Canal System of Pakistan

by on January 31, 2010
in Hydropower

Thal_Canal of Pakistan

Irrigation is the man-made supply of water to the land to encourage vegetation. It is a substitute for inadequate or erratic rainfall and is extremely essential for arid regions where there are no rivers and also in humid regions to improve crop output. In Pakistan, 75% of the agricultural land is under irrigation. Three major water sources in Pakistan are rain water, ground water and rivers.

Irrigation system is not something new. Since olden days, people had devised various methods to water their fields. Some traditional methods of irrigation are Persian Wheel, Charsa and Shaduf. Karez is another traditional irrigation system practiced in Baluchistan only. Karez is a horizontal canal located mainly on the foot hills and it brings the under ground water to the surface. Modern advancements in the irrigation system are the perennial canals and tube wells.
Pakistan is basically a dry country with the River Indus and its tributaries being the main source of water supply. Dams both large and small and barrages have been built on the Indus and its tributaries. Large dams such as Tarbela Dam and Mangla Dam are multipurpose plans which not only store water, irrigate lands but also generate hydro electricity. Small dams like Khanpur Dam, Rawal Dam and Hub Dam supply water for agriculture, industrial and domestic purpose and act as a reservoir as well. A hilly terrain is required to build a dam. Barrages on the other hand are built on flat places they also supply water for irrigation purpose and industrial and domestic use. Some barrages are Sukkur Barrage, Guddu Barrage, Kotri Barrage, and Chashma Barrage.

Canals are taken out from rivers, dams and barrages. Pakistan has one of the largest canal irrigation systems in the world. The Inundation canals are taken from rivers and they receive water only when the water level in the rivers is high such as during floods. The perennial canals are taken from dams and barrages and supply water to the fields through out the year. In Pakistan there are 3 large dams, 85 small dams, 19 barrages, 12 inter link canals, 45 canals and 0.7 million tube wells to meet the commercial, domestic and irrigational needs of the country.