(Written by: Allah Dad Khan and Junaid Hafeez)
Irrigation water, before reaching a farmers field is transmitted through different modes of distribution. Upon diversion from head works or dams, the water flows through the main canal, branch/distributaries’ canal, and minor into the watercourse through the outlet or mogha. From here the farmers deliver it to the fields head for application. In early seventies, research studies were conducted by WAPDA in collaboration with CSU-USAID and it was established that since the canal systems were technically built, therefore comparatively less loss occur in the canals than in the watercourses. These tertiary watercourses below the mogha were originally built by the water users or farmers themselves, resulting in a huge watercourses network, covering a very large command area. Due to this increased surface area of watercourses, tremendous water losses occur, contributing towards reduced water supply on one hand and the menace of salinity and water logging on the other.
It is estimated that more than 50 % of the irrigation water is lost in the delivery phase and during application within the field.
In the delivery system, this water is lost through seepage from the kacha beds and banks of the watercourses, over topping due to weak banks, trees and bushes, and sedimentation due to variable flows.
Similarly, water is lost within the field during application due to undulations, thereby resulting in over irrigation or under irrigation.
After realizing the huge wastage of water, OFWM pilot project was initiated during 1976-77 with the assistance of USAID. The project started renovation of watercourses, land leveling and development of farmers’ fields. Implementation of the USAID program created a desire among the farming community for improvement of the watercourses and land leveling after realizing its benefits. The success of this program encouraged other donor agencies to come forward and fund similar projects. OFWM has now been extended to different parts of the province including non-irrigated areas. In order to translate saved water into an increased production, an important component of OFWM, Irrigation Agronomy, the Field Staff extends new ideas to the farmers regarding Agronomy and Irrigation practices through establishing farm demonstration centers under the command area of renovated water courses.
The main objectives of On-Farm Water Management program are as under:-
- Organization and establishment of water users associations, which can participate with the Government on cost sharing basis
- Enhance agricultural production through optimal use of irrigation water and improved water management and agronomic practices.
- To improve the overall application efficiency of irrigation system below the mogha by providing training to the members of the water users association and OFWM staff.
- Reducing Federal and Provincial government financial obligations for OFWM program by implementing the program of cost recoveries of a portion of construction materials
- Facilitating coordination and cooperation between OFWM and Agricultural Extension services in the provincial Agricultural Department for the benefit of the farming community.
- Increase Agricultural production and farmers income through increased scope and productivity of KPKs irrigation and drainage systems.
- Redefine Governments role in establishing self sustaining efficient irrigation and drainage system through enhanced farmers participation at the secondary level of irrigators water distribution system i.e distributaries/minors.
- Organization of Water Users Association and their Federations (FOs).
- Assisting farmers in carrying out various OFWM activities.
- Training of farmers in Agriculture and operation and maintenance of their irrigation systems.
- Farm Planning and Design.
- Training of professionals and sub professionals.
Mr. Allah Dad Khan is former DG Extension, KPK
Mr. Junaid Hafeez is Director, Agrihunt:
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