper Ganga and the Lower Ganga canals, Agra and Sarda canals, etc. are important. In Tamil Nadu, most important are the Buckingham canal and the Periyar canal.

5. Multi Purpose River Valley Projects :

In recent years, multi-purpose river valley projects are helping agriculture. The most important are:

  • the Damodar Valley Project  in West Bengal,
  • the Mor (Mayurakshi) Project in West Bengal,
  • the Mahanadi (Hirakud) Project in Orissa,
  • the Kosi Project in Bihar, and
  • the Bhakra Nangal Project in Punjab.

These projects offer facilities for irrigation, flood control, soil conservation, etc.


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