SKOCH Award Nominee
Category: Agriculture – State Department
Sub-Category: subAgriculture – State Department
Project: Mega Lift Irrigation Project
Start Date: 2016-12-26
Organisation: Minor Irrigation, Department of Water Resources, Government of Odisha
Respondent: Mr Chinmoy Ranjan Rout, Chief Engineer
Level: Premium Plus
Megalift irrigation project for upland areas of Odisha
The Water Resources Department works under the Government of Odisha to manage water supply and irrigation in the state
The upland farmers in Odisha were struggling with a lack of reliable water supply. Due to difficult geographical conditions and rough terrain, it was not possible to bring water to these areas using conventional flow agriculture. The farmers were thus devoid of a regular water supply which resulted in crop damages for them, as a consequence they had to face financial distress. Because of lack of irrigation farmers were dependent upon paddy as a single crop for cultivation making them more prone to crop failure because of rain and weather-related issues. The over-dependence on paddy was also not good for the ecological balance in the area. The manual operation of the irrigation pumps led to an increase in operational errors causing inconvenience to farmers. Creating an efficient irrigation system for these areas required land but land acquisition presented a different set of complexities that had to be solved by policy interventions.
The lack of proper water irrigation systems caused the farmers to rely mainly on rainwater. The use of water motors to draw water upwards was needed because of upland terrain which was an additional burden in terms of the cost incurred. This inefficient water distribution system also reduced productivity for the farmers. These factors contributed to lower earnings for farmers, this meant that there was no incentive for them to continue farming. This created the risk of the entire project being jeopardized.
Various solutions were implemented to create this long term comprehensive irrigation plan to provide irrigation to farmers in the upland areas. The programme involved fetching water from reservoirs and rivers. The highlight of the programme was the use of SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) software. This technological implementation reduced the manpower requirements for the project and also reduced the operational faults which are caused by manual intervention. The data generated by the SCADA system is also used for further improvement of the system. The features of this system include the ability to monitor and measure the flow of water and maintain the level of water supply according to the demand generated. The opening and closing of the water supply valves are also automated and can be scheduled through the server system
There were also steps taken apart from the technological aspect to ensure that this project was a success. The laying down of pipes underground simplified the land acquisition process because less land had to be acquired. The programme was implemented by using a pressurized pipe network, this step made the area suitable for micro-irrigation and growing cash crops. The use of solar power to run the project has also saved energy costs. One more striking point of the project is the efficient OMS (Outlet Management System) which manages the flow of water to individual farmers through remotely controlled valves. Doing so ensures equitable distribution of water.
This project has proved to be beneficial for around 7 lakh farmers living in the upland areas of Odisha. The outcomes of this project include providing reliable access to farmers living in upland areas. Because this project was able to deliver water more efficiently and quickly than other major irrigation projects, it enabled farmers to cultivate cash crops to increase their earnings. By empowering the farmers to diversify into other crops this project has also made it possible to restore the ecological balance in these areas. This project has led to an increase in the income of farmers up to threefold. This project has led to an increase in water availability in these upland areas from 50 percent to 100 percent.
The existing manual operation of the entire irrigation system presented huge challenges. The lack of synchronized operations for the pump and outlet caused inconvenience to the operators as well as the farmers. Because of this, the water was not used efficiently and the agricultural productivity of these areas plummeted as well. Therefore an urgent overhaul of the existing system was needed by making the desired technological interventions to achieve the desired outcomes. Therefore by tackling challenges such as terrain, geographical conditions and land availability this project was implemented. There was also the issue of high energy costs because the pump system used fossil fuels to run. Fossil fuels also emitted unclean air which damaged the ecological balance of the area
The SCADA system which was used for hydraulic purposes here is called hSCADA.The innovations include complete supervision of the pressurized water delivery system through software. The system integrates various components which are included in the distribution network, doing so allows the system to be able to monitor all crucial parameters in real-time. This reduces the discrepancies in operation by reducing the chances of manual errors. This system has optimized the distribution of water and minimizes energy consumption by using energy-efficient water pumps. The system was Synchronized with a cloud-based control system for chak management system for the smooth working of the entire water distribution network
The success of this project has shown that the upland areas in other states can be irrigated by uplifting water from different river basins. The effectiveness of this project has made it an apt candidate for replicability in other areas. When it comes to widening the implementation scope of this project around 170 schemes have been identified which will be implemented in a 5 year period from 2021 to 2026. Due to this expansion target has been set for the creation of additional irrigation potential of 2,63,801 Ha. in the upland areas. This will̥ benefit more farmers and provide them with a steady stream of irrigation water in their areas. One more opportunity which arises from this project is that of educating farmers about the benefits of practicing sustainable agriculture and crop rotation. They can be made to understand that by shifting from the conventional staple like paddy to other nutritionally dense crops and cash crops, their income can be supplemented leading to overall increased economic and financial prosperity for them
For more information, please contact:
Mr Chinmoy Ranjan Rout, Chief Engineer at email@example.com
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