Canal Administration

Canals system in the State

Canal irrigation systems in Punjab comprise of Sirhind Canal system, Bist Doab Canal system, Bhakra Main Line (BML) Canal System, Upper Bari Doab Canal system, Kashmir Canal , Ferozepur Feeder/Sirhind Feeder system, Eastern Canal system, Makhu Canal System, Shahnehar Canal system and the Kandi Canal system. The Rajasthan Feeder and Bikaner Canal which carry Ravi-Beas & Sutlej water exclusively for Rajasthan also run in a considerable length over Punjab Territory.

Sirhind Canal System

The Sirhind Canal system is about 150 years old. The Sirhind Canal which offtakes from Ropar headwork has an authorized capacity of 12620 Cs with a culturable command area of 13.59 lac hect. The Sirhind Canal and its distribution network are spread over a length of 3215Km .

Bhakra Main Line System.

The Bhakra Main Line Canal is an extension of Nangal Hydel Channel. The authorized capacity of Nangal Hydel Channel which offtakes from Nangal Barrage downstream of Bhakra Dam is 12500 Cs. The authorized capacity of BML canal is 12455 Cs at head after taking into account 45 Cs. of losses in Nangal Hydel Channel . The Bhakra Main Line has a length of about 164Km, out of which 159 Km falls in Punjab Territory and the balance is in Haryana. The BML canal was built during 1950-54. It is an inter-state channel which supplies water for irrigation and drinking purposes to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The drinking water supplies are also made to Chandigarh (160 Cs) and Delhi (370 Cs) through the B.M.L Canal. The carrying capacity of BML canal was restored to its authorized discharge of 12455 Cs in the year 2004.

Narwana Branch Canal with an authorized capacity of 4500Cs, off takes at RD 158230/L of BML Canal, out of which 4022 Cs water is supplied to Haryana . The length of Narwana Branch is about 98 Km, out of which 49 Km falls in Punjab. The total length of channel off takes from BML Canal and Narwana Branch in Punjab portion is of the order of 1256 Km, with an irrigation potential of 7,35,463 acres.

Bist Doab Canal system.

The Bist Doab Canal off takes from the right bank of river Sutlej upstream of Ropar headwork. The Bist Doab Canal system, constructed in 1954-55, is spread over a length of 805 Km. The canal has an authorized capacity of 1452 Cs. with a culturable command area of 1.99 lac hect. Over the years, the carrying capacity of the canal has got reduced to 1000 Cs. The system needs comprehensive rehabilitation/ renovation.

Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) system

A barrage was constructed at Madhopur after the weir type structure got damaged in the flood of 1955 and the UBDC system which off-takes from Madhopur Headworks was further developed by including additional areas. The UBDC system was remodeled during 2001-2005, to ensure full utilization of stored waters of river Ravi, as a result of commissioning of Ranjit Sagar Dam in the year 2000. The UBDC presently, has an authorized discharge of 9000 Cs. Seven main / branch canals off take from UBDC with 247 distributaries and minors, off taking from these main branch canals. The UBDC system is spread over a length of 3119 Km, having a culturable command area of 5.73 lac hect.

Rajasthan Feeder, Ferozepur Feeder & Sirhind Feeder

The Rajasthan Feeder which carries Ravi-Beas waters exclusively for Rajasthan off- takes from Harike Headworks. It has a capacity of 18500 Cs. However, the head regulator of the canal has a capacity of 15000 Cs which is sufficient for supplying allocated Quantum of Ravi Beas waters to Rajasthan. The canal which was constructed in the year 1958-1961, runs in a length of 149.53 Km in Ferozepur, Muktsar and Faridkot districts of Punjab.

Ferozepur Feeder off takes from Harike Headworks. It has capacity of 11192 Cs was constructed in 1952-53 and runs in a length of about 51.30 Kms, for supply of Ravi Beas waters to two distributary systems (Mayawah, Sodhinagar) having a combined discharge of 309 Cs.

The Sirhind Feeder off taking from Ferozepur Feeder at RD 55413 ft. was constructed during 1954-55 and runs in a length of about 136.50 Km . It has an authorized capacity of 5264Cs, having a culturable command area of 3.6 lac hect.

The Rajasthan Feeder is a lined channel, with single tile lining in bed and double tile lining on side slopes. This type of lining was adopted, probably for the reason, that ground water table was 33 meters deep at the time of construction of Rajasthan Feeder. The full supply depth from 0- 179000 was kept as 14.40 ft and in the downstream reach RD 179000 to tail, the same was kept as 21.0ft .

The seepage from Rajasthan Feeder and Sirhind Feeder in Punjab Territory has assumed alarming proportions in as much as, the seepage from these canal systems has been found to be 191.05 MCM i.e. 21% of the total annual ground water recharge. There has been an enormous rise in sub soil water level(SSWL) in reach RD 179000 to 496000 of the Rajasthan Feeder and RD 124000 to 434000 of Sirhind Feeder. Out of 84800 hectare of fertile land critically affected by water logging in Faridkot, Mukatsar, Malout, Lambi, Abohar and Gidderbaha tracts of Punjab, 25% area is adjoining Rajasthan and Sirhind Feeders.

The continous seepage from these canals is aggravating the situation and further making the land saline and unfit for cultivation. Relining of these canals is the only option for which two projects have been prepared at an estimated cost of Rs. 889.95 crore and 363.50 crore respectively for Rajasthan and Sirhind Feeder Canals.

