Know Everything About Lift Irrigation System in India

Updated on 29th March, 2024, By Abhijeet Warak
Know Everything About Lift Irrigation System in India
The lift irrigation system in India is one of the most important irrigation methods. It is the practice of lifting water from a perennial source of water with the use of pumps and then spreading it into higher-level fields with pipelines. In this, the water supply for irrigation is not transported by natural flow.

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Lift irrigation lifts water from the lower level with equipment like pumps to the higher level. Canals and dams played a big role in increasing the irrigated area. However, it was effective for areas that were below the level of the dam. Higher-level areas still face scarcity of water. Lift irrigation was adopted to solve this issue and irrigate higher-level areas.

What is Lift Irrigation?

Lift irrigation is an effective method of irrigation that transports water using water-lifting devices like fuel-based or electric pumps. Farmers can use water from natural water sources that are below the height of farms. Powerful pumps lift water from the source to be distributed to nearby fields with the help of a pipeline.

Components of Lift Irrigation System

You require the following components of lift irrigation system (LIS):

  • Water Source: At the LIS system, the availability of water should be constant for the whole year. Some of the key water sources include rivers, weir and dams.
  • Lifting Mechanism: Lifting mediums such as pumps are needed to lift water and move it to the desired place.
  • Conveying Mechanism: The rising main transports water to the destination. It can be made of suitable materials like concrete and steel.

How Lift Irrigation Works?

Water is transferred from the source using mechanical means like pumps to the main delivery chamber. This chamber is found at the highest level of the command area. Then, proper distribution is used to supply water to the fields. Thus, this irrigation method does not use water movement due to gravity, which is generally observed in rivers or canals.

There are different methods used for the distribution of water. Most commonly, the partition of the area under irrigation is done into different blocks. This partition is based on the topography of the area, which is done per the contour plan. Then, the water needs of every block are determined. Based on this information and the available hydraulic head, these blocks are laid with pipelines.

Field delivery chambers have to be established on the pipelines. The valves are put in place to control the flow of pipelines and flow from the main delivery chamber. This distribution process also has certain challenges. There is unequal water distribution as lower fields are observed to have more discharge due to a greater gravity force.

Status of Lift Irrigation in India

As per the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), it has financed around 1,401 lift irrigation schemes. The total outlay of these schemes is Rs. 6462.50 million, and they irrigate an area of 22,000 hectares. Nevertheless, around 573 lift irrigation schemes are no longer in use, primarily because of poor water distribution. Individual farmers, sugar factories or the government do the financing of other schemes.

Lift irrigation schemes have helped the irrigation of higher-level areas in several states. Lift irrigation contributes to irrigation for 8% of Maharashtra. More than 50 lift irrigation schemes have been completed in Purandhar Taluka in Pune and surrounding areas by Pani Panchayat. Pani Panchayat involves a group of farmers who are voluntarily engaged in collectively managing groundwater and surface water.

Lift Irrigation Projects in India

Several Indian states have launched their own lift irrigation projects to promote the implementation of lift irrigation systems. Some popular lift irrigation projects in India include:

  • Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP): KLIP is the largest multi-purpose lift irrigation project in the world. It is situated on the Godavari River (Kaleshwaram). Its goal is to increase the total culturable command area (CCA) by producing 240 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water.
  • Mutchumarri Lift Irrigation Scheme: This scheme was covered by the Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi (HNSS) Irrigation Project. It was inaugurated at Muchumarri (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh) to lift water from the Srisailam Reservoir.
  • Jawahar Lal Nehru Lift Irrigation Project: This project is situated in Haryana and benefits the districts of Mahendragarh, Rewari, Bhiwani, Gurugram and Jhajjar. The ultimate irrigation potential of this project is 1,54,640 hectares, and its CCA is 2,49,901 hectares.

Advantages of Lift Irrigation

Lift irrigation has been found to be the most feasible solution for irrigating fields in areas dependent upon rainfed farming or where dryland farming is practised. The key advantages of the lift irrigation system are:

  • Lift irrigation is best suited for diverse geographical landscapes, including hilly regions and flat plains. Water can be supplied across varying terrains and over long distances.
  • It facilitates efficient water usage and conservation. Water is delivered precisely by water pumps and distribution networks. So, there is less wastage, which ensures sustainable agriculture in India.
  • The crop quality improves due to the suitable and timely supply of water to crops. It results in higher crop yield.
  • The controlled water distribution maintains consistent moisture levels in the fields. It reduces the risk of runoff and soil erosion.
  • Stabilised agriculture is possible throughout the year as water is always available.

Limitations of Lift Irrigation

The main disadvantage of lift irrigation is that it is a costly irrigation method. LIS demands high operating costs, complex pumping, power supply and power equipment. Due to all these factors, the total cost of supplying water to fields increases.

Government Support for Lift Irrigation

As water is a state subject, state governments have to implement projects related to water resources. The central government provides financial support for major and medium irrigation projects. These projects also include lift irrigation projects and are supported by the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

Under PMKSY-AIBP, the funding pattern for lift irrigation projects is as follows. The central-to-state contribution for projects in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir (Union Territories), Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh (2 Himalayan States), and 8 North-Eastern States is 90:10.

This ratio is 60:40 for projects that benefit special areas in the general category states, KBK (Odisha), Marathwada, Vidarbha, Bundelkhand, Left Wing Extremist Area, Flood Prone Area and Tribal Area. A 25:75 contribution is available for projects that benefit areas in general category states that are not covered in the previous point.

Frequently Asked Questions on Know Everything About Lift Irrigation System in India

1. What is a lift irrigation system?

A lift irrigation system involves lifting water from a water source with the help of pumps to supply fields with the help of pipelines.

Lift irrigation lifts water from the lower level using pumps to irrigate higher-level areas.

If not managed properly, lift irrigation projects can have adverse environmental impacts, including soil and groundwater pollution.

Abhijeet Warak
Published By
Abhijeet Warak
With over 2 years of experience, Abhijeet is a seasoned tractor and implement expert with an M.Tech (Agri) (FMP) from Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth. His knowledge is rooted in practical experience and academic excellence.
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