Water Resources & River Development

In Sikkim, Irrigation & Flood Control Department is actively engaged in development of irrigation as well as for mitigation of landslides and soil erosion and damages by floods. Irrigation is an important component of agriculture and it plays a vital role to boost the agriculture and horticulture produces. As agriculture is back bone of Indian economy, the Government of India has declared irrigation has one of the flagship programs of the Government of India. Sikkim is also shouldering its responsibility with rest of the country despite several constraints of its being a hilly region and difficult terrain conditions. One important strength which the State has is that it is in five agro climatic zones. Therefore, varieties of food crops and other agriculture and horticulture crops can be grown in Sikkim. The Department of Irrigation & Flood Control plays crucial role in the development, conservation and management of the water resources in the State and to bring the total cultivatable land under assured irrigation system as early as possible. Due to geographical conditions the region is frequently devastated by natural calamities due to which the infrastructures created suffer great damages annually. To mitigate the problem of floods damages, landslides and soil erosion the Department is taking up many schemes both from the State as well as from centrally aided funds. In Sikkim, more emphasis is given to perennial irrigation system. During lean periods, small discharges will be collected in reservoirs for cultivation of Rabi crops. The implementation of non-perennial irrigation system in most cases is unavoidable. The reason being the regular and sufficient quantity of water is not available at the source through out the year. Besides, rice is the main crop grown in Sikkim for which the irrigation is mostly required. Hence, inundation irrigation system in which sufficient quantity of water flowing in the rivulets and streams during the monsoons and post monsoon period is diverted to irrigate the kharif crops.
The Road Map paper for Development of Irrigation Sector in Sikkim for the XIIth Five Year Plan (2012-2017) devolves round the following sector:-

  1. Irrigation Development
  2. Command Area Development
  3. Repair, Renovation & Restoration of Water Bodies.

The prevailing cropping patterns for the places above 1200 meters altitudes are mostly found to be potato, maize + other crops, maize + potato/vegetables, maize + wheat/barley, ginger + maize/orange, potato + pea, cardamom etc. In the areas between 800 meters to 1200 meters the cropping pattern mostly practiced are maize + potato/vegetables, maize + finger millet, maize + wheat/barley, paddy + pulses, ginger + tapioca, maize + soybeans, maize, paddy, millets, ginger, orange, cardamom. In the areas towards the lower valleys below 800 meters, the cropping patterns experienced are generally maize + pulses, maize + pulses, maize + finger millets/vegetables, paddy-wheat/vegetables, maize – potato, ginger + tapioca. Large cardamom, orange + finger millets, ginger + maize, wheat + mustard.

As per the available rainfall data of the past, the mean annual rainfall is minimum at Thangu (82 mm) and maximum at Gangtok (3494 mm). An isohyatal analysis of these data reveals that there are two maximum rainfall areas (i) south-east quadrant, including Mangan, Singhik, Dikchu, Gangtok, Rongli etc. (ii) south-west corner including hills. In between these two regions, there is a low rainfall region e.g. Namchi. Rainfall in this area is about half of that in the former areas. There is an area in the north-west Sikkim which gets very little rainfall (even less than 4.9 mm). This area is having mainly snow-covered mountains. Rainfall is heavy and well distributed during the months from May to October. July is the wettest month in most of the places. The intensity of rainfall during the south-west monsoon season decreases from south to north, while the distribution of winter rainfall is in opposite order. The highest annual rainfall for the individual station may exceed 5000 mm and average number of rainy days (days with rain of 2.5 mm or more) ranges from 100 at Thangu to 184 at Gangtok.

The climate changes the hydrological pattern in the country and affects the water resources in various ways. The pattern of flows in the Himalayan River will change due to the change in the receding glacier pattern. Rainfall pattern also changes with the intensity and duration. Like in other developing countries, there is a lack of spatially disaggregated meteorological records. Long term, reliable data is available of only stations – Gangtok and Tadong.

The maximum temperature in Gangtok has been rising at the rate of 0.2 0C per decade and the annual rainfall is increasing at the rate of nearly 50 mm per decade. Number of rainy days is declining. Climate change related studies based on the analysis of the data for this station month-wise, season wise and annually from 1957 to 2005 indicates a trend towards warmer nights and cooler days, with increased rainfall except in winter. Comparison of long term meteorological data available for Gangtok station (1957 to 2005) with the trend over the last few years (2006-09), shows an acceleration of these patterns, with winters becoming increasingly warmer and drier now.

