Know Everything About Lift Irrigation System in India

10 Jul 2023
Know Everything About Lift Irrigation System in India
Lift irrigation system in India has been one of the important methods of irrigation. It is the practice of lifting water from a perennial source of water with the use of pumps and then spreading it into the nearby fields of the river’s floodplain area with pipelines. In this, water supply for irrigation is not transported by natural flow.

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The availability of water resources remains a crucial challenge for farmers in India. To address this issue, India has implemented various irrigation systems, including the lift irrigation system. Lift irrigation system does not use natural flow to transport water to nearby fields. Rather, the water is lifted from a perennial source with the help of high-capacity pumps and then distributed across nearby fields by using pipelines. This article aims to explore the lift irrigation system in India, highlighting its importance, advantages, and key schemes associated with its implementation.

What is Lift Irrigation System?

The lift irrigation system is a method of irrigation that involves lifting water from a lower level to a higher level to enable its usage in agricultural fields. It relies on mechanical or electrical devices such as pumps to lift water from lower level and make it available for irrigation of nearby fields.

Following sources of water are most dependable for lift irrigation:

  • Rivers
  • Canals
  • Reservoirs
  • Ground water

The river lift system effectively overcomes the limitations of gravity-based irrigation methods, allowing water to reach areas situated at higher elevations.

Lift Irrigation System Requirements

  • Water Source: A consistent and appropriate water source must be accessible throughout the year at the LIS location. This can be achieved through various means such as dams, weirs, river canals, etc.
  • Lifting Mechanism: Pumps or other lifting mediums are necessary to transport water to the desired location. The selection of pumps depends on factors such as the duty point head and discharge requirements.
  • Conveying Infrastructure: The rising main, which carries the water to its destination, can be constructed using materials like steel, concrete, or other suitable options.

Importance of Lift Irrigation System in India

Lift irrigation system in India, in present scenario, holds immense significance. 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 practiced. It not only helps solve water scarcity problem but also help diversify crops. Some of the importance are listed below:

  • Mitigating water scarcity: It taps into alternate water sources and redistributes it to areas with insufficient water resources, the system ensures a sustainable water supply for agriculture.
  • Enhanced agricultural productivity: By providing water to areas that were previously deprived, farmers can cultivate crops throughout the year, enabling multiple cropping seasons and ensuring a regular income.
  • Crop diversification: This system facilitates better utilization of agricultural land, promotes crop diversification, and reduces the risk of crop failures due to water scarcity.
  • Socio-economic Development: Increased agricultural productivity creates employment opportunities, reduces migration, and improves the standard of living for farmers and their families.
  • Stimulates rural economy: Surplus agricultural produce generated through efficient irrigation systems can be utilized for agro-based industries, further stimulating the rural economy.

Advantages of Lift Irrigation System

Lift irrigation system in India come with many advantages and benefits. Some of the benefits include water conservation, increased crop yield, and prevention of soil erosion, among others.

  • Flexibility and versatility: It offer greater flexibility in terms of water distribution, enabling water to be transported over long distances and across varying terrains. This adaptability makes it suitable for diverse geographical landscapes, ranging from flat plains to hilly regions. It can be implemented in areas where traditional irrigation methods are impractical or insufficient.
  • Water conservation: Efficient water usage and conservation are crucial aspects of the lift irrigation system. By using water pumps and distribution networks, the system ensures that water is precisely delivered to the crops, minimizing wastage, and reducing the overall water consumption.
  • Increased crop yield and quality: It facilitates timely and adequate water supply to crops, leading to higher yields and improved crop quality.
  • Prevents under- or over-irrigation: Proper irrigation management ensures that plants receive an optimal amount of water at each growth stage, preventing under- or over-irrigation. This results in healthier plants and reduced susceptibility to diseases.
  • Mitigation of soil erosion: Lift irrigation helps in preventing soil erosion by maintaining a consistent moisture level in the fields. The controlled distribution of water minimizes surface runoff, which is a major contributor to soil erosion.

Lift Irrigation Schemes in India

The Government of India has launched several lift irrigation schemes to promote the implementation of lift irrigation systems across the country. In India, NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) has financed around 1401 lift irrigation schemes. And out of all states, Maharashtra irrigation comprises of 8% lift irrigation system, which is one of the highest in India.  Some of the Lift Irrigation Projects in India being implemented are:

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

Under the PMKSY, the government aims to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level. It encompasses various components, including the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP), Har Khet Ko Pani (Water to Every Field), and Per Drop More Crop. The PMKSY promotes the adoption of lift irrigation systems by providing financial assistance, subsidies, and technical support to farmers and agricultural institutions.

Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP)

The AIBP is a centrally sponsored scheme that focuses on the fast-tracking of implementation of major and medium irrigation projects, including lift irrigation systems. It provides financial assistance to states for creating irrigation potential and enhancing agricultural productivity. The program aims to complete the identified projects within a specific time frame, thereby accelerating irrigation coverage across the country.

Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)

The RKVY is a state-level scheme that supports the development of agricultural sectors, including irrigation infrastructure. Under this scheme, states receive funding to implement projects related to lift irrigation, water conservation, and distribution network improvement. The RKVY encourages farmers to adopt modern irrigation techniques, including lift irrigation, by providing subsidies and technical guidance.

Per Drop More Crop (PMKSY)

As a component of the PMKSY, the Per Drop More Crop initiative focuses on optimizing water usage in agriculture through micro-irrigation techniques. This scheme encourages the adoption of lift irrigation systems along with sprinkler and drip irrigation methods. By promoting efficient water management, the initiative aims to achieve higher crop yields while conserving water resources.

State-Specific Schemes

Several states in India have also launched their own lift irrigation projects to promote the implementation of lift irrigation systems.

  • Mission Kakatiya of Telangana: It aims to revive and restore tanks and reservoirs, enabling lift irrigation for agricultural purposes.
  • Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan of Rajasthan: It focuses on rainwater harvesting and lift irrigation projects to address water scarcity issues in the state.
  • Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project of Telangana: It aims to make the state drought-proof by harvesting the water of the river Godavari.
  • Upper Bhadra Project of Karnataka: It aims to lift water from Tunga to Bhadra in the first stage, and from Bhadra to Tunnel near Ajjampura.
  • Bodwad Parisar Sinchan Yojana of Maharashtra: The project aims to lift water from Hatnur reservoir and provide irrigation facilities in Jalgaon and Buldhana region.

Major Irrigation System Prevalent in India

India's agriculture sector relies heavily on irrigation to ensure consistent crop production and food security. With its diverse geographical features and varying water resources, the country employs multiple irrigation systems to meet the agricultural water demands. Among these, the river lift system, well irrigation system, and other methods play crucial roles in sustaining agricultural productivity.

River Lift Irrigation in India

The river lift irrigation system harnesses water from nearby rivers and supplies it to agricultural fields through a network of canals, channels, or pipes. It offers several advantages, including:

  • Reliable Water Source: River lift irrigation provides access to a consistent water supply, reducing dependency on erratic rainfall patterns. It ensures year-round irrigation, promoting multiple cropping seasons and reducing the risk of crop failure.
  • Independence from Rainfall: By utilizing water from rivers, farmers are not solely reliant on monsoon rains, making agriculture less susceptible to rainfall fluctuations. This system enhances crop growth and stability, contributing to higher yields and increased farm incomes.
  • Enhanced Productivity: River lift irrigation enables efficient water distribution over large areas, ensuring uniform coverage and minimizing water wastage. This leads to improved crop productivity, supporting food security and rural livelihoods.

Well Irrigation in India

Well irrigation in India is very much prevalent in rural area, it is a traditional method, involves extracting groundwater from wells for agricultural purposes. Here are key features and benefits:

  • Groundwater Access: Wells provide direct access to groundwater resources, offering a dependable water supply throughout the year. This independence from external water sources makes well irrigation particularly valuable in regions with limited surface water availability.
  • Customization and Precision: Well irrigation allows farmers to tailor water application based on crop needs. Various techniques, such as sprinklers, drip irrigation, or flood irrigation, can be employed to optimize water usage, reduce evaporation, and improve nutrient absorption, resulting in higher crop quality and yields.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Well irrigation systems often incur lower operational costs compared to large-scale infrastructure projects. Once established, well systems require minimal maintenance and have fewer energy requirements, making them a cost-effective solution for irrigation in certain areas.


In conclusion, the lift irrigation system in India holds significant importance for achieving food security, rural development, and sustainable agriculture. Its advantages, coupled with the government's schemes and support, have the potential to transform the agricultural landscape and improve the lives of farmers across the country.

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