• Uttar Pradesh has a well-developed irrigation network. As per the statistics of 2014-15, about 86.7% of the net sown area of the state comes under the irrigated area. It is significantly higher than the national average of 48.8 % in 2014-15.
  • Development of irrigation networks helps in bringing more area under cultivation and increase in multi cropping and double cropping.
  • Regional Disparity in Terms of Irrigation Facilities
    • Uttar Pradesh has large regional variations in terms of irrigation facilities. The western region has the highest percentage of net irrigated area to the net sown area. Central and eastern regions are ranked second and third respectively. Bundelkhand region has the lowest percentage.
    • The western region has the highest net irrigated area followed by the eastern region. Bundelkhand has the least net irrigated area. Eastern region is the first in terms of area under canal irrigation and Bundelkhand is least.
    • In terms of area under well and tubewell irrigation, the western region ranks first and Bundelkhand is least. Bundelkhand is highest in terms of tank irrigation followed by the eastern region.
    • District wise disparity is more severe.
      • Meerut, Bagpat, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, Bagpat, Hapur (Meerut division) and Shamli have 100% net irrigated area to the net sown area.
      • On the other hand, Mahoba and Sonbhadra have 25%and 32.2% of the net sown area under irrigation.
      • Meerut division has the highest 100% net sown area under irrigation whereas Chitrakoot Dham division has the lowest amounting to 51%.

Important Terms Related to Irrigation

  • Net Irrigated Area – It is the total of all the area irrigated in a year by any means of irrigation.
  • Gross Irrigated Area– It is similar to the gross sown area. It is the total of the irrigated area under various crops during the same year. Area irrigated under each different crop is counted as a separate area for the calculation of gross irrigated area.
  • Irrigation Intensity – It is the percentage of net irrigated area to the net sown area.
RegionNet Irrigated Area by All SourcesPercentage of Net Irrigated Area to Net Sown Area
Percentage of Net Irrigated Area to Net Sown Area (2015-16)
S. No.SourcePercentage Area
4.Ponds, lakes etc.0.5
Net Irrigated Area by Different Sources of Irrigation in the State

Means of Irrigation in the State

  • Groundwater and surface water both are extensively used for irrigation in Uttar Pradesh. Tubewells and wells are used for groundwater irrigation whereas canals and ponds are used for surface-water irrigation.
  • As per the statistics of 2015-16, tubewells are the largest source of irrigation in the state.
    • Out of the total irrigated area, approximately 84% comes under well and tubewell irrigation.
    • Out of the rest 15.2% under canal irrigation, 0.5% under tank irrigation and 0.6% are under other sources of irrigation.
  • Net irrigated area in Uttar Pradesh in 2015-16 was 14,232 thousand hectares.