Soils of Sikkim have been mapped in 69 soil family association units includes 3 order, 7suborders, 12 great groups and 26 sub-groups. Dominant order includes Inceptisols (42.84%) followed by Entisols and Mollisols occupying 42.52% and 14.64%, respectively. The sub-orders are Psamments, Fluvents, Orthents, Arents, Ochrepts, Umbrepts and Udolls. The great groups include Udipsamments, Udifluvents, Udorthents, Cryorthents, Udorthents, Eutrochrepts, Dystrochrepts, Cryumbrepts , Haplumbrepts, Paleudolls, Argiudolls and Hapludolls. STATE WATER POLICY With a view to ensure proper water resources planning and co-ordination in relation to diverse use of water resources in the State of Sikkim, the State Government constituted the Standing Committee vide Notification No. 89/ Home/97 dated 22.02.1997, which was reconstituted vide Notification No. 01/Home/2007 dated 03.01.2007 read with Notification No.79/Irri/07 dated 08.05.2007 and Notification No. 80/Irri/07 dated 08.05.2007 to frame the State Water Policy. The State Government has notified the State Water Policy framed in line of the National Water Policy to guide in formulating policies and programmes for water resources development and its management in the State. The State Water Policy has been approved and the notification in this context has been published vide Sikkim Government Extraordinary Gazette dated 25th August 2009. This to protected the interest of the State and to enable the services of the department to reach the masses more effectively and promptly all efforts have been mobilized to benefit the rural class:

1.1 Water is a prime natural resource and it is necessary for human all forms of life’s survival. It is scarce compared its usefulness and its planning and development need to be governed by State perspectives. 1.2 Floods and drought particularly affects certain areas of the State. The South and West District of Sikkim have more drought prone area.The management of drought and flood requires proper coordination in between the districts and the State level administration. 1.3State level planning and implementation of individual irrigation or multipurpose projects involve a number or aspects and issues such as environmental protection, rehabilitation or project affected areas people and livestock, public health consequences of water impoundment, dam safety, etc. The complex problems involve in the implementation of projects need to be tackled on the basis of policies and strategies adopted by the State in view of the Central Guidelines. The principal conjunctive use of water has been for irrigation. Further, the growth process and the expansion of the economic activities in the State is leading to the increasing demands of water for diverse purposes namely; domestic, hydropower, agriculture, industrial, recreation etc. The agricultural production has increased since the State became part of the Indian Union. And a further development in a substantial order is necessary to meet the food and fibre needs of the growing population of the State. 1.5 Water quality is one of the important aspects of the State Water Policy, improvements in existing strategies and the innovation of the new techniques resting on a strong science and technology base will be needed to eliminate the pollution of surface and ground water resources, if any. Science and Technology and imparting trainings have also important roles to play in water resource development. Out State is a landlocked State and especially during monsoon the entire State is affected by land slides and soil erosions due to excessive precipitation and as a result lot of damages are caused to the lives and properties. There should be adequate provisions to meet the contingencies in the budget to meet up such challenges.

2.1 The State should provide adequate infrastructure for assessing hydrological data and availability of water from all water bodies such as snow melting, glacier, lakes, jhoras, streams, rivers and ground water. The infrastructure for assessing the quality and discharge of water from all available sources should also be developed as well as to asses the quantum of discharge available in the State during dry and also in summer. 2.2 A well developed information system is the prime requisite for resources planning.A standardized state information system should be established with a network of data banks and data bases.There should be a free exchange of data among the various user agencies. Apart from the data regarding water availability and actual water use, the system should also include comprehensive and reasonably reliable projections fro future demand of water for diverse purposes.

3.1 The water availability in the State should be brought within the category of utilization resources to the maximum possible extent.The resources should be conserved and the availability augmented by measures for maximizing retention and minimizing losses.3.2 Resource planning has to be done within the framework of the State Water Policy so that optimum use of the resources can be achieved. Water should be made available to water scarce areas by transfer from available areas bases on the state perspective and on the basis of requirements of the particular scheme. 3.4 Recycling and re-use of water should be an integral part of water resource development and encouraged at every level. Rooftop and run-off water harvesting should be encouraged to conserve the water and to use it for various purposes.

4.1 Water resource development projects should be planned and developed for multipurpose projects. Provision for drinking water should be a primary consideration. The projects should include for irrigation, hydro electric power generation, flood mitigation, industrial purpose, pisciculture and recreation wherever possible for tourism purposes etc. 4.2 There should be an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to the planning, formulation, clearance and implementation of projects, including catchments area treatment and management, environmental and ecological aspects, the rehabilitation of effected people and command area development etc. 4.3 Special efforts should be made to investigate and formulate projects either in, or for the benefit of area inhabited by tribal or other specially disadvantaged groups, such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In other areas also, project planning should pay special attention to the needs or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections of society. 4.4 The planning of projects in hilly area should take into account the need to provide assured drinking water, possibilities of hydro power development and the proper approach to irrigation in such area, in the context of physical features and constraints such as steep slopes, rapid run-off and the incidence of soil erosion and landslide. 4.5 Integrated and coordinated development of surface water, ground water and their conjunctive use should be envisaged in the project planning stage and should form an essential part of the project. 4.6 The study of the impact of a project during construction and later on human lives, settlement, occupations, economic and other aspects should be an essential component of project planning. 4.7 In the planning implementation and operation of projects, the preservation of the quality of environment and the ecological balance should be a primary consideration. The adverse impact, if any, on the environment should be minimized and should be off-set by adequate compensatory measures.

