Agriculture and Allied Sectors

Water Resources

Agriculture is the single largest consumer of water. Agriculture accounts for more than 70 per cent of the total water demand globally and its share is as high as 90 per cent in developing countries like India. In this context, even a marginal saving in irrigation water use can release substantial amounts of water for agricultural expansion as well as for meeting the needs of other sectors like domestic water demand. The irrigation water is one of the most ill-managed resource, which creates a severe scarcity of water, both for drinking and irrigation in some region and environmental problem such as water logging in some region. It is now widely recognised that a paradigm shift from the traditional supply orientated mind set towards the concept of water conservation and demand management is essential for the sustainability of water resources and the environment, as well as economic efficiency and social development.

Due to unique topographic and geomorphic settings, scarcity of water is experienced in many parts of the state during the summer months. For proper planning of the future control and utilization of the available water resources, the quantity, the quality and the temporal reliability of the resource needs to be assessed.

Live Storage Capacities of Irrigation Reservoirs

There are 18 dams in the State intended for irrigation. Out of this, 14 have storages and remaining are barrages. The live storage position of the reservoirs during the beginning and end of the monsoon period during 2014 to 2016 and the average for 10 years are given in Appendix 2.51. During 2016, at the beginning of monsoon, the total storage was 488.35 Mm3 and at the end of the monsoon, the level was raised to 690 Mm3, as against the previous year levels of 527.83 Mm3 and 901.15 Mm3 respectively. On analyzing the increase in storage position of reservoirs after monsoon during the past three years, it is to be noted that there is a decreasing trend, ie from 901.26 Mm3 in 2014 it has declined to 373.32 Mm3 in 2015 and to 201.65 Mm3 in 2016. 10 year average data shows that storage in the beginning of monsoon was 442.05 Mm3 which increased to 1094.95 Mm3 after the monsoon indicating an increase of 652.9 Mm3.  

Figure 2.11
Live storage Position in the Reservoirs (2014-16), in million cubic meter


Source: Water Resources Department, Government of Kerala

Long Pending Irrigation Projects

There are 4 long pending irrigation projects which began in 1970s. Status of these irrigation projects are given in Appendix 2.52.

Karapuzha Irrigation Project

Karapuzha Irrigation Project, the first project taken up for execution during Vth Five Year Plan, envisaged construction of an earth dam across Karapuzha stream to create a reservoir of 76.50 Mm3 storage capacity and to irrigate an (net) ayacut of 5221 hectares(net) of land in three taluks of Wayanad district. The project aims to provide irrigation facility during the second crop period of paddy. Karappuzha Irrigation Project was included in the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme under Prime Ministers Relief Package during 2006-07.

The project was approved by Planning Commission in 1978 with an estimated cost of 7.60 crore envisaging irrigation to Cultivable Command Area of 5600 ha and an ultimate irrigation potential of 8721 ha. Now, as per 2010 schedule of rates, the revised estimate is 441.50 crore. The project has been partially commissioned on 20.6.2010 with an ayacut (CCA) of 390 ha and an irrigation potential of 608 ha was created out of 7355 ha envisaged. As on March 2016, on completion of repairs of canal, additional CCA of 211 ha was created. Thus, as on 31.03.2016, total CCA created is 601 ha..

The cumulative expenditure incurred up to October 2016 is 322.87 crore. Head works, works of right bank canal and left bank canal are completed. 47.26 per cent of branch canal works and 5 per cent works of distributaries are also completed.

Muvattupuzha Valley Irrigation Project

The Muvattupuzha Valley Irrigation Project, one of the major projects in Kerala envisages the utilization of the tailrace discharge from the Moolamattom Power House of the Idukki Hydro-Electric Project and the dependable runoff from the catchments of Thodupuzha River. MVIP was started in 1974 with an estimated cost of 20.86 crore. The estimated cost of the project based on current CPWD rate is 945.00 crore. Project was partially commissioned in 1994

The expenditure of the project as on October2016 is 918 Cr. AIBP Central Loan Assistance of 154.96 cr was released during 2000-2009. Balance work is to be done for completion of the project.

Idamalayar Irrigation Project

Idamalayar Irrigation Project is a diversion scheme for diverting water of Periyar river for irrigating 14,394 ha. of cultivable lands in Periyar and Chalakudy basins. The project also envisages the improvement and augmentation of Chalakudy river diversion scheme by linking with the canal of Idamalayar irrigation project. The work commenced in 1981 at an estimated cost of 17.85 crore and has been revised to 750.00 crore as per 2012 SOR.  