Sources of irrigation

  • Wells and Tubewells
    • Wells and tubewells use underground water for irrigation. Tubewells and wells are one of the most widely popular means of irrigation. Traditionally Persian wheel Rabat, Charas were the methods of utilising groundwater.
    • It is more prevalent in Ganga-Satluj Plains due to higher ground water table. Construction of Tubewell is easy and takes less time.
    • Tubewell irrigation is the largest source of irrigation in the state and national level. Uttar Pradesh has the largest area under tubewell irrigation in the country.
    • Most of the tubewells are privately owned. Persian wells, pump set on earth, pump set on boring, electric tubewells, diesel tubewells, deep tubewells, artizancoop, etc. are the different methods of well irrigation. Among these pump sets on boring and diesel tubewells are the most popular.
    • Depletion of groundwater and high cost of electricity and diesel are the problems associated with tubewell irrigation.
  • Tanks, Lakes and Ponds
    • Tanks, lakes and ponds are the main sources of irrigation in the areas which are out of canal network and the groundwater level is low.
    • Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh is traditionally dependent on tanks for irrigation and drinking water. A large number of ponds and lakes were constructed in Bundelkhand since ancient times. These lakesand ponds are used for collecting rainwater and later utilising it.
    • In 2015-16, about 64,000 ha land in the state was tank irrigated. It is a significant decline from 2014-14 when 134,000-ha land was tank irrigated.
    • Construction of tanks is a time consuming and expensive process. It is also dependent on rain and tanks may dry up during summer seasons.
  • Other Means of Irrigation
    • As per the statistics of 2015-16, approximately 83,000-ha land is under other sources of irrigation.
    • Springs, kuhls, swing basket, dhenkti, dongs and bokka are the other sources of irrigation.
  • Canal Irrigation
    • Canal irrigation is an effective method of irrigation in the northern plains where the perennial source of water in the form of the Himalayan rivers are available.
    • Uttar Pradesh is ranked first in the country in terms of canal irrigation. Uttar Pradesh has a total of 2,166 thousand hectare area under canal irrigation. The state has a high concentration of canals in the western part.
    • Problems of overirrigation, waterlogging and environmental impacts are associated with the canals. Interstate canal projects also become a cause of inter-state disputes sometimes.
  • Minor Irrigation Resources
    • Minor irrigation resources may be government-owned or private owned. It includes both surface water and groundwater irrigation projects.
    • More than 80% of the total irrigation in the state is done by minor irrigation resources. Private minor irrigation resources are more than 70 % of the total irrigation resources.
    • Tubewell, check dam, minor canals, etc. are included in minor irrigation resources.
    • The minor irrigation department of the state provides technical and financial assistance to make farmers self-sufficient in termsof irrigation facilities.
    • Minor Dal (Lift) Irrigation Projects- Following minor dal (lift) irrigation projects are being operated by the State Government.
      • Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Govt. Tubewell Modernisation Project
      • Modernisation of existing Minor Dal irrigation canal
      • Deum Pump Canal Project, Pratapgarh
      • Adsad New Pump Canal Project
      • Dohrighat Pump Canal Project, Mirzapur
      • Chari New Pump Canal Project

Important Canals

  • Uttar Pradesh has a well-developed canal network. Some important canals are given below:
    • Eastern Yamuna Canal
      • It is the oldest canal of Uttar Pradesh. It was constructed in 1830 on the Yamuna river near Tajwala in Haryana. Now Hathnikund barrage constructed 3 km upstream is its source.
      • Districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Ghaziabad benefit from this canal.
    • Upper Ganga Canal
      • This canal was first made operational in 1854. It originates from Ganga at Bhimgoda in Haridwar. It has a total length of 6,496 km.
      • It is divided into three branches namely Deoband Branch, Anupshahr Branch and Maath Branch.
      • Districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Etah, Mathura, Firozabad, Mainpuri and Agra are benefited by this canal.
    • Lower Ganga Canal
      • The canal was constructed in 1878. It originates from Ganga at Narora in Bulandshahar district. It has a total length of 8,278 km.
      • This canal provides irrigation facility to the districts of Aligarh, Etah, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur Nagar, Fatehpur and Prayagraj.
    • Agra Canal
      • Agra canal system was built in 1878 on the Yamuna at Okhla. It has a total length of 1,874 km.
      • It benefits Faridabad and Gurgaon districts of Haryana, Mathura and Agra districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur of Rajasthan.
    • Sharda Canal
      • It is the longest canal in the state and it was constructed in 1928. It originates from Sharda river in Banbasa of Nainital. Its total length is 9,961.3 km.
      • Nainital, Peelibhit, Bareily, Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Barabanki, Raebareli, Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Ghazipur and Prayagraj benefit from this canal.
    • Betwa Canal System
      • It benefits Jhansi, Hamirpur and Jalaun districts of Uttar Pradesh and Tikamgarh, Datia and Gwalior districts of Madhya Pradesh.
      • Paricha dam, Dhukwan dam and Matatela dams have been constructed on Betwa to provide water in Betwa canal.
    • Dhasan Canal
      • Dhasan canal was built on Dhasan river in 1910 to provide irrigation water in Hamirpur district.
    • Ken Canal
      • It originates from Panna district in Madhya Pradesh.
      • It benefits Banda district of Uttar Pradesh.