5.1 Structures and systems created through massive investments should be properly maintained in good health.Appropriate annual provisions should be made for this purpose in the budget. 5.2 There should be a regular monitoring of structures and systems and necessary rehabilitation and modernization programmes should be undertaken. 5.3 There should be beneficiaries associations registered with the Government and the projects on completion should be taken over by the associations for maintaining the same.

There should be proper organizational arrangements at the state level for ensuring the safety of storage, dams and other water related structures. The state should keep in mind the central guide lines for the subject in regard to safety of structures. There should be a system of continuous surveillance and regular visit by experts

7.1 There should be a periodical reassessment on a scientific basis of the ground water potential, taking into consideration the quality of the water available and economic viability. 7.2 Exploitation of ground water resources should be so regulated as not to exceed the recharging possibilities, as also to ensure social equity. Ground water recharge projects should be developed and implemented for augmenting the available supplies.

8.1The State should commit for sharing of its water only in term of excess quantum after meeting the need of water users and all water related developmental activities of the State.

In the planning and operation of systems, water allocation priorities are broadly classified as follows: (a) Drinking water, (b) Hydro power (c) Irrigation, (d) Ecology (e) Industrial, (f) Recreation and (f) other uses. However, these priorities can be modified if necessary in particular regions with reference to area specific considerations.

Adequate drinking water facilities should be provided to the entire population both in urban and in rural areas.Irrigation and multipurpose projects should invariably include a drinking water component. Wherever there is no alternative source of drinking water priorities should be given to the needs of human beings and animals against any available water.
That State Government shall develop Hydro Electricity based on water availability and topography features for not only to fulfill the energy needs of the people of the State but also to generate income by selling the surplus power. The emphasis should be given to develop hydro project for maximum power generation keeping in view of environmental conversation, catchments area treatment and water needs of not only human beings and animals but also of flora and fauna of the downstream of the project site.

12.1 Irrigation planning either in an individual project or in an individual project or in a basin as a whole should be taken into account the irrigiability of land, cost effective irrigation options possible from all available sources of water and appropriate irrigation techniques. The irrigation intensity should be such as to extend the benefits of irrigation to a large number of farm families as far as possible, keeping in view the need to maximize production. 12.2 There should be a close integration of water use and land use policies. 12.3 Water allocation in an irrigation system has to be done with due regard to equity and social justice. Disparities in the availability of water between head-reach and tail-end farms and between large and small farms should be obviated by adoption of a rotational water distribution system and supply of water on a volumetric basis subject to certain ceilings. 12.4 Concerted efforts are to be made to ensure that the irrigation potential created is fully utilized and the gap between the potential created and its utilization is removed. For this purpose, the command area development approach should be adopted in all irrigation projects.

Emphasis should be given for development of water based industries, recreation and other activities based industries, recreation and other activities bases on water, depending upon the availability of the water. However, adequate care should be taken not to pollute the water bodies by such activities and effluents from industries etc.

Water rates should be such as to convey the scarcity value or the resource to the users and to foster the motivation for economy in water-use. It should be adequate to cover the annual maintenance and operation charges and to cover up a part of the fixed costs. The water rates for surface water and ground water should be rationalized with due regard to the interests of small and marginal farmers.

Efforts should be made to involved farmers progressively in various aspect of management of irrigation systems, particularly in water distribution and collection of water rates. Assistance of voluntary agencies and NGO’s should be enlisted in educating the farmers in efficient water use and water management.

Economic development activities including agriculture, industrial and urban development, should be planned with due regard to the constraints imposed by the configuration of water availability. There should be water zoning within the state and the economic activities should be guided and regulated in accordance with such zoning.

The efficiency of utilization in all the diverse uses of water should be improved and an awareness of water as a scarce resource should be fostered. Conservation consciousness should be promoted through education, regulation, incentives and disincentives. Further there should be a proper co-ordination between the departments connected with the implementation of the project for the conservation of water in the area.

