Water is the most critical resource for agriculture,
gaining primacy even over soil. India has only about 4 per cent of the world’s
freshwater resources. As per assessment (1993), out of the total precipitation
including snowfall around 4000 billion cubic meter in country, the availability
from surface and replenish able ground water is put at 1869 BCM, because of
topographical and other constraints, about 60% of this i.e. 690 BCM for surface
water and 433 BCM of ground water, can be put to beneficial use. Large tracts
of land are dependent on seasonal rainfall for crop cultivation, which hampers
productivity and the adoption of high yielding varieties and other inputs.  Despite the inadequate and uneven distribution
of rainfall, precipitation is only about 3 to 4 month in a year and it varies
100 mm at West Rajasthan and 1000 mm at cherrapunji in Meghalaya. So availability
of water is highly uneven in both space and time.

 As per the
land use statistics 2015-16, India is seventh largest country in the world and the
total geographical area of the country is 328.7 million hectares, out of which
141.4 million hectares is the reported net sown area and 200.9 million hectares
is the gross cropped area with a cropping intensity of 142 %. The net irrigated
area is 68.2 million hectares. The gross shown area expected by 2025 is 210
million hectare, taking in to consideration the area shown more than once. It is
a potential challenge to bring the remaining net sown area under irrigation to
sustain the overall agricultural crop production to meet the need of increasing
population (Anonymous. 2016b).  The recent estimates (GOI, 2006) on water
demand are made by a) Standing Sub-Committee of the Ministry of Water Resources
(MoWR) and b) the National Commission for Integrated Water Resources
Development (NCIWRD); their estimates are made till the year 2050.The estimates
by MoWR indicates that, by year 2050, the demand for water will increase by 5
times for industries, 16 times for energy production, while its drinking water
demand will double, and irrigation demand will raise by 50 percent.

Irrigation is defined as the science of artificial
application of water to the land, in accordance with the ‘crop water
requirements’ throughout the ‘crop period’ for full-fledged nourishment of the
crops (Garg. 1996). Irrigation has been the most important agricultural input
process in crop production throughout the world, Irrigation is very ancient
practice and can be traced with the beginning of human civilization. Importance
of irrigation in agriculture is very well documented in NamradaSmriti XI, 9
which states that “no grain is ever produced without water, but too much water
tends to spoil the grain; an inundation is as injurious to crop growth as a
dearth of water.” Hence, irrigation is essential

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