Ongoing Canal Projects

  • Rajghat Canal
    • It is a joint project of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments. Rajghat dam is proposed in Lalitpur district on Betwa river.
    • It will benefit the Bundelkhand region.
  • Saryu Ghagra Canal
    • This project will benefit districts of Bahraich, Gonda, Balrampur, Sravasti, Siddharthnagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Basti and Gorakhpur.
    • Under this project, a canal on Ghagra has been constructed and construction of canals from Saryua and Rapti barrages is proposed.
  • Madhya Ganga Canal
    • This is a 115-km under construction canal on Ganga. Its construction was started in 2007-08.
    • Its origin will be Ganga Barrage in Bijnor.
    • It will benefit districts of Moradabad,Sambhal, Amroha and Badaun.
  • Kanhar Project
    • It is proposed on the Kanhar river in Mirzapur.
    • It will benefit Chopan and Duddhi divisions of Sonbhadra.
  • Arjun Sahayak Project
    • Under this project water will be brought from the Chaudhary Charan Singh Lahchura Dam to Arjun Dam through Arjun feeder canal.
    • It will benefit districts of Mahoba and Hamirpur.
  • Badaun Irrigation Project
    • Under this project construction of Ramganga Barrage and canal network is proposed to benefit Badaun and Bareilly district.
  • Jasrana Canal
    • It will benefit the region between Sirsa and Sengar river in Firozabad and Shikohabad districts.
  • Bhaurat Dam project
    • It is proposed in Lalitpur districts on Jamni river, a tributary of Betwa.
Classification of Irrigation Projects Based on Command Area
  • Major Irrigation Projects– Projects havingculturable command area over 10,000 hectares.
  • Medium Irrigation Projects – Projects having culturable command area in the range of 2,000-10,000 ha.
  • Minor Irrigation Projects– Projects having culturable command area 2,000 ha.
  • Major and medium irrigation projects are generally classified as multipurpose projects, based upon their use.

Schemes for Private Minor Irrigation Resources

  • Free of Cost Boring (shallow Tube well)
    • This scheme has been operational since 1985.
    • Under this scheme, small and marginal farmers are provided grants for boring.
  • Scheme for Medium Deep Tubewells
    • It was launched in 2004-05.
    • Under this scheme, grants are provided for the construction of medium-deep tubewells in areas where groundwater is available at the depth of 3160 m.
  • Scheme for Deep Tube Wells
    • It was started in 2012-13.
    • Under this scheme, grant is provided for construction of deep tube-wells in the plateau, deepand hard strata regions.
  • Ram Manohar Lohia Community Tubewell Scheme
    • Under this scheme subsidy is provided for construction of tubewells in the region where no other medium or deep tubewell exists in 300 m range.
    • The subsidy is provided to the group of farmers. The minimum command area of tubewell should be 20 ha.
    • The scheme also has provision of irrigating neighbouring fields on chargeable basis.
  • Scheme for Surface Pump Set
    • This scheme is applicable in Bundelkhand and cross-Yamuna plateaus/ tablel and districts viz Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Chandauli and Prayagraj.
    • Under this scheme, a grant is provided to the farmers for the installation of pump sets for irrigation from natural surface water sources.
  • Scheme for Blast Wells
    • This scheme is applicable in the eight districts of Bundelkhand and Vindhyachal region viz. Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Chitrakoot, Prayagraj, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and Chandauli.
    • Under this scheme, community and private wells are constructed using blasting technology.
    • The private blast wells are constructed on the 100% government expenditure.
  • Construction of Check Dams for Groundwater Recharging
    • Under this scheme, check dams are being constructed on the small streams and rivers in the plateau region including Bundelkhand.
    • The objective of these check dams is optimum use of rainwater, irrigation and groundwater recharge.
    • Construction of 16 check dams was completed in 2018.
  • Construction of Group Mini Green Tubewells
    • Under this scheme, construction of 5 horsepower solar energy operated tubewells will be done.
  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna
    • Under the Har Khet Ko Pani component of the Gol operated Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna, 69 blocks of 18 districts of Uttar Pradesh have been selected.
    • Small and marginal farmers will be benefited under this scheme.
S. No.ItemsUnit201220182019
1.Persian WellTh.135155155
2.Pump set on EarthTh.293030
3.Pump set on boringTh.413142844297
4.Electric Tube-wellsTh.494504506
5.Diesel Tube-wellsTh.353436783690
6.Deep Tube-wellsNo.290313466535298
7.Artizancoop, PersonalNo.846855855
Minor Private Irrigation Units in UP
Items/YearMinor Irrigation
State /Private
Major &
Potential3954 / 23066 8537 35557
Utilisation1896 / 14608 7205 23710
Potential4075 / 24242 9178 37495
Utilisation2077 / 193946658 28129
Potential4075 / 24242 9061 37608
Utilisation2246 / 19578769129515
Potential4075 / 24679907537829
Utilisation2250 / 19743770029693
Irrigation Potential and its Utilisation in U.P. (Thousand Hectares)

