Net irrigated area

Notes on sources of data

Statistics on irrigation and irrigated agriculture in India “measure the area irrigated by source (or sources) of irrigation. Such statistics contain no information on the quality of irrigation, on its intensity or regularity. Thus, irrigation statistics bring together, under the single head ‘irrigated’, a field that receives a single watering in a single season of the crop-year and a field that receives water in plenty all year round.” \cite{vikasirrigation1}

“Statistics on irrigation provide data on net and gross irrigated area from different sources and on number of irrigation structures. In practice, some fields receive irrigation from more than one source, in different seasons and in a single season. Official sources of statistics on irrigation in India do not provide separate data on the areas irrigated from more than one source of water. In official records, the sum of the areas irrigated (net and gross) by different individual sources is always equal to the total area irrigated (net and gross), implying that no fields are classified as being irrigated from multiple sources of irrigation.” \cite{vikasirrigation1}

Data on gross irrigated areas are incomplete and not available every year. Many States do not report these data at all.

Area irrigated by canals is likely to be over-reported as land in the command area is often considered as irrigated by canals even if it is not so. Data presented here show that area irrigated by canals has been stagnant since early 1980s. In reality, there has been a considerable decline in the extent of direct irrigation from canals in many canal irrigation projects on account of deterioration of infrastructure, accumulation of silt in reservoirs and poor irrigation management practices. Actual rates of growth of area under canal irrigation may have been even lower than what is reflected in these data. At the same time, seepage from canals contributes to groundwater recharge and augments groundwater irrigation potential.\cite{gadgil1948},\cite{dhawan1988}

Expansion of irrigation since the 1980s has primarily taken place through increased use of tubewells. Number of tubewells (particularly, diesel pumpset driven tubewells) is likely to be an under-count and, consequently, area irrigated by tubewells is likely to be underestimated. Actual growth of area irrigated by tubewells may be higher than what is reflected in these data. \cite{vikasirrigation1}

