Lift Irrigation Farming in India, Importance of Lift Irrigation

Lift irrigation farming in India: The lift irrigation system is generally defined as the lifting of water from perennial sources of rivers with heavy capacity electric pumps and then distributed through the pipeline to nearby fields within its area in the flood plains of the river. The advantage of a Lift irrigation system is the minimal land acquisition problem and low water losses. In this article we also discussed about below topics;

  • Design steps of lift irrigation system
  • Lift irrigation pump design
  • Importance of lift irrigation
  • Lift irrigation schemes in India
  • Kaleshwaram lift irrigation scheme
  • Lift irrigation requirements

What are we waiting for? Let’s get into the details pf  lift irrigation farming prcoess in India.

A step by step guide to lift irrigation farming process in India

Lift irrigation is a procedure for the water system in which water as a substitute for being transported by natural flow wants external energy through fuel-based or electrical power utilizing pumps or other mechanical means. The last five decades have witnessed the development of a Lift irrigation system causing into deep and far-reaching impact on the agricultural economy of the region. While it requires heavy capital outlay it has been practiced on a co-operative basis along the river banks. Here, to analyze such irrigation technology with reference to its development of spatial characteristics, impact on cropping pattern and productivity based on primary data. In addition to this, the negative impacts of Lift irrigation are assessed which has invited the attention of scientists recently.

There are large areas of land thus situated that the water cannot be taken to them by gravity. In such areas, water is raised by the mechanical device from its natural sources to the elevation of the higher parts of the land so that it will flow over the land by gravity for irrigation purposes. This practice of raising water is called Lift irrigation.

A guide to Life Irrigation.
A guide to Life Irrigation.

The main sources of Lift irrigation farming are predominantly groundwater, river streams, channels, lakes, and lakes. The Lift irrigation system equipment conspires necessities are consistent water source ought to for the entire water system season site to lift water at different bearings. As different limit pumps are required relying on the obligation point head and release. The sources are mostly groundwater, river streams, canals, ponds, and lakes. The whole Lift irrigation equipment scheme requirements are constant water source must for the whole irrigation season site to lift water in a different direction. As different capacity pumps are necessary depending upon the duty point head and discharge.

It is an irrigation scheme taking water from relatively big rivers. The Lift irrigation scheme is adopted where construction of a weir or a barrage is considered impractical due to high cost. Lift irrigation may be provided in part of the gravity canal system to serve areas located at higher levels.

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In this method, Lift irrigation pumps are installed on big floating barges. The supply of water is ensured during all stages of the rivers as the location and level of the barges are adjustable.

When the major source is at a lower level than the supply level. Then water is supplied through some mechanical means and this is known as Lift irrigation.

And this can be done by the following methods;

  • Lift from canals
  • Open wells
  • Tube wells

Lifts from canals (Rivers) – Pumps are used to lift the water from canals or rivers at the lower level to the area at a higher level for irrigation purposes.

Open wells – In villages there are open holes whose depth intercepts the water table. So the water is taken out from the lower level to the surface for irrigation system purposes by adopting different mechanical means.

Tube wells – This method is the lifting of water by pumping from the underground reservoir. An extensive surface irrigation system results in an increase in the groundwater level due to percolation and seepage which causes waterlogging in large areas. The irrigation system by this method will reduce the yield. The tube well method offers a remedial measure by providing subsurface drainage. Tube well irrigation system can be obtained more quickly than from the surface water project. Large costs involved in making canals for the construction of headworks, whereas less cost is involved in constructing tube wells.

Requirements of lift irrigation system (LIS)

Water Source – Suitable and constant water source must be available for the whole year at the site of LIS. Water can be made available through Dams, Weir, and River canal, etc.

Lifting Medium – To lift water to the desired location, and lifting medium i.e. pumps are necessary. Depending upon the Duty point head, discharge the different types of pumps are preferred.

Conveying Medium – Rising may be of steel, concrete or any other suitable material.

Lift irrigation mechanical devices

In Lift irrigation, mechanical devices such as pumps, or electric motors and pumps are required to be installed for lifting water. Electrical pumps are normally provided for lifting water. Diesel pumping sets are also installed as standby.

Lift irrigation canals are effectively lined due to obvious advantages of a lined section and hence low pumping lift and greater area commanded. Lifted water is costly and transmission losses are necessary to be cut down to the minimum. The water surface slope is kept the minimum probable to command greater area with minimum lift. Escape is provided upstream of the pumping station so that in the event of failure of pumping, the supply reaching upstream is disposed off.

Lift irrigation process

The process of Lift irrigation can be;

  • The water is carried out with the help of pumps.
  • The water is carried out from the water source at the lower portion of the land.
  • Construction of dams and cannels are done there.

In the Lift irrigation system, water is lifted from a river or a canal to the bank to irrigate the land which is not commanded by gravity flow. A lift irrigation system is being increasingly practiced in India. Every State such areas exist where irrigation system can be extended only by lift canals. Lift irrigation includes tube well irrigation but the latter is not feasible in areas where scarcity of water exists, the climate is dry and groundwater is low, which means groundwater is in insufficient quantity and unsuitable quality. Lift canal then constitutes the means of an extension of irrigation to sound parched lands. A lift canal can cater for larger areas than a tube well and appropriate when supplies from a river or a canal are available for lifting to a higher elevation.

Lift area is mainly defined as the area the level of which is too high to permit irrigation by gravity flow from the source. But which can be irrigated by lifting water to the level by means of pump Gross lift area is the portion of the gross irrigable area this can be irrigated by pumping.