There should be a master plan for landslide, soil erosion and flood control management for earth landslide and soil erosion pro e area and flood prone basin. Sound watershed management through extensive soil conservation, catchments area treatment, preservation of check-dams and rain water harvesting structures should be promoted to reduce the intensity of floods adequate flood cushion should be provided in water state projects wherever feasible to facilitate better flood management. An extensive network for flood forecasting should be established for timely warning to the settlements in the river banks, along with the regulation of settlements and economic activity in the river bank zone to minimize the loss of life and property on account of floods while physical flood protection work like embankments and dykes will continue to be necessary. The emphasis should be on non-structural measures for the minimization of losses, such as flood forecasting and warning and river bank zoning, so as to reduce the recurring expenditure on flood relief. Further the state should also undertake the requisite steps to discourage river bank occupation and the economic activities in the adjacent area of the river bank to be regulated. The soil erosion and landslide should be minimized by suitable cost effective measures.

19.1 Drought prone area should be made less vulnerable to drought associated problems through soil moisture conservation measures, roof water harvesting practices, the minimization of evaporation losses, and the development of the ground water potential and the transfer of surface water from surplus areas where feasible and appropriate. Pastures, forestry, or other modes of development which are relatively less water – demanding should be encouraged. In planning water resource development projects, the needs of drought prone area should be given priority. 19.2 Relief works undertaken for providing employment to drought-stricken populations should preferably be for drought proofing.

For effective and economical management of our water resources the frontiers of knowledge need to be pushed forward in several directions by intensifying research efforts in various areas, including the following:

    1. Hydrometeorology;

    1. Assessment of water resources;

    1. Snow and lake hydrology;

    1. Water harvesting;

    1. Crops and cropping system;

    1. The safety and longevity of water related structures;

    1. River morphology and hydraulics;

    1. Soil and materials research;

    1. Better water management practices and improvements in operational technology;

    1. Recycling and re-use and

    1. Economical designs for water resource projects.

A perspective plan for standardized training should be an integral part of water resources development, it should cover training in information system, sectoral planning projects planning and formulation, project management, operation of projects and their physical structures and systems and the management of the water distribution system. The training should extend to all the categories of personnel involved in these activities as also the farmers.

In view of the necessity of the water resource for human and animal life, the proper planning and management of this scarce resource to its optimal, economical and equitable use by maintaining ecological balance for the development of economic activities of all kinds has become very important. The success of the state water policy depends on its commitments to its underlying principles and objectives. The State Government has declared the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control as nodal Department vide Notification No. 82/Home/2004 dated 10/9/04 and since then this Department has been in active engagements in the development of water resources of the State.

The Sikkim Irrigation Water Tax Act, 2002 has come in to force with effect from 1st April 2010. However, detailed survey and awareness programme is being launched from “Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) – There shall be participatory role of stakeholders, farmers in the overall development of water resources by constituting Water Users Association / Committee for assigning responsibilities of water management, organizing regular orientation / awareness programmes for functionaries of Irrigation / Command Area Development, Department farmers, increasing water use efficiency through proper co-ordination between Agriculture and Irrigation Department and forming appropriate Committee at State Level for Monitoring and Evaluation.”

The State Level water quality Review Committee (WQRC) has been reconstituted by the State Government vides Notification No.66/Home/2010 Dated 01.07.2010 for the purpose of protecting and monitoring the water quality in the State of Sikkim.
The following steps are being involved for preparation of Water Quality Management Plan:

    1. Review of Existing Policies and Regulations.

    1. Review of Existing Water Quality.

    1. Identify Water Quality Threats

    1. Water Quality Goals for the water body – use-based goals.

    1. Superimpose the water quality status on water quality objectives to identify the gaps.

    1. Identify nature and magnitude of the problem.

    1. Identify the sources – drains, NPS etc.

    1. Quantify the pollution load e.g. BOD load t/d source-wise.

    1. Options to mitigate the problem

    1. Select the best option which is sustainable

    1. Prefer low cost technologies and reuse the treated waste water for irrigation

    1. Financial aspects

    1. Apply polluter pay principle

    1. Involve all the beneficiaries

    1. Constitution of Intersectoral groups

    1. Evolve a good and effective monitoring system

    1. Identify some simple indicators of progress and success of the programme

    1. Involve public in monitoring the progress and benefits

    1. Establish a transparent system of information.

In order to strengthen the system of protection and monitoring of water quality in the four Districts Level Water Quality Review Committee (DLWQRC) consisting of members Officers of the district headed by the District Collector as Chairperson. The preview of the district level water quality review committee shall be as under:-

    1. Status of Water Quality Problems and Managements System.

    1. Implementation of Uniform Monitoring Protocol

    1. Training and Awareness Raising Program

    1. Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP)

    1. District Level Quality Schemes for Improvement of Water Quality and Surveillance.
    2. To Identify /Promote Research and Development Schemes