Data

irrigation.png

Table 1: Net irrigated area, by source, India, Million hectares
Year Government canals Private canals Canals (total) Tanks Tubewells Other wells Other sources Net irrigated area
1950-51 7.158 1.137 8.295 3.613 nil 5.978 2.967 20.85
1951-52 7.49 1.193 8.683 3.489 nil 6.517 2.36 21.05
1952-53 7.511 1.35 8.861 3.303 nil 6.521 2.437 21.12
1953-54 7.545 1.314 8.859 4.228 nil 6.685 2.097 21.87
1954-55 7.832 1.235 9.067 4.025 nil 6.726 2.27 22.09
1955-56 8.025 1.36 9.385 4.423 nil 6.739 2.211 22.76
1956-57 7.916 1.357 9.273 4.492 nil 6.566 2.202 22.53
1957-58 8.303 1.349 9.652 4.536 nil 6.818 2.15 23.16
1958-59 8.391 1.279 9.67 4.759 nil 6.686 2.286 23.4
1959-60 8.809 1.305 10.114 4.631 nil 7.083 2.209 24.04
1960-61 9.17 1.2 10.37 4.561 0.135 7.155 2.44 24.66
1961-62 9.339 1.163 10.502 4.612 0.258 7.094 2.418 24.88
1962-63 9.686 1.1463 10.832 4.7805 0.901 6.748 2.403 25.66
1963-64 9.862 1.1601 11.022 4.5992 1.028 6.756 2.483 25.89
1964-65 10.08 1.1431 11.223 4.78 1.087 6.9881 2.522 26.6
1965-66 9.859 1.099 10.958 4.258 1.293 7.3601 2.475 26.34
1966-67 10.221 1.026 11.247 4.424 1.706 7.4893 2.041 26.91
1967-68 10.295 0.948 11.243 4.493 2.112 6.9992 2.346 27.19
1968-69 10.985 0.907 11.892 3.926 3.087 7.714 2.39 29.01
1969-70 11.724 0.8806 12.605 4.059 3.739 7.4384 2.3564 30.2
1970-71 11.972 0.866 12.838 4.112 4.461 7.426 2.2661 31.1
1971-72 12.2461 0.8693 13.115 3.7341 4.745 7.5353 2.417 31.55
1972-73 12.134 0.8624 12.996 3.619 5.393 7.571 2.255 31.83
1973-74 12.196 0.8691 13.065 3.9 5.604 7.679 2.298 32.55
1974-75 12.657 0.857 13.5137 3.5443 6.583 7.6462 2.422 33.71
1975-76 12.933 0.858 13.7912 3.9722 6.543 7.601 2.386 34.59
1976-77 13.016 0.8454 13.8608 3.9013 7.4323 7.6552 2.3 35.15
1977-78 13.734 0.842 14.576 3.904 7.641 7.943 2.482 36.55
1978-79 14.304 0.8447 15.149 3.937 8.159 8.27 2.544 38.06
1979-80 13.931 0.8426 14.774 3.481 9.307 8.5571 2.405 38.52
1980-81 14.45 0.842 15.292 3.182 9.531 8.164 2.551 38.72
1981-82 15.456 0.49 15.946 3.376 10.334 8.403 2.4441 40.5
1982-83 15.716 0.4692 16.185 2.9363 10.77 8.577 2.223 40.69
1983-84 16.294 0.47 16.764 3.533 10.922 8.47 2.26 41.95
1984-85 15.805 0.4704 16.275 3.021 11.566 8.828 2.455 42.15
1985-86 15.715 0.465 16.1796 2.765 11.903 8.5153 2.502 41.87
1986-87 16.039 0.4562 16.4948 2.677 12.298 8.5242 2.575 42.57
1987-88 15.286 0.4602 15.746 2.523 13.185 8.611 2.827 42.89
1988-89 16.64 0.462 17.102 2.996 13.716 9.498 2.8364 46.15
1989-90 16.646 0.4782 17.124 2.941 14.049 9.837 2.751 46.7
1990-91 16.9728 0.4804 17.4532 2.944 14.257 10.437 2.932 48.02
1991-92 17.327 0.4642 17.7912 2.991 15.168 10.869 3.048 49.87
1992-93 16.503 0.483 16.986 3.179 15.815 11.105 3.211 50.3
1993-94 16.653 0.485 17.138 3.17 16.376 11.22 3.435 51.34
1994-95 16.799 0.48 17.279 3.276 17.189 11.722 3.533 53
1995-96 16.561 0.559 17.12 3.118 17.91 11.787 3.467 53.4
1996-97 16.889 0.22 17.109 2.821 19.338 12.457 3.388 55.11
1997-98 17.186 0.211 17.397 2.597 19.68 12.431 3.106 55.21
1998-99 17.099 0.212 17.311 2.795 21.394 12.606 3.329 57.44
1999-00 17.247 0.194 17.44 2.539 22.042 12.597 2.912 57.53
2000-01 15.762 0.203 15.965 2.455 22.569 11.26 2.885 55.13
2001-02 14.992 0.209 15.201 2.186 23.239 11.944 4.352 56.92
2002-03 13.806 0.206 14.012 1.803 23.479 10.914 3.664 53.87
2003-04 14.166 0.206 14.372 1.912 24.512 11.875 4.288 56.96
2004-05 14.474 0.214 14.688 1.735 23.054 12.161 7.567 59.21
2005-06 16.417 0.227 16.644 2.088 23.849 12.235 5.974 60.79
2006-07 16.73 0.224 16.954 2.083 24.764 12.897 6.003 62.7
2007-08 16.473 0.217 16.69 1.968 26.337 12.033 6.072 63.1
2008-09 16.401 0.196 16.596 1.979 26.013 12.563 6.045 63.2

Download csv file for this table from here.

Source: Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India

Comments

  • The most noteworthy feature of the graph above is the steep rise in area irrigated by groundwater (tubewells, in particular).
  • In contrast, area irrigated by canals, even by the official figures (which may be exaggerated), has been stagnant since the mid-1980s.
  • There has been a secular decline in the area irrigated by tanks since mid-1960s.

Irrigation potential

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