An estimated 70% of agricultural production of India comes from irrigated land. As such, the role of irrigation in strengthening and sustaining the agricultural economy is crucial. Unfortunately, the state of irrigation infrastructure across the country is very poor. Design flaws, poor upkeep of physical system, unviable water pricing and bad irrigation management practices have contributed to substantial underutilization which is a colossal waste of investment. Since independence, more than rupees one thousand billion was spent on creating physical infrastructures such as dams and canals in India, yet in many states as little as 25% of potential irrigation is used.
Pilot projects in Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) have
demonstrated that many of these problems, if not all, can be reduced if active participation
of farmers is encouraged in all aspects of the development and management of irrigation.
Under PIM, some of the important irrigation management responsibilities in government
owned irrigation projects are transferred to farmers' water users associations.
The support service of DSC in PIM focuses on building farmers' organizations at
village as well as project levels and enhancing their capacity through various means
such as training and community organizing. Moreover, DSC helps sensitize the staff
of Irrigation Department to participatory processes.
DSC is playing a pivotal role in promoting PIM in Gujarat as well as in the country.
DSC is providing policy support to the various state Governments and the Central
Government for wider adoption of participatory approach to irrigation management.
DSC is involved in direct implementation of the Participatory Irrigation Management
(PIM) programme in 56800 hectare of 1 major and 2 medium irrigation
projects of North Gujarat . DSC is also in process of implementing Participatory
Irrigation Management (PIM) in 5000 hectare of Sardar Sarovar Project
( Narmada Project ) to serve as pilot project in implementing Participatory
Irrigation Management its 18 lac hectare. DSC is probably the biggest
NGO in India working in irrigation sector.
The DSC is also active in providing training to the farmers representatives and
irrigation officials. It has a complete infrastructure as required for such training.
So far about 351 training programme to 12930
farmers representatives irrigation officials.