Eastern Canal system.

Eastern Canal system is a non-perennial system. Its construction was completed in 1927 and it used to off take from Hussainiwala Headworks. However, after the construction of Harike Headworks, the supply of water to Eastern canal system and Bikaner Canal has been switched over to Harike Headworks, except for a portion of Eastern canal running in a length of about 8.02 Kms which receives water supply from Hussainiwala Headworks for feeding 7 distribution and 8 minors. The authorised discharge of Eastern Canal system is 3197 cs, which has culturable command area of 2.16 lac hect and runs in a length of 856 Kms.

Makhu Canal System

The Makhu Canal, with a designed capacity of 292 cs offtakes at Harike headwork. The Makhu Canal system spreads over a length of 92.8 Km and has a culturable command area of 20600 hectares.

Shahnehar Canal System

Shahnehar Headwork was constructed downstream of Pong Dam in the year 1983 on river Beas. Mukerian Hydel Channel off takes from this headworks and four power houses having a total installed capacity of 207 MW have been constructed at RDs 6.349, 16.004, 18.939 and 27.404 Km of the Mukerian Hydel channel, for production of electricity before Beas waters is released for utilization at Harike. The old Shahnehar canal was replaced by constructing feeder No.1 and feeder No. II canals (designed capacity 306+252=558 Cs) off-taking from Mukerian Hydel channel and extending irrigation in Kandi areas for ensuring 0.32 MAF of pre-partition usage of Beas water.

Kashmir Canal

Kashmir Canal off-takes from River Ravi upstream of Madhopur Headworks. It provides irrigation water to the State of J&K and some areas of Punjab as per old agreements. The length of canal is 5.26 Km with an authorized capacity of 1050 cs at head. Lift schemes installed on the canal draw 250 Cs of water. The Canal bifurcates into two branches, namely chakandar feeder and Kathua Canal with a discharge of 400 Cs. each.

The details of main canals are as under:-

Sr. No. Name of Canal system Length in KM of Main Canal Discharge at Head in Cs CCA lac Hectare
1 Sirhind Canal 59.44 12620 13.59
2 Bist Doab Canal 43.00 1408 1.99
3 Upper Bari Doab Canal 42.35 9000 5.40
4 Sirhind Feeder 136.53 5264 3.60
5 Eastern Canal 8.02 3197 2.16
6 Bhakra Main line 161.36 12455 3.81
7 Shahnehar Canal 24.23 875 0.33


Water is the most essential natural resource, a basic human need and the most important input for all human development activity. The main objective of the Canal Administration is to develop, plan, utilize and manage this important resource for irrigation in a judicious, equitable, sustainable and sound economic manner.

An Act to regulate irrigation namely ‘Northern India Canal and Drainage Act, 1873 has been enacted. The issues regarding application of water for public purposes, construction and maintenance of works, supply of water for irrigation, water rates, recovery of charges, penalty for offences under the Act are covered under it. Under the Act, the Deputy collector can order use or distribution of water and settle differences as to mutal rights and liabilities of persons interested in the water course. Thus warabandi at outlet level is settled under the Act. Following offences are punishable under the Act.

Whoever, without proper authority and voluntarily, does any of the acts following that is to say:-

  1. Damages, alters, enlarges or obstructs any canal or drainage work.
  2. Interferes with, increases or diminishes the supply of water in, or the flow of water from, through, over or under, any canal or drainage work.
  3. Interferes with or alters the flow of water in any river or stream so as to endanger, damage or render less useful any canal or drainage work.
  4. Being responsible for the maintenance of a watercourse, or using a watercourse neglects to take proper precautions for the prevention of waste of the water thereof, or interferes with the authorized distribution of the water there from or uses such water in an unauthorized manner.
  5. Corrupts or fouls the water of any canal so as to render it less fit for the purposes for which it is ordinarily used.
  6. Causes any vessel to enter or navigate any canal contrary to the rules for the time being prescribed by the State Government for entering or navigating such canal.
  7. While navigating on any canal neglects to take proper precautions for the safety of canal and of vessels thereon.
  8. Omitted by Punjab Act 14 of 1968.
  9. Destroy or moves any level mark or water gauge fixed by the authority of a public servant.
  10. Passes or causes animals or vehicles to pass on or across any of the works, banks or channels of a canal or drainage work contrary to rules made under this Act, after he has been desired to desist there from.
  11. Violates any rule made under this Act for breach whereof a penalty may be incurred.

The objective is to keep the canal infrastructure in proper shape and ensure authorized discharge at tail ends of distributaries/ Minors. The water allowance for each system has been decided by Govt, based on availability of water, type of soil, crop sown in area, under ground water level etc. etc. The water allowance of canal systems is as under:-

Sr. No. Name of System Water Allowance in cusecs/acres
1 Sirhind Canal System 3.05
2 Bist Doab Canal System 1.95
3 UBDC system 4.15 (5.5 Cs Khara Majah area)
4 Sirhind Feeder System 3.05
5 Eastern Canal System 5.5
6 Bhakra Main Line System 2.04
7 Shahnehar Canal system 7.00

It is the objective of the Canal Administration to ensure, that subject to availability of water in Dams, each beneficiary gets water as per his authorization as per above water allowance.