  1. Any other relevant subject which needs attention at District level with regard to the water quality monitoring.

The consumptive use of water as per the details given by different Departments for various purposes till the end of 2050 is as under:-

Maximum Minimum
Irrigation ( Irrigation & Flood Control Department 2646.00cusec 742.74cusec
Drinking Water Supply(Water Security& PHE Deptt 93.41cusec 93.41cusec
Rural Water Supply for Drinking 37.53cusec 37.53cusec
Industrial use (Commerce & Industries Deptt 1.03 cusec 1.03cusec
2777.97cusec 874.71cusec

The statistics shown for the minimum and maximum consumptive use of water under Irrigation has been calculated as per the norms as well as taking into consideration the details received from Food Security & Agriculture Development & Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department. All the details are as per the consumptive use requirements given by the concerned departments. The following graphs give an indication of the demands for water for various consumptive purposes and share of consumption of water for each of the stated purposes.

The Irrigation & Flood Control Department is undertaking construction of Minor Irrigation Channels (MICs) from Centrally Sponsor Schemes as well as State Funding Resources. Thus, the periodical survey for MICs is being carried out at the interval of every five (5) years. However, as per the records available, the number of Minor Irrigation Channels (MICs) constructed before 1982-83 are 327 and up to 1986-87, the total is 510 numbers. This was the First ever Census of MICs taken up with the reference year up to 1986-87. The Second Census of MICs with reference year 1995-96 was taken up for which the purview of details were enhanced wherein the total number of channels constructed were 854 in numbers with the total Gross Potential Creation 20,009 hectares.

Thereafter, the Third Census was taken up with the reference year up to 2000-200, show that total number of MICs constructed were 1,076, with the total potential created as 23, 1501.90 hectares till the reference year. The report of Fourth Census with the reference year up to 2006-07 shows that 1,485 numbers of MICs have been constructed up to the reference year with the potential creation of 27,998 hectares
The total gross potential created up to the financial year ending December 2010 -2011 stands at 29233.84 hectares.

(No’s) IN KM Rs. In lakhs In hac. In hac.
Up to 31st December 2010 1710 905.324 3592.17 29233.84 25304.58

Further execution of 225 numbers of MICs under Additional Central Assistance would create an additional potential of 8,244 hectares with completion period of three (3) years and the total creation of potential after its completion would stand at 37,477.84 hectares against the target of potential created of 50,000 hectares which was fixed during early nineties and may be needed to be revised after the Fifth Census which would be conducted in the year 2012-13 i.e. in the beginning of the Twelfth Five Year Plan.
The Department had projected target of 10,000 hectare for the 11th Plan with financial involvement of Rs. 1500 Lakhs, proposed to be met by AIBP. The last lot of 63 Minor Irrigation under AIBP was taken up during 2007-08, 2008-09 and was completed during 2009-10.
During 2010-11, 225 nos.of MIC schemes costing 5791.78 lakhs have been sanctioned with the stipulation to complete the works in three financial years’ i.e.2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. The amount to be spent during the above three financial years is 1737.60 lakhs, 2316.68 lakhs and 1737.60 lakhs respectively. During 2011-12, it is proposed to achieve a target of 3000 ha with financial implication of 2316.68 lakhs which comprises of 231.76. Lakhs as State Share and 2085.04 lakhs as Central Share. The Gross Potential Created after completion of 225 numbers of schemes would stand at 38000 Ha.

Sl.No. Schemes Year of implementation Cost
(Rs.in lakhs)
1 129 nos. of
1999-2000-2001-2002 565.42 1922.82 1634.32
2 62 nos. of
2002-2003-2004 200.00 712.15 676.54
3 100 nos. of schemes 2004-2005 200.00 357.73 339.84
4 79 nos. of schemes 2005-2006-2007 457.04 1737.76 1650.87
5 63nos. of schemes 2008-09-10 689.28 1719.55 1638.50
6 225 nos of schemes 2010-11-12-13 5791.78 8244.12
Total 658 nos of schemes 7903.52 14694.13 5940.07

Till now, 29233.84 hectares of potential has been created, out of which 25304.58 hectares potential has been utilized. With the implementation of recently sanctioned 225 nos. of MIC schemes, the additional potential created shall be 8244.12 Ha. There is a huge potential of Irrigation in the State with the existing available Water Resources in the forms of Streams and rivulets. Out of the total Culturable Command Area of 1, 09,000.00 Ha it is estimated that approximately 79000 Ha can be covered under Assured Irrigation System. The total area covered under Assured Irrigation System till date is 29233.84 Ha. Thus target of 49766.16 Ha (say 50000 Ha) it is yet to be achieved by Assured Irrigation System. The Irrigation & Flood Control Department has targeted to create an Ultimate Irrigation Potential of 50000 Ha with the implementation of recently sanctioned 225 numbers of Minor Irrigation Schemes. The total Potential Planned after completion of these projects shall be 37477.96 Ha. However, there has been constraint in executing the A.I.B.P. Schemes due to the following:

The agriculture land is available in small patches in between the rugged terrains and at the foothills. 2.The main source of irrigation water is small streams and rivulets and the regular discharge of such sources are limited and can cater to small Culturable command areas only. 3.The state consists of hilly terrains and agriculture is practiced on both terraced and non-terraced lands along the slopes. Due to the facts stated above most of the schemes sanctioned under AIBP have Culturable Command Area between 20-30 ha.Considering the geophysical and geological aspects, the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, only considers the schemes having C.C.A equal to or more than 20 ha for consideration under AIBP even for small and hilly states like Sikkim.

During the post-independence period the Government of India accorded top priority to agriculture to increase the production and productivity for providing food security to the people. A number of irrigation projects were constructed and irrigation potential was increased substantially. Later it was observed that the potential created was not fully utilized and substantial gap existed between the potential creation and potential utilization due to which the purpose of irrigation project was not met fully. This prompted the formation of Irrigation Commission in 1972 to make specific recommendations for systematic and integrated development of the commands of the irrigation projects. Later during 1974-75 command area development programs, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme was launched to bridge the gap between potential creation and potential utilization. The main mantra is to reduce loss of irrigation water by increasing the efficiency of the irrigation system and also to maximize the efficiency of use of water at the field level. Thus, more area could be covered by the same project. The programme emphasizes on the integrated and coordinated approach to the development and management of the command areas by constituting a multi-disciplinary team under the overall control of Command Area Development Authorities. In Sikkim the projects are being implemented by the Irrigation & Flood Control Department and not by the Command Area Development (CAD) Authority, as CAD Authority as in some other states like Himachal Pradesh, Kerala has not been formed in Sikkim. Under Command Area Development Programme various components as under are implemented:

  1. On-Farm Development works consisting of development of field channels
  2. Selection and introduction of suitable cropping pattern
  3. Modernization, maintenance and efficient operation of irrigation system etc.

As stated above the Command Area Development Schemes are Centrally Sponsored Schemes with the funding pattern of 50:50. In Sikkim under Command Area Development Programme only few projects have been implemented in the past. Under this programme the Department has taken up construction of offshoots and field channels to increase the coverage of the existing channel by minimizing the losses due to conveyance of water and increasing the efficiency of the system so that more area is covered by the existing discharge. Under this scheme the Department has set a physical target of 2000 ha for the 12th Plan and to achieve this target the total financial involvement would be Rs. 2000 lakhs based on SOR 2006. The provision of guidelines for CAD has hindered the implementation of projects. As for the guideline one scheme should cover a minimum C.C.A of 100 ha which in the context of Sikkim is not possible. In Sikkim due to geographical constraints, the Ministry of Water Resources has agreed to reduce the C.C.A to 20 ha for schemes for consideration under AIBP. In Sikkim most of the minor irrigation schemes implemented by the Government have C.C.A of 20-25 ha only. The Department has already apprised the Ministry for consideration and revision of the guidelines and to reduce the CCA of CAD schemes to that of the AIBP schemes. If the guidelines are revised giving relaxation to hilly States like Sikkim, proposals can be initiated for a number of existing irrigation schemes for up gradation of potential utilization by modifying various components as required. However, Department has proposed a scheme in South Sikkim and this may be sanctioned by the Ministry during the current financial year.

CADWM Programme is multi-disciplinary programme involving various departments like irrigation, Agriculture etc. Better coordination amongst the concerned departments is essential for effective implementation of the department. There is also a need to implement other activities like adaptive trails, training components, demonstration, and etc. beside the construction activities of field channels, field drains, etc.
As per the recent Census the total number of schemes defunct in Sikkim is stated to be 308 no’s and an extent of 6697.60
hectares of Command Area under these schemes is not getting any irrigation water. The minor irrigation schemes have become defunct due to various reasons such as landslides near the head-works, damage to channels and scours in its Head works. Failures along the canal due to landslips, clogging of pipelines etc. are mainly structural failures of these schemes. If these defunct schemes are rehabilitated in future by renovation and repairs of damaged portions the total Culturable Command Area could increase.
The District wise break-up are as follows:
District Number of Schemes CCA (in Hectare)
East District 134 3272.02 Ha.
North District 33 785.55 Ha.
South District 38 629.05 Ha
West District 103 2010.98 Ha.
TOTAL 308 6697.60 Ha.