Main components of the project are: (1) A head regulator across the main canal at its starting point. (2) Canal system consisting of – Main canal ( 32.278 km), Low level canal ( 27.25 km), link canal ( 7.575 km). Main canal for a full length of 32.278 km and low level canal upto 7.3 km are completed and water through. Cumulative expenditure as on October 2016 is 426.54 crore. Total ayacut achieved is 2391.66 ha.

Banasurasagar Irrigation Project

The project commenced in 1979 with an estimated cost of 8.00 crore to irrigate an area of 2800 ha (net) agriculture land for the second and third crops in two taluks of Wayanad district. The revised estimate of the project as per 2010 SOR is 185.5 crores.

86 per cent of the works of 2730 m long main canal have been completed. The work of both branch canals – Padinjarathara branch canal and Venniyode branch canal are in progress. Out of the total length of 5390 m of Venniyode branch canal, works of 770 m completed. Total expenditure incurred for the project is 52.78 crore ( including 85 lakh paid to KSEB as share cost).

Flood Management Programme

As per the constitutional provision, the subject “Flood Management” falls within the purview of the States. India has made huge investment in Flood control sector since 1951 but the fear about severity of floods and the agony brought out by them still persist in many cases.

Kuttanad Package

Schemes related to Flood Control, salinity management and drainage are undertaken by Irrigation Department. An amount of 1517.90 cr was earmarked for this purpose. As on March 2016, out of the total cost outlay of 1840.40 cr, 707.326 crore has been utilised. Of the total expenditure, 353.42 cr crore is utilised for irrigation projects. Four schemes are sanctioned under Flood Management Programme(FMP) :- KEL-I – Mitigation of floods (14 padasekharams), KEL II - Mitigation of floods (9 padasekharams), KEL III - Mitigation of floods (231 padasekharams), KEL IV- Mitigation of floods in 12 watersheds. An amount of 200.00 core was budgeted during the first four years of 12th plan as state share and another 600.00 crore was provided as central share. Out of 800.00 crore budgeted, 206.68 crore was utilized as state share and 150.13 crore was utilized as central share ( Total 356.81 crore). Works of KEL-I and KEL II have been completed.

Irrigation Status

The net irrigated area source – wise for the period 2015-16 is shown in Appendix 2.53 and Appendix 2.54. As per the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, the net irrigated area in the State during 2014-15 was 4.14 lakh ha and this was reduced to 4.13 lakh ha during 2015-16. Irrigated area through private canals showed a tremendous decrease from 1249 ha( 2014-15) to 774 ha( 2015-16). Compared to 2014-15, the gross irrigated area has shown an increase from 4.69 lakh ha to 4.83 lakh ha during 2015-16. Coconut, paddy and vegetables were most benefitted during the period. Gross Irrigated area of vegetables showed an increasing trend over the past three years, from 21066 ha in 2013-14 and 24472 ha in 2014-15 to 39306 during 2015-16. Details are given in Appendix 2.55 and Appendix 2.56. The percentage of gross irrigated area to gross cropped area also increased from 17.89 in 2014-15 to 18.4 in 2015-16.

Sustainable Low cost Rehabilitation of Ponds – An initiative by Kerala Irrigation
Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (KIIDC)

Ponds play a crucial role in the development of an area. But, over a period of time, the pond system has failed mainly due to poor maintenance and upkeep as well as due to filling and conversion for commercial purpose. KIIDC has initiated a project on the Restoration of Ponds in Thiruvananthapuram corporation limits. Main highlights of the project are :

  • Implementation will be done in a phased manner within the corporation limits
  • Renovation cost limited to an average of 15.00lakh per pond.
  • Selection of public ponds for conservation and recharge of water
  • Use of low cost biological methods.
  • Exploring the possibility of recreation and fish cultivation.

Survey and data collection was carried out by KIIDC across the wards of Corporation and based on ownership, ponds were categorized into public and private. A monitoring committee consisting of ward member of the area and representatives of respective residence association and KIIDC were constituted for each of the pond taken up for restoration. Till March 31, 2016, 24 ponds have been completed and works in 18 ponds of the remaining 30 ponds are complete and the works in balance 12 ponds are in different stages of implementation.