Micro Irrigation Systems

  • India’s water demand for irrigation is huge. Approximately 80% of total water resources are used for irrigation.
  • Since water resources are limited, more efficient irrigation methods need to be employed. Micro irrigation is such a system where drips, sprinklers, etc. are employed to irrigate at each plant at surface or subsur face level.
  • Drip and sprinkler are the two most popular categories of micro-sprinkler systems.
    • Drip Irrigation System – Drip irrigation is the application of the required amount of water at the root level at a fixed interval by using a dripper. A network of pipes is installed in the cultivated area which supplies pressurised water to the root zone. The network of pipes may be at the surface of subsurface levels.
    • Sprinkler Irrigation System – In this system pressurised water is sprayed using a sprinkler in the designated area. It is similar to the application of rainwater. Size of the dropletsand water pressur eaffects the efficiency of irrigation. These are controlled by a pump and nozzle. Sprinkler irrigation is not suitable for windy regions.

Benefits of Micro Irrigation

  • Optimum water use and uniform w’ater application
  • Improvement in quality and yield
  • Saving in electricity
  • Application of fertilisers, herbicide, weedicide and pesticide with irrigated water
  • Inhibit weed growth by limited application of water
  • Suitable to various topography and soil type
  • Improves toleranceof crops to soil salinity especially in drip irrigation due to high moisture content at the root of the plant

Schemes/ Projects for Micro Irrigation

  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna (Per Crop More Drop) – This scheme is applicable in all the districts of the State. Farmers are being provided subsidies up to 90% for setting up micro-irrigation systems.
  • Kulpahar Sprinkler Irrigation Project – This project is aimed to create a sprinkler irrigation facility by pumping water from Arjun dam. The project will benefit Kulpahar of Mahoba district.
  • Masagaon and Chilli Sprinkler System– This project will be financed under the Bundelkhand package. It aims tocreate sprinkler irrigation facilities in Masagaon and Chilli villages of Hamirpur.
  • Shahzad Sprinkler Irrigation Project – Under this project, sprinkler irrigation facilities for Paraun, Rajpura, Baroda Dang, Baswaha, etc. villages of Lalitpur district have been constructed.

