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Water Availability

The assessment of the amount of river or stream flow which could be safely harnessed for the proposed lift irrigation/water supply scheme is the most important factor in establishing the technical feasibility of a river pumping project. The availability of water in the river should be determined from the observed minimum discharges during the periods when the demand for water is maximum. The river discharge data should be for a sufficiently long period, preferably a ten-year period, if possible. River flow records are usually available from the concerned Executive Engineer of the Government or from local bodies.

If relevant data on river discharges are not available, reasonable estimates are to be made on the quantum of flow during the dry seasons of the year. The number of irrigation and water supply projects existing on the river, upstream and downstream of the project site, should be ascertained. Provision to meet the continued requirements of water for domestic use and other riparian requirements and existing contracts for water supply, like those of industries are to be ensured.

Lift irrigation schemes which are designed and constructed by government agencies usually provide for a certain risk, especially when the water availability is scarce. A confidence level of 75 per cent is usually adequate for schemes in the peninsular region. Lift irrigation schemes depend on the minimum flow (base flow) during the crop period. There is a likelihood of the base flow depleting in certain years. Hence, it is necessary to provide for this contingency.

 
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