Er. Pratik Pradhan  
As known to everybody, Nepal is a small landlocked country with the total area of 147,181 km sq. Its location on the globe is (28°N, 84°E). And as per census 2011, the total population of Nepal is 26,620,809. The geography is diverse with wide variation in altitude. The profile in south to north direction is 61m at kachanakal, jhapa and 8848m Sagarmatha (the world highest peak Mt. Everest).

Rounded Rectangle: • Among the total area, 7.06% is covered with water, 25.4% is covered with forest, 28.6% is covered with agricultural land other includes 38.94%.
• Out of cent percent population, 80 depends upon agricultural.
• As per 2012 est., 15.3% of GDP is supported by industry, 38.1% GDP is supported by agriculture and 46.6% GDP is supported by service.
Source:- Geography of Nepal (Wikipidia)
Hence 80% of total population is depended on the agriculture done in 28.6% of total land that supports 38.1% of national GDP and thus the country is called agricultural country.
Agriculture is directly related with water and the art of providing water to the plants, artificially, for the proper nourishment and growth of the plant is IRRIGATION.
In Nepal, irrigation was started with early civilization, during the time of Lord Buddha from Rohini River in south Terai. Since then the people are using water for the welfare of their cropping activities.
Remarkable historical development in irrigation are listed below:
ü  5th century       water control system at Dhobi Khola and Tukucha ( Licchavi period)
ü  7th century       Development  of Rajkulo (Malla period)
ü  18th century     1 lacs ha area irrigated
ü  1922 A.D         Chandra Nahar Irrigation Project at Saptari (completed in 1928 A.D during Rana)
ü  From 2013 B.S Further development with five year plans.*
ü  2018 B.S          Establishment of Department of Canal and converted to Department of Irrigation and Drinking water in 2033 B.S.

The objectives of five year plan
§  To increase agricultural production by the application of the irrigation technologies which are appropriate to diverse topography, climate and soil condition with minimum environmental impact.
§  To improve the management aspect of existing irrigation system.
§  To irrigate more and more land by implementing technically, economically and environmentally sustainable and cost effective projects with farmer participation.

The development of irrigation can be discussed in two ways.
·         Phase wise Development
·         Institutional Development

Phase wise Development
The phase wise development of the irrigation can be studied under as per timeline.
1.      Preliminary Phase                    Before 1956
2.      Infrastructure Phase                 1957-1970
3.      Intensive Phase                                    1971-1985
4.      Integrated Development Phase 1986-till now

1.      Preliminary Phase:-
During this phase 6,228 ha land were irrigated and the Chandra Canal I.P, Judha Canal I.P, Sarda Canal I.P were constructed.
2.      Infrastructure Phase:-
During this phase, the five year plan of the government started and during first five year plan, Tika Bhairab I.P, Mahadev Khola I.P were constructed. Danduwa I.P, Fewa Taal I.P were constructed in second five year plan and Koshi I.P, Chatra I.P were constructed during third five year plan. During the same phase Department of Small Irrigation was established.
3.      Intensive Phase:-
This phase was during the department of irrigation and hydrology and meteorology. During this phase 4th,5th , 6th five year plan was implemented. The 4th five year plan focused on the development of infrastructure, 5th five year plan focused on increasing the command area and extension of canal system. During the 6th five year plan, policy for increasing agricultural production to reduce poverty was introduced and Narayani I.P, Sunsari-Morang I.P and Bagmati I.P were constructed.
4.      Integrate Development Phase:-
This phase includes the 7th, 8th, and 9th five year plan. The 7th five year plan have included the programs like: rehabilitation of farmer managed irrigation, people participation, emphasis on year round irrigation, implementation of new technologies. The 8th five year plan have included the programs like: year round irrigation with ground water in dry season, rehabilitation of irrigation scheme, multipurpose projects. The 9th five year plan was the repetition of 8th plan.
Institutional development
Irrigation fashion have developed its institutional base and these can be summarized as below.
ü  1986 B.S          starting of small irrigation project
ü  2009 B.S          department of small irrigation
ü  2018 B.S          department of canal
ü  2033 B.S          department of irrigation and water supply
ü  ………..           department of irrigation and hydrology and meteorology
ü  2044 B.S          department of irrigation

Government have been investing for improvement of irrigation sector and so far till 9th five year plan, the total investment was $1,364 Billion, among which 30% was invested by HMGN and 70% was international help (51% loan & 19% fund).

WAS IT ENOUGH??????????

·         Irrigation system
o   Surface irrigation system                     about 200(big & small)
o   Farmer managed irrigation system       3,000+
o   Ground water irrigation system
§  Government                             1,000; among which 300 is working
§  Other agencies                         65,000; among which 50,000 is working
·         Area
o   Total area of Nepal                  1,47,18,100 ha
o   Agricultural area                      26,42,200 ha
o   Irrigable area                            17,66,000 ha
o   Irrigated area                            12,26,9 ha
The present status shows that the irrigation is still not sufficient. Still the development and concentration is required. Thus proper strategies and plan is to be made.
In November 1997, HMGN designed Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) as the National Water Planning Unit. This unit targeted the following.
By 2007
By 2017
By 2027
Year round irrigation (YRI)
49% of total irrigable area
64% of total area
67% of total area

15% over 2001 level
28% over 2001 level
44% over 2001 level
Cropping intensity
Exceeds 140% (YRI)
Potential irrigable area
Irrigation efficiency
To meet these target, following action was programmed.
1.      Integrated programmed for irrigated agriculture
a.       Lunching of groundwater projects in new areas
b.      Regular monitoring of ground water for level fluctuation
2.      Improved management of existing irrigation scheme
a.       Rehabilitation of FMIS,AMIS
3.      Improved planning and implementation of new irrigation system
a.       Implementing new surface and ground water projects
b.      Expansion of micro irrigation, drift irrigation, sprinkling irrigation
4.      Strengthening of capacity building of local institution in planning of project implementation
a.       Implementation of irrigation management training to stakeholders
b.      Increasing the capacity of the local government
5.      National capacity building of farmer
a.       Training, awareness, tools
About 69% of irrigable area i.e. only 46% of agricultural area has been irrigated till now. Despite of all strategies and plan and actions, there still exists problem in irrigation. The setup irrigation scheme have also not worked properly as expected.
In my opinion, focusing on following points will increase level standard in irrigation in Nepal.
·         Dew concentration and interest of government and relative officers.
·         Implementation of national water plan.
·         Involvement of specialist and engineering experts.
·         Public awareness.
·         Training to farmer.
·         Political stability.
·         Introduction of new technologies like; Drip Irrigation, Ridge and Furrow Method, Storage Irrigation in Hilly Region, Sprinkling Method.
*      “Irrigation in Nepal” by Somnath Poudyal
*      “National Water Plan” (HMG Of Nepal WECS, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal)
*      “Water Resources Strategy Nepal” (HMG Of Nepal WECS, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal)
*      Geography of Nepal (Wikipedia)
*      Census 2011



Steve Berke said…
I enjoyed reading your article :) PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from CWRenviro.

I think this How to remove Fluoride from water will fully complement your article.
Pratik Pradhan said…
You are most welcome. Stay tuned for further articles.

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