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Performance evaluation of an irrigation project using satellite Remote Sensing GIS & GPS
A. K. Chakraborti, V. V. Rao, M. Shanker, A. V. Suresh Babu
Water Resources Group, National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad
India is amongst the largest irrigator countries in the world today. There is, however, increasing concern about some of the irrigation potential created not brought into the functional system, low operating efficiency, less crop productivity etc. System performance monitoring, evaluation and diagnostic analysis are keys to appreciate the improvement or inefficiency in our irrigation projects. Irrigated lands’ baseline inventory in spatial and time domains using spatial information technologies (satellite remote sensing, digital image processing, GIS and GPS) provides an array of performance evaluation matrices to address this issue. Case study in Nagarjunasagar irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh, India is cited as a realization of this modern information technology tool.
A large number of irrigation projects have been commissioned in India in the post-independence era for improving food production and economic development. These irrigated croplands, though limited to about 30 percent of the gross cropped area in India, contribute more than 50 percent of the total agricultural production. This means, scientific management of irrigation water and irrigated croplands is the only way to make our agriculture productive and competitive. It is realized, however, that the irrigation potential created is not being fully utilized and gap exists between the potential created and potential utilized.
The centrally sponsored Command Area Development (CAD) programme was initiated in 1974-75 with the objective of bridging the gap between the creation and utilisation of irrigation potential and for optimising production and productivity from irrigated lands on sustainable basis. The programme mainly involves on-farm developmental works like construction of field channels and field drains, land lavelling and shaping and introduction of conjunctive use of canal and tubewell irrigation. CAD programme is in operation in the country for more than two decades. During the 8th Five Year Plan Period, performance evaluation studies of irrigation projects were taken up. One of the major constraints of such evaluation studies is the absence of baseline inventory of irrigation projects on spatial scale with the Command Area Development Authority (CADA). The lacunae was felt most when the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Govt. of India launched the National Water Management Project (NWMP) with the World Bank’s assistance in early nineties in some of the irrigation projects. Since then, MoWR is pursuing evaluation studies with several alternatives including application of satellite remote sensing.
An opportunity came in early 1998, when MoWR and National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) signed agreement to take up satellite remote sensing based evaluation study of 14 major irrigation projects as a bench mark exercise to be completed in 2 years time frame. These irrigation projects are : Sriramsagar and Nagarjunasagar (Andhra Pradesh), Jamuna and Sukla (Assam), Krishna, Jeyakwadi, Girna, Upper Tapi, Bhima and Purna (Maharashtra), Chambal (Rajasthan), DVC, Kangsabati and Mayurakshi (West Bengal) covering 3.3 million hectare culturable command area (CCA). This paper deals with Nagarjunasagar left bank canal irrigation command as one of the above-mentioned bench mark studies to realize application of spatial information technologies.