It is also possible to obtain additional Command Area by improving the existing canals which are partially functioning and are fully functioning. Many of the fully functioning schemes also need repairs and renovation at several places and if same is not done, it would aggravate and might result in problems in future rendering them to be partially functioning or defunct categories in due course of time. Thus, an overall Master Plan could be prepared on the above lines in order to improve the Culturable Command Area of the State as a Whole.

Considering the typical characteristics of the cultivated area, an Irrigation Plan must consider the following possibilities to enhance production, socio-economic status and employment potential:-

  1. Increasing the land productivity through more intensive cropping and through use of modern agriculture practices.
  2. Utilization of full irrigation potential and proper allocation of limited water resources to crop.
  3. Optimum use of labour force in the agriculture, animal husbandry and poultry etc. as strategy for employment generation.
  4. Adopting a cropping pattern that meets both economic and the crop affinity requirements.
  5. Ensuring the availability of inputs like seed, pesticides etc.,
  6. Encouragement to a cropping pattern and farming practice that are less capital.
  7. Ensuring a production pattern that meets the minimum nutritional needs of the command area population as far as possible and thereby improving the health standard of the area ensuring adequate return to the farmers.

The Irrigation channel not performing to the desired efficiency should be renovated and brought up to satisfactory level and then only handed over to the Water User Associations (WUA’s) for further up-keep and maintenance. Before handing over the same to the Farmer’s Association’s they should be in good running condition, so that WUA’s may be able to collect water charges in an effective manner. The State Government needs to pay attention for maintenance immediately with increase in grant to meet the present needs. It is important to:- Create a proper distribution system to avoid water loss due to seepage. The distribution of water through pipes and concrete drains to be opted. Make storage tanks so that the water can be effectively used even in the lean season when the streams are dried up. The State Government has to concentrate on maintenance of main water-distribution system in order to create a proper distribution system for the channels which are not performing to the required potential. The sub-distribution system may be left to the Water Users Associations so that the cost on operation and maintenance is reduced. This way there will be better management and healthy participation of the Farmers and Users.

Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies is directly linked to Agriculture was launched in India in January 2005 for implementation during the remaining period of X Th Plan with an outlay of Rs. 300 crores. The Ministry had launched the scheme of Repair, Renovation and Restoration of Water Bodies: One with the external assistance. The other as a State Sector scheme with domestic budgetary support. The Water Bodies include tanks/ponds and lakes which have traditionally played an important role in irrigation, drinking water supply, hydro-power, ecology, tourism/ culture and domestic use. The main objectives of the scheme are: Comprehensive improvement of selected tank systems including restoration. Improvement of catchment areas of tank. Community participation and self- supporting system for sustainable management for water bodies covered by the programme. Ground Water Recharge. Capacity Building of communities, user groups standing Committee for Panchyats and State Government / Central Government Agencies concerned with the planning, implementation and monitoring of the project. Improvement in agriculture / horticulture productivity and increase in recharge of ground water in downstream areas of water bodies. Environmental benefits through improved water use efficiency; irrigation benefits through restoration of water bodies, supplementation of the ground water use and promotion of conjunctive use of surface and ground water. Increase in storage capacity of water bodies. Development of tourism, cultural activities, etc. Increased availability of drinking water.

Under the scheme covered by external assistance, the Government of India provides assistance to the extent of 25% and borrows necessary funds as loan from World Bank, 75% State Share is to be borrowed from the World Bank by the concerned State. Under the scheme with domestic support funding is also in the ratio of 25:75(Centre: State) for non-special category States. The funding pattern for the scheme for Special Category States including Sikkim, 90% of the project cost will be provided as Central Assistance (grant) by the Government of India and 10 % of the cost borne by the State Government. Out of which 10 % of the project cost will be earmarked by the State Government for capacity building, awareness and institutional strengthening.

A project may be prepared with an individual water body for a group of water bodies with sub-basin approach. All public and community owned water bodies may be covered under the project. All water bodies included in the project will be given a unique code number. States shall under take census of these water bodies and get complete list of water bodies along with unique code in the first stage. The States can take up repair, renovation and restoration of water bodies having original irrigation culturable command area up to 2000 hectare or less, for drinking water, irrigation, pisiculture, tourism, ground water recharge or any other purposes. Private owned water bodies can not be considered for funding under this scheme.

Under the project the targeted benefits would include creation of additional irrigation potential, increase in agriculture / horticulture / pisciculture production and productivity, increase in recharge of ground water, improvement in water use efficiency , increase in availability of drinking water , impact in water quality , promotion of tourism and culture.

