in this article, You will read the List of Important Canals in India – for UPSC IAS.


Canals are waterway channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or for servicing water transport vehicles. They carry free surface flow under atmospheric pressure and can be thought of as artificial rivers.

Canals are a human-made waterway that allows boats and ships to pass from one body of water to another. Canals are also used to transport water for irrigation and other human uses.

There are two types of canals: waterways and aqueducts. Waterways are the navigable parts of a body of water and can be located within a bay or open sea, can connect two or more water bodies, or may even form networks within a city. Aqueducts are used exclusively to transport water for drinking, agriculture, and hydroelectric power.

Canals, channels, and reservoirs constructed, maintained, or controlled by the State Government for the supply or storage of water.

List of Important Canals in India

Canal NameArea Served
Sethusamudram Shipping Canal ProjectTamilnadu, Kerala
Indira Gandhi CanalSultanpur, Punjab, Rajasthan
Buckingham CanalAndhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu
National Waterway 3 (India) (West Coast Canal)Kerala
Upper Ganges CanalUttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh
Lower Ganges CanalUttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh
Agra CanalUttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan
Telugu Ganga projectAndhra Pradesh
Handri-NeevaAndhra Pradesh
K. C. CanalAndhra Pradesh
Tajewala CanalHaryana
Munak canal (part of Western Yamuna Canal)Haryana & Delhi
Western Yamuna CanalHaryana & Delhi
Kalingarayan CanalTamilnadu
Buddha Nullah CanalPunjab
Sutlej Yamuna link CanalPunjab
Sirhind Canal Punjab
Anupgarh canalRajasthan (western India)
Narmada CanalGujarat, Rajasthan
Conolly CanalKerala
Ainsley canalTamilnadu
Kalingarayan CanalTamilnadu
Basavarajeshwari CampKarnataka
Lower Bhavani Project CanalTamilnadu
Kaveri-Vaigai link canalKerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu
Trivandrum-Shoranur canalKerala
Tamirabarani-Nambiar link canalKerala, Karnataka
Kakatiya CanalTelangana
Sharda CanalUttar Pradesh
Zamania CanalUttar Pradesh
Deokali CanalUttar Pradesh
Karmanasa CanalBihar
Durgavati CanalBihar
Kutte KolJammu and Kashmir
Nallah Mar or Mar CanalJammu and Kashmir
Tsoont KolJammu and Kashmir
Cumbarjua CanalGoa
Soundane CutMaharashtra
National Inland Waterways and Canals

Upper Ganges Canal

  • The Upper Ganges canal is the original Ganges Canal, which starts at the Bhimgoda Barrage near Har ki Pauri at Haridwar, traverses Meerut and Bulandshahr, and continues to Nanau in Aligarh district, where it bifurcates into the Kanpur and Etawah branches.
  • The 1412 Km long Upper Ganges Canal is use to irrigates the Doab region of India.

Lower Ganges Canal

  • This is lower part of Ganga Canal. It originates from a barrage at Narora (near Bulandshahar).
  • Lower Ganges canal has two main branches – Bhognipur Branch which starts near Jera village of Mainpuri district and Kanpur & Etawah branch.
  • The Bhognipur branch was opened in year 1880.

Indira Gandhi Canal

  • The Indira Gandhi Canal (originally, Rajasthan Canal) is the longest canal in India.
  • It starts from the Harike Barrage at Harike, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers in the Indian state of Punjab, and terminates in irrigation facilities in the Thar Desert in the northwest of Rajasthan.
  • Indira Gandhi Canal is 649 km long and consists of Rajasthan feeder canal and Rajasthan main canal and runs through 167 km in Punjab and Haryana and remaining 492 km in Rajasthan.
Indira Gandhi Canal

Buckingham Canal

  • The Buckingham Canal is a 796 kilometers long fresh water navigation canal, that parallels the Coromandel Coast of South India from Kakinada City in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh to Viluppuram District in Tamil Nadu.
  • It connect most of the water bodies like Pulicat Lake,Krishna River and the port of Chennai.
Buckingham Canal

Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal

  • The Sutlej Yamuna link canal is also known as SYL is a major project to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers.
  • Sutlej Yamuna link canal is 214-km long freight canal that will create important commercial links to India.
  • The Sutlej Yamuna waterway is 90 percent completed but the remaining 10 are still remaining.
Sutlej Yamuna Canal

Western Yamuna Canal

  • Western Yamuna Canal was originally built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1335 AD. It was renovated and restructured during the British period in the year 1817.
  • The length of the main canal is 86 Km and the total length including branches is 325 Km.
  • This canal originates from the Hathnikund barrage near Dakpathar, Dehradun of Uttarakhand state.
  • Tajewala barrage of Yamunanagar district, Haryana regulates and controls the flow of water to Western Yamuna Canal.
  • Pathrala barrage, Somb river dam is constructed on this canal to harvest the water efficiently.
  • Sirsa branch is one of the largest branches of this canal which was built in 1895. One of the branches of this canal feeds the Agra Canal near Okhla.
  • This canal and its branches irrigate the vast expense of Punjab and Haryana namely cities like Ambala, Karnal, Rohtak, Jind, Hissar, etc.

Sharda Canal

  • The Sharda Canal is the longest canal in Uttar Pradesh along with its several branches it forms a network of canals.
  • Sharda Canal is located in the Pilibhit district and has a total length of 938 Km including all branches.
Sharda Canal

Narmada Canal

  • Narmada canal is a major canal in the western part of India. The origin of this canal is Sardar Sarovar Dam, Navgam in Gujarat.
  • It runs for 460 Kms in Gujarat and then 74 Kms in Rajasthan making a total length of 534 Km. It is mainly an irrigation-type canal and irrigates an area of 52,60,000 acres of western India. The width of this canal is 73 meters and the depth is 7.6 meters.  
  • This canal has transformed the arid lands of the Gujarat Kutch region and adjacent dry areas of the Jalore and Barmer districts of Rajasthan.

Kakatiya Canal

  • Kakatiya canal is an important canal of Telangana state. The origin of this canal is Sriram Sagar Reservoir (Dam) and it discharges/ empties into Lower Manair Dam.
  • This canal irrigates and provides drinking water to many cities of North Telangana including Nizamabad, Warangal, Karimnagar, and Khamman.
  • The total length of this canal is 284 Km and its average flow rate is 275 cubic meters per second.

Agra Canal

  • Agra canal originates from Okla barrage, 18 Km south of Delhi. Its construction was completed in the year 1928.
  • It draws water from the right bank of the Yamuna river.
  • Agra canal is responsible for the irrigation of nearly 1.5 lakh hectares of cultivated land of Agra, Mathura, Faridabad, Bharatpur.

Handri Neeva Canal Project

  • This canal project is one of the longest canals of the Rayalseema (South Andhra Pradesh) region. The length of this canal is 569 Km.
  • This canal originates from Srisailam reservoir and runs through four districts namely Anantpur Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool.
  • This canal is a multi-utility canal that is meant for irrigation, supplying drinking water, and removal of excess floodwater from srisailam reservoir.
  • This canal originates from Srisailam reservoir and along with its course links a number of rivers of Rayalseema region like Penna, Chitravati, Mandavya, Papagni, etc, and feeds numerous reservoirs along its course.
  • Handri Neeva canal project started in the year 2005.

Sirhind canal

  • Sirhind canal is basically an irrigation-type canal. This canal originates from the Sutlej river near Ropar city, Rupnagar district of Punjab.
  • The construction of this canal was completed in the year 1882. This canal is meant for irrigation of most of the Malwa region of Punjab.

Soundane Cut

  • Soundane Cut is the name of the canal that originates from the Ujani dam.
  • This dam is located at Ujani, Madha Taluka, Solapur district of Maharashtra.
  • It draws water from the Bhima river.
Important Canals in India UPSC
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Net area irrigation by source could be added canal account for 25%apx irrigated area after tubewell 62% in india