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Towards improved performance of irrigation tanks in semi-arid regions of India: modernization opportunities and challenges
In the semi-arid regions of India there are around 120,000 small-scale tanks, irrigating about 4.12 million ha. In many areas, the tank storage structure is the only water source to store rainwater and help farmers through crop growing period and provide stability to agricultural production. The underdevelopment, stagnation and even decline of paddy agriculture during recent years in this region are usually attributed to the constraints in tank water supply. Whatever the shortcoming at their creation, existing irrigation tanks remain an asset to the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. The objective of this paper is to bring out the challenges and opportunities towards improved performance of irrigation tanks in semi-arid regions of India through integrated modernization. The performance of various types of small scale irrigation tanks are evaluated for their role in crop production development strategies. The short-term strategies include on farm development works through modernization of existing irrigation facilities/structures and conjunctive use of surface and groundwater resources. The long term challenges consist of establishing water grids connecting these modernized tanks in a chain to mitigate drought and flood at local level as well as encouraging the farmer's participation in planning and management of these irrigation facilities for sustaining agriculture. It was found that evolving comprehensive but integrated modernization strategies for the tanks is a comp
ISSN : 0168-6291
Irrigation and drainage systems A. 2001, vol. 15, n° 4, pp. 293-309 [17 pages]
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