The State is blessed with adequately high rainfall, but major portion of the same is restricted to mainly monsoon season. This results in paucity of water during non-monsoon seasons. Even though water is available in the valley, the constraints of terrain forces large portion of agricultural fields to be dependent upon rain alone. At present the main sources of water in the State is surface and sub-surface water flows. Springs occur where sloping ground and impenetrable rocks intersects with the ground water table. In Sikkim, Himalayan mountains spring provide the main water source to the rural and urban populations. Over the years some of these springs have dried up or become seasonal and the discharge during the lean seasons is declining. The main cause of the declining of springs is mainly population increase, erosion of top soil, erratic rainfall/ weather patterns, deforestation, forest fire and developmental activities ( e.g. road construction, building construction etc.). Global warming and erratic weather patterns are further adversely impacting the water resources in the State. The irrigation channels are also impacted due to diminishing discharge of water source. Thus, it is now proposed to have storage of water in the forms of tanks to be provided for channels in dried areas. The State Government has also already drafted Sikkim State Action Plan on Climate Change in co-ordination with German Technical Co-operation (GTZ).The Action Plan proposes to give top priority for Water Resources to urban and rural and those areas vulnerable to Climate Change up to Gram Panchyat levels. The thrust areas of Water Resources in both the rural and urban areas prioritized by the State Government are as follows:

  1. Rain water Harvesting
  2. Conservation of Critical Springs( Dharas)
  3. Storage of water in the forms of Water Tanks in dry area.
  4. Efficient use of water in both rural and urban area.

Since, most of the schemes have Culturable Command Area less than 20 hectare in Sikkim, considering the geographical and geological aspects, it is requested that the norms of 20 Ha and above may be reduced to 5 to 10 Ha. By doing so, more schemes could be initiated and small and marginal farmers could also benefit from this flagship programme. The development cost per hectare prescribed for Minor Irrigation Scheme to be eligible for funding is less than Rs. 1.50 Lakhs as per the guideline for providing Central Assistance for Minor Irrigation Projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP). The provision is in adequate considering the hilly terrain were higher cost of construction is involved. Thus, Rs. 1.50 Lakhs per Ha. doesn’t suffice in difficult terrain condition. Hence, the norms for hilly State like Sikkim is required to be revised by the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India to at least Rs. 2.00 Lakhs to Rs 2.50 Lakhs per hectare considering the steep region, cost of construction materials and daily wages of laborers. In regard to Command Area Development (CAD) Schemes, these are centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) with funding pattern of 50:50 (Central Share: State Share). Under this Programme the norms demand minimum of 100 Ha. Of Culturable Command Area for a Scheme to qualify. Sikkim, being a hilly region as already stated, the Minor Irrigation Scheme taken up under AIBP are all between 20-30 Ha. Hence, it is difficult to qualify even for AIBP projects for CAD Schemes with minimum of 100 Ha. CCA. It is because of these reasons; the State like Sikkim could not utilize the benefits given under the CAD Schemes. The Ministry of Water Resources, and Planning Commission, Government of India has been requested that the norms be reduced limited to 5 to 10 Ha considering the small State like Sikkim.

The future long term planning envisages short term (2010-2020), medium term (2020-2030) and long term (2030-2040) planning and the estimated budgetary are as under:

Programme Short Term (2010-2020) Medium Term (2020-2030) Long Term (2030-2040) Proposed XII Five Year Plan
Irrigation Development Programme Rs. 250.00 Cr Rs. 300.00 Cr Rs. 350.00 Cr Rs. 120.00 Cr
CADWM Programme Rs 25.00 Cr Rs 30.00 Cr Rs 40.00 Cr Rs. 5.00 Cr
RRR of Water Bodies Rs.125.00Cr Rs. 170.00Cr Rs. 310.00 Cr Rs 75.00 Cr
Total Rs. 400.00 Cr Rs 500.00 Cr Rs 700.00Cr. Rs. 200.00 Cr

Linking Budgetary Requirements to National Programmes: a) Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme of Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources
b) Repair, Renovation and Restoration of Water Bodies, Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources
c) Command Area Development Programme of Ministry of Water Resources, GOI.
In regard to Flood Control, River Training, Jhora Training and Anti-Erosion Works, the main sources from which the department can take up the schemes is mainly from 1. Brahmaputra Board, 2. NEC, 3. NABARD, 4. FC&RT. Since, the State of Sikkim has been included in the Brahmaputra & Barak Basin. The State receiving its equitable share of the budget.
The Annual Plan break-up proposed during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) is as given below:

Sl.No. Scheme XIIth Five Year Plan 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
1 AIBP 12000 2000 2500 2500 2500 2500
2 CAD 500 100 100 100 100 100
3 RRR 7500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500
4 FCRT 10000 2000 2000 2000 2000 2000
5 NABARD 4000 800 800 800 800 800
6 NEC 5600 1000 1000 1100 1200 1300
7 AE/FMP 90000 16000 17000 18000 19000 20000
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