Meghalaya has reported a decline of 41.0 per cent in minor irrigation (MI) schemes, according to the latest census data released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation.
As per the report, Meghalaya has 5,453 MI schemes comprising of 17.5 per cent (957) Ground Water (GW) schemes and 82.5 per cent (4,496) Surface Water (SW) schemes.
The State government has reported a decline of 22.7 per cent (281) in GW schemes and 43.8 per cent (3,504) in SW schemes during sixth MI census as compared to the 1,238 GW schemes and 8,000 SW schemes recorded in fifth census.
The census, which references the year 2017-18, provides a comprehensive overview of Meghalaya’s irrigation landscape, offering crucial insights into the current state and future trajectory of the state’s water resource management.
It says that 41.3 per cent of MI schemes are under public ownership. Ground water schemes are owned by private entities, with a share of 83.1 per cent while surface water schemes are at 29.1 per cent owned by farmers.
Out of 2,105 individually owned schemes, 63.3 per cent (1,333) have single source of finance whereas 36.7 per cent (772) have more than one source of finance. In these schemes with single source of finance, most of schemes i.e. 89.9 per cent (1,199) are being financed by own savings of individual farmer followed by government fund 8.3 per cent (110). The reported sources of finance for the remaining 1.8 pe cent (24) schemes are bank loan, money lenders and others.
The census, conducted under the centrally sponsored scheme “Irrigation Census,” collected extensive data on various parameters, including irrigation sources, irrigation potential created, ownership, landholding size of the owner, devices used for water extraction, and sources of energy.
This report will be useful for planners, policymakers, researcher scholars, agricultural and groundwater scientists, and administrators and all concerned with the development of irrigation and the agricultural economy of the country.