Source: KIIDC

Minor Irrigation

Schemes having a cultivable command area up to 2000 ha are treated as Minor Irrigation schemes. Out of these, schemes having an ayacut below 50 ha are classified as Minor Irrigation Class II and those having ayacut area of 50 ha or more are Minor Irrigation Class I schemes. The role of Minor Irrigation is quite significant to our State. Works generally taken up under Minor Irrigation are construction of check dams, construction and renovation of irrigation tanks, regulators and bunds, and lift irrigation works.

Focus on minor irrigation and development of minor irrigation structures in critical agro ecological zones for the development of agriculture was one of the thrust areas during 12th plan period. During the 12th plan period, 19.63 per cent of the total budgeted outlay was earmarked for Minor Irrigation. Physical achievement of Minor Irrigation for 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 are shown in Appendix 2.57.

NABARD has been providing loan assistance for irrigation works through RIDF Phase 1 to XXI since 1995-96. 1314 projects have been completed under different tranches (RIDF I to XXI). Details are given in Appendix 2.58. RIDF I to XV have been closed and the works under RIDF XVI to XXI are in progress. NABARD has sanctioned 26 proposals worth 134.12 crore and 25 proposals for 129.89 crore under RIDF XX and XXI respectively.

Haritha Keralam Mission

Conservation and protection of the environment and thereby natural resources such as land and water have been an inseparable part of Indian heritage and culture. Over the years, the water use scenario has changed drastically impacting the water systems adversely. This necessitates a major campaign focusing on the restoration of all types of water resource system and management of all resources in a sustainable and equitable manner. 

Some of the major objectives of Haritha Keralam mission are - restore and improve the existing water resource systems including water resource structures, maximize rain water harvesting and ground water recharge within each micro watershed of the State, conservation of land and water to prevent soil erosion and enhancing the carrying capacity of river systems.

Development and preservation of water resources of the State following a water shed based approach with integration to river basins is the basic strategy for action in the water sector. By using water shed maps as scientific tools, watershed development plans can be prepared. The focus at the watershed level will be on the effective management of run off water and improved soil and moisture conservation activities.

Ground Water Development

Ground Water is a vital resource for meeting the water requirements of irrigation, domestic and industrial sectors of the country. Ground Water is an annually replenishable resource but its availability is non- uniform in space and time. The annual replenishable ground water resources of the area is the sum of recharge during monsoon and non-monsoon seasons.

Ground Water level is one of the basic elements which reflects the condition of the ground water regime in an area. Ground Water levels are being monitored by Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water Departments. The assessment of Ground Water draft is carried out based on Minor Irrigation census data and sample surveys carried out by the State Ground Water Departments. The annual Ground Water draft of the entire country for 2010-11 has been estimated as 245 bcm. There has been marginal (2bcm) increase in the overall estimate of Ground Water draft of the country in 2011 compared to 2009. Agricultural sector remained the predominant consumer of ground water resources. About 91 per cent of total annual ground water draft ie 222 bcm is for irrigation use. Only 23 bcm is for domestic and industrial use which is about 9 per cent of the total draft. In several states including Kerala, ground water draft for domestic and industrial purposes are more than 15 per cent.

As on March 2011, total annual ground water recharge of the State is 668601.72 ha.m. and the net annual ground water availability is 607407.22 ha.m. The net annual ground water availability for future irrigation development of our State is 306634 ha.m. The stage of ground water development of our State is 47 per cent. Among the districts, Kasargod and Wayanad ranks maximum and minimum with 71 per cent and 18 per cent respectively. Details are given in Appendix 2.59.

During 2015-16, 11.65 crore was expended against the outlay of 11.71 crore by the Ground Water department. Major schemes implemented by the Department are Investigation and Development of Ground Water Resources and scheme for ground water conservation and artificial recharge. For ground water development and investigation, 8.52 crore was expended against the outlay of 10.16 crore. Detailed physical achievement during the year under report is given in Appendix 2.60.

Performance of Irrigation sector during 2015-16

During 2015-16, the total outlay and expenditure of irrigation sector was 348.01 crore and 317.45 crore respectively. Details are given in Appendix 2.61. The poor performance of major and medium irrigation projects are the main reason for the low expenditure of the sector. Against the budgeted outlay of 190.23 crore for major and medium schemes, the expenditure incurred was only 62.94 crore. For Minor Irrigation schemes, 81.97 crore was expended against the outlay of 99.43 crore.