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State plans to expand irrigation coverage to 66 lakh hectares, says Govind Karjol

Two-day ‘International Conference on water management and climate change’ organised by Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI) begins in Dharwad

January 24, 2023 08:12 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:18 am IST - HUBBALLI

Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol, along with other dignitaries, inaugurating an international conference on water management and climate change at WALMI in Dharwad on Tuesday.

Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol, along with other dignitaries, inaugurating an international conference on water management and climate change at WALMI in Dharwad on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Stating that the water scenario in the State is better compared to several other States, Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol on Tuesday said that the government has chalked out plans to expand irrigation facilities to 66 lakh hectares from 30 lakh hectares.

Inaugurating a two-day “International Conference on water management and climate change” organised by Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI) in Dharwad on Tuesday, Mr. Karjol said that the State has adequate water resources to irrigate 66 lakh hectares of land.

He said that while 30 lakh hectares of agricultural land has come under irrigation so far, the Department of Major Irrigation has chalked out a blueprint for extending irrigation facilities to another 10 lakh hectares. This apart, another 10 lakh hectares will be irrigated by the Minor Irrigation Department. In the last three years, two lakh hectares have been brought under irrigation through government initiatives, he said.

Pointing out that that farmers have voluntarily adopted water management systems and irrigated 16 lakh hectares, Mr. Karjol said that to support such initiatives, it has been decided to provide free power supply to 10 hp irrigation pumpsets.

In his address, Mr. Karjol expressed concern over flood irrigation and flow irrigation, particularly in the sugarcane and paddy-growing belt. Due to lack of knowledge on water management among farmers, land is becoming saline and in some villages, 80% of agricultural land has become saline, while soil has lost fertility, he said.

If this is not checked now, all agricultural fields will turn saline, posing danger for agriculture, he said. Farmers should become water literate and water warriors and adopt a mechanism for effective water management, he said and emphasised the need to take preventive measures.

“Instead of flood irrigation, farmers should adopt micro irrigation which helps in retaining fertility of soil and also prevents water abuse,” he said and made an appeal to everyone to join hands in harvesting every drop of rainwater.

Chairman of Legislative Council Basavaraj Horatti stressed the importance of soil and water management and said that farmers should stop growing water-intensive crops. As drip-irrigation has proven effective in tackling water crisis, it should be promoted on a large scale, he said.

Making the introductory remarks, Director of WALMI, Dharwad, Rajendra Podda said that knowledge on water and land management should be translated into action.

On the occasion, water warrior Shivaji Kagnikar, popularly known as water Gandhi, was felicitated by water conservationist Rajendra Singh and Mr. Govind Karjol. Water conservationists and environmentalists from across the country and abroad are participating in the conference.

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