It is a proven fact that the quantity and quality of available water resources have been recognized as limiting factors in development of most of the arid and semi arid regions. The function of the conveyance and distribution systems and services should be providing sufficient water in a timely manner so that it can be used efficiently for crop production. Reliability, flexibility and efficiency are the keywords for a modernization plan. Optimal use of available surface and groundwater, in any canal command area would result in their better utilization by maximizing the benefits from the crop production and the environmentally sustainable development and management of water resources in an integrated and participatory approach. Irrigation sector is the highest water consumer; therefore it is a sector where performance assessment is necessary to ensure optimum utilization of water. The major system deficiencies are low canal carrying capacity, over utilizations of water in rabi irrigation, flooding irrigation practices, low yield per unit irrigated area, low cost recovery in the Samrat Ashok Sagar irrigation project. This paper presents a need of benchmarking of major irrigation projects for socially and environmentally sustainable development in India based on integrated and participatory approach.
Key words: Benchmarking, participatory approach, environmentally sustainable development, water management.
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