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Impact of climate change in irrigation systems in a central himalayan watershed, Uttarakhand, India

Author: 
Mahendra Singh, J.S. Rawat, D.S. Parihar and N.C. Pant
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Irrigation is an integrated and essential part of agriculture and its allied sectors. Due to steadily depleting of water resources, the irrigation system of the Himalayan watersheds is facing the problem of water shortage. The fundamental objective of this paper is to describe the spatial distribution of different means of irrigation and to analyze their current condition of a Central Himalayan watershed, viz., the Upper Kosi watershed, Uttarakhand. The study reveals that the watershed has 39.6 km2 area under agricultural land which accounts for 8.5% of the total watershed area. Out of this total agricultural land, only 24.4% area is under irrigation. The irrigation was started in this watershed in 1951. Since that, 34 canal irrigation, 24 hydrum irrigation and 17 lift irrigation schemes were developed till 2014. Due to climate change, most of the streams/rivers of the watershed have transformed from perennial to seasonal in nature. Therefore, due to lack of water in streams, 03 canal irrigation and 23 hydrum irrigation schemes have been closed by which the agricultural production has been adversely affected. Due to lack of sufficient water in streams, no new irrigation scheme has been developed in the watershed after 2014. If no river rejuvenation measures were taken, all the existing irrigation schemes will be closed in near future. Thus, the study suggests that government should initiate river rejuvenation measures to sustain the means of irrigation for sustainable development of agriculture in the Central Himalayan Region.

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