Kerala Irrigation Department
Prior to independence, the impending role of irrigation in agricultural development was not well recognized in Kerala. Thus, Kerala does not have a very long history of evolution of organized irrigation systems. However, there are some traditional irrigation systems in Kerala which are still in use. Post-independence period observed incredible changes in respect of policies towards irrigation development in the State. This has been due to the growing demand for food grains in the immediate post-war period. It was realized that there was a need for conserving rainwater abundantly available during monsoon to increase cropping intensity and expand agricultural production.
In Kerala, Irrigation department was initially a part of Public Works Department. Based on the recommendation of The Retrenchment Committee, the staff of Public Works Department underwent reduction and led to the formation of Irrigation Division, with three sub-divisions and nine sections on 6th Meenam 1109 (19/3/1934) to carry out the irrigation works of the State. Later on as per the G.O (P) No 27/90/PW & T dated 29th march 1990 the Public Works Department was bifurcated into two departments viz, Irrigation Department and Public Works Department with effect from 1st April 1990.
Agricultural production relies primarily on climatic conditions. The natural climatic hurdles in production cannot be beaten by man. These factors are very important in considering the productivity and economy of the state. Our state receives about 90% of the annual rainfall during the monsoon months from June to August and from October to November. The remaining period from December to May is practically dry. Most of the rain water received during monsoon period flows to sea within 48 hours of rainfall due to the character of the geographic terrain of the state. Thus it was seen that irrigation is a must for the successful cultivation of crops in Kerala. During 1960’s and 70’s the State faced acute shortage of food grains. Though there are various methods for providing irrigation water, the best and the most reliable method which can be used for Kerala is the construction of storage reservoirs for impounding water during the monsoon and utilizing the water in the reservoir for critical periods of the crops when there is insufficiency. Hence, major and medium projects were taken up and a major portion of the cultivable land could be made ayacut under these projects.