Skip to content

Modernising irrigation systems in India with the Support for Irrigation Modernisation program

Event organised by The Irrigation and Water Forum

10 April 2024
11:00 - 12:00 BST (GMT+1)

This event has now ended


India has embarked upon modernising its irrigation systems. Implemented through the Central Water Commission by the Ministry of Jal Shakri, Government of India, and with ADB funding support, the Support for Irrigation Modernization Program (SIMP) is developing irrigation modernisation plans (IMPs) for major and medium (MM) schemes. IMP aims to achieve greater water use efficiency, improved crop water productivity and raise farmers’ income, as well as improve asset sustainability. 

The core issues to be addressed by the SIMP program include decline in irrigation performance due to aging and deteriorating infrastructure, antiquated management systems, and declining and erratic surface water resources in the face of increased priority demands for drinking water, industrial water supply and climate change. Irrigation services for many MM schemes has become so poor that farmers have invested heavily at farm level in pumped groundwater, pipeline conveyance, and micro-irrigation. The primary function of some MM schemes has de-facto become groundwater recharge. 

The SIMP was launched in December 2020 to support states in designing modernisation investments. Some 57 proposals for scheme modernisation have been received from 14 States and 2 Union Territories. Among these, four were selected for modernisation: Loharu in Haryana, Vanivilasasagara in Karnataka, and Palkhed and Purna in Maharashtra, together covering an area of 244,000 ha at an estimated cost of INR 4,649 crore (US$ 569 million). 

Realising that modernisation involves not only upgrading the irrigation infrastructure but must also includes upgrading the management, operation and maintenance, agricultural practices and processes, the SIMP has adopted a systematic approach and framework to prepare the IMPs. This has entailed performance assessment carried out through RAP-MASSCOTE workshops, followed up by investigations of modernisation options through stakeholder consultations, studies on existing irrigation practices, groundwater, remote sensing for crop water productivity, and agricultural and institutional aspects. 

The four IMPs prepared to date incorporate many innovative solutions such as gravity and pumped pipe distribution network systems, groundwater banking, telemetry and SCADA. The presentation, with the support of case studies, will focus on the approach taken to preparing IMPs, and the engineering and management solutions proposed. 

Organised by

The Irrigation and Water Forum

The Irrigation and Water Forum

The IWf aims to promote British expertise in the science and art of irrigation, drainage and flood control.


Mr M. G. Shivakumar

Mr M. G. Shivakumar

Irrigation Modernisation Specialist

Read more

Mr M. G. Shivakumar

Mr M G Shivakumar is a postgraduate in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (1983). He has worked in the water resources sector of Government of Karnataka, India for over 37 years in various capacities up to chief engineer. His experience includes a number of major irrigation projects, including the design and implementation of the Upper Bhadra Project in Central Karnataka, designed to irrigate 2.25 lakh hectares using innovative water saving drip irrigation technology.

Currently, post-retirement in 2020, Mr Shivakumar is working as irrigation modernisation specialist in the Asian Development Bank’s team of specialists on the Support for Irrigation Modernization Program (SIMP) for Major and Medium Schemes in India launched by Govt. of India. Under the SIMP, frameworks are developed for preparing Irrigation Modernization Plans (IMPs) to improve water productivity, water use efficiency and farmer income. Mr Shivakumar has been actively involved in the preparation of IMPs of Loharu project (Haryana), Palkhed and Purna projects (Maharashtra) and Vanivilasasagara (Karnataka).

He has published numerous papers in national and international conferences. He is a recipient of Karnataka State ‘Balekundri Award-2015’ for services in water resources sector. He is a Member of Institution of Engineers (IEI), India, Member of Institution of Water Resources Society (IWRS), India and a certified coach of Results Coaching Systems (RCS), Australia.