Multipurpose Projects

  • Multipurpose projects are those projects which are constructed to fulfil multiple objectives such as irrigation, drinking water, hydel power, fisheries, etc.
  • These projects require extremely high investments and provide huge benefits to a large area.
  • Some impor tant multipurpose projects of Uttar Pradesh are given below:
    • Rihand Project
      • Its construction was completed in 1962. Rihand project is situated at Pipari in Sonbhadra. It is located on the Rihand River, a tributary of Son.
      • Rihand dam, Rihand Hydel power station, Obra dam and Obra hydel power station are the components of Rihand Project.
      • The Rihand project benefits by providing irrigation water and electricity. It also prevents floods and drought situations by managing water of Rihand. It also provides opportunities for fisheries, water sports, tourism and inland water transport between Son and Ganga.
      • Its reservoir, Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar is the largest lake of India by volume.
    • Rajghat Dam Project
      • It is a joint project between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh constructed near Lalitpur on Betwa River.
      • The project is used for irrigation in drought-prone Bundelkhand region and hydroelectricity generation.
      • MataTila Dam, Dhukwan Dam and Pariksha Dam are also constructed downstream of Betwa river.
    • MataTila Dam
      • MataTila Dam was built in Jhansi on Betwa River in 1958. The project is crucial for irrigation in Bundelkhand .
      • The project also has a hydroelectric capacity of 30.6 MW.
      • Gursarai and Mandar canal irrigates Hamirpur and Jalaun districts.
    • Sharda Sagar Project
      • Sharda Sagar dam is located in Pilibhit district near Indo-Nepal border.
      • It provides irrigation water to the districts of Jaunpur, Azamgarh and Ballia.
    • Ban Sagar Dam Project
      • It is a proposed project among Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It has been declared as a National Project in 2018.
      • The project is used for irrigation and hydel power generation. The extensive canal network is proposed under this project.
      • Under this project, water from Bansagar dam in Madhya Pradesh will be brought into the Adhwa river of Mirzapur.
      • Construction of Ban Sagar Feeder Canal, Adwa-Meja Link Canal, Meja-Jirago Link Canal, Jirago-Hussainpur Link Canal and Restoration of Belan Canal is proposed.
      • Prayagraj and Mirzapur districts will benefit from this project.
    • Arjun Dam
      • This dam is located at Charkhari in Mahoba district.
      • Hamirpur and Mahoba districts use water from the dam for irrigation.
    • Renukaji Multipurpose Project
      • It is a joint project among six states comprising Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
      • Its objective is to fulfill drinking water needs.
      • Lakhwar project on Yamuna in Uttarakhand, Kishau project on Tones in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and Renukaji projecton river Giri in Himachal Pradesh are proposed under this project.
      • This project is identified as a national project.
    • HathniKund Barrage
      • It is located on Yamuna River in Yamunanagar of Haryana. It is a joint project of five states consisting Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
      • The project is used for irrigation and hydel power generation. The barrage provides water to Eastern Yamuna Canal in Uttar Pradesh and Western Yamuna canal in Haryana.
      • Hathnikund Barrage replaced the earlier Tajewala barrage.
    • Sharda Yamuna Link Canal
      • Sharda Yamuna link canal is proposed to address the water scarcity of Yamuna. The canal will have a length of 384 km.
      • The proposed link canal will take water from Sharda near Tanakpur of Uttarakhand and supply it to Yamuna at Muzaffarnagar District of Uttar Pradesh.
      • Bareilly, Rampur, Moradabad, Badaun and Bijnor districts will come under the command area of the canal.
      • Proposed Pancheshwar and Poornagiri dams on the upstream of Sharda, will store Sharda water before transferring it to the Sharda Yamuna link Canal.
    • Ken-Betwa Link Project
      • It will benefit Jhansi, Banda, Mahoba and Lalitpur districts of Uttar Pradesh.
      • It will transfer excess water from Ken to Betwa through a series of dams and a 230-km canal.

Important Projects/Dams of Uttar Pradesh

Rajghat Dam ProjectLalitpurBetwa
Matatila Dam ProjectJhansiBetwa
Maudaha DamHamirpurBirma
Musa Khad DamChandauliKarmnasha
Meja JalashayaMirzapurBelan
Kanhar DamSonbhadraKanhar
Ram Ganga Kothi DamBijnorRamganga
Ban Sagar DamShahdol (MP) Son
Hathnikund BarrageYamunanagar (Haryana)Yamuna
Jirgo reservoirMirzapurJirgo
Gokul Barrage (Drinking Water)GokulYamuna
Ganga water Project (Drinking water)Ghaziabad
Luv-Kush Barrage (Drinking water)KanpurGanga
Agra Barrage (Drinking water)AgraYamuna
Ahraura DamVaranasiGarai
Arjun DamMahobaArjun
Pathrai DamJhansiPathrai
Saprar DamSaprar (a tributary of Betwa)Jhansi

UP State Water Policy, 1999

  • State water policy has been formulated on the guidelines of National Water Policy, 1987. It has the following main objectives:
    • Ensure preservation of the scarce water resources.
    • Bring about qualitative improvement in water resource management which should include user’s participation and decentralisation of authority.
    • Emphasis on basin or sub-basin approach in the formulation of projects. Treatment of both surface and groundwater as a unitary resource.
    • Ensure self-sustainability in water resource development.
    • Ensure ecological and environmental balance while developing water resources.
    • Ensure flood management and drainage as an integral part of water resource development.
    • Promote research and training facilities in the water resource sector.
    • Provide a substantive legal framework for management.

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