Surface water can be lifted from a reservoir, a river, or from a gravity-flow canal. From the river, water can be lifted by installing pumps either on the ground or on floating barges. Also, the pumping installation can be made mobile by rowing to the next pumping sit after completing irrigation at one installation. In a canal, water can be lifted at the point f the off-take of the lift distributary or in between the length of a canal wherefrom high tract to be irrigated starts.

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Optimal alignment of the lift canal is of paramount importance as it involves dealing with the costly process of water lifted and then diverted to flow by gravity. The essence of the system arrangement is to command the maximum area with minimum lift.


  • Distribution is done mainly by the gravitational method.
  • At first, a contour map is prepared carefully and the place which is to be irrigated is blocked according to their need.
  • Required via pipelines and valves are placed for the distribution.

Advantages of lift irrigation

  • A Lift irrigation system made irrigation possible at a higher level.
  • The land acquisition problem in a Lift irrigation system is less.
  • Water losses are low.
  • Manpower is less used.
  • Lift irrigation is used for water application by gravity to the entire area and particular elevated sites.

The drawback of lift irrigation

The main drawback of Lift irrigation is the need for complex pumping and power equipment, power supply, and high operating costs. All factors raise the cost of water supply to fields.

Lift irrigation farming schemes

Lift irrigation schemes must accomplish by two main tasks. They are;

  • First, to carry water by means of pumps from the water source to the main delivery chamber, this is situated at the topmost point in the command area.
  • Second, they should distribute this water to the field of the beneficiary farmers by means of a suitable and proper distribution system. The source is mostly groundwater, river streams, contour canals, ponds, and lakes.

The requirements for a Lift irrigation scheme are constant water source for the whole irrigation season at the site and the feasibility to lift water to the preferred location. Different capacity pumps are depending upon the duty point head, and discharge. The rising main could be of steel, concrete or any other suitable material. Lift irrigation schemes are helpful where the target land is at a higher level.

The benefit of the Lift irrigation system is the minimal land acquisition problem and low water losses. The schemes are individually owned or owned by a group of farmers in a cooperative mode. For successful functioning of the schemes require suitable technique, planning, designing and execution through the knowledgeable technical person. The participation of beneficiaries is quite necessary. The continuous drop in the groundwater table is making the cost of running and maintenance of Lift irrigation more costly.

Irrigation facility free of cost will be provided to the agricultural lands held by a minimum of 3 small and marginal scheduled tribe farmers having their lands nearby river or canal by drawing pipeline and installing pump sets.

Unit cost is Rs.4.00 lakhs for a minimum of 8 acres of land and Rs.6.00 lakhs in respect of 15 acres of land. Each unit of this scheme must have at least 3 farmers and at least a minimum of 8 acres of Land and a Maximum of 15 acres of Dry Land.

The unit is the beneficiaries must have Land in Side by Side for the same Certified Copies of the Land Map has to be obtained by the Department of Survey Settlement and File in the Concerned Record. Certified Copies has to be mainly obtained and attesting all the records and file in the Concerned Records.

Eligibility Criteria of Farmers, Field Inspection report by District Managers and Development Officers has to be filed in the Concerned Record. Permission Letter to be obtained for Lifting of Water from Irrigation system Department. For Power, Sanction permission has to be obtained by Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOM). After completion of the works of the Unit, the District Manager has to submit to the Head Office in the prescribed format.

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Growing Paddy Under Lift Irrigation.
Growing Paddy Under Lift Irrigation.

Having implemented Units of Community or Lift irrigation Schemes, Once again Proposals not is sent to Head Office.​ The modified rules and instructions of the Corporation, Circulars, Latest Government Orders and instructions issued during the Yearly action Plan should be followed while implementing all Schemes.​

Lift irrigation farming scheme in India

  • NABARD reports that there is a 1401 Lift irrigation scheme that is financed by them.
  • These schemes irrigate 22000 hectares of land and a total financial outlay of Rs. 6462.5 million.
  • The 8% of Maharashtra is occupied by the Lift irrigation system.

Maintenance of lift irrigation farming schemes in AP

APSIDC (Andhra Pradesh State Irrigation Development Corporation )has constructed 1150 Lift Irrigation Schemes, creating irrigation potential of 430000 acres. There are several Lift irrigation systems constructed by Irrigation and Power Department, private farmers and farmer societies, and creating irrigation potential of about 2,70,000 acres.

APSIDC has constructed irrigation schemes with the share capital of about 25% and the balance of 75% capital raised through nationalized banks refinanced by NABARD. These schemes were maintained by APSIDC till 1995. Later all these irrigation schemes were handed over to the farmer’s societies for maintenance under lock and key. Some other schemes were constructed by Irrigation Development Corporation (IDC) on an agency basis as deposit works.

Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project

Some facts about Kaleshwaram Lift irrigation Project (KLIP);

  • Kaleshwaram is the one and only project in the world, which can lift two tmcft of water every day. And efforts are on to add one more tmcft from the next year. It has the world’s longest tunnel route of 203 km and utilization of 139 MW maximum capacity pumps.
  • KLIP built across the Godavari River, KLIP will lift the water to a height of half-a-kilometer.
  • Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is designed to irrigate about 45 lakh acres for two crops in a year.
  • The foundation stone for the Rs 80,500 crore projects was laid in 2016 and claimed to be the world’s biggest Lift irrigation project of its kind, completed in the shortest time.
  • This project requires nearly 4,992 MW of electricity to pump 2 TMC of water every day in the first phase. Then the requirement will go up to 7,152 MW for lifting 3 TMC from next year.

Applicable lift irrigation states

The above information may be applied to Lift irrigation in Karnataka, Lift irrigation in Telangana, Lift irrigation in Andhra Pradesh, Lift irrigation in Srikakulam, Lift irrigation in Maharashtra, Lift irrigation in Odisha.

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