THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
An Assessment of Warabandi (Irrigation Rotation) in Pakistan: A Preliminary Analysis
A significant feature of Pakistan’s agriculture is that it is served by the Indus irrigation system, which is one of the largest contiguous irrigation systems in the world. The system comprises of the Indus River and its tributaries, three major storage reservoirs, 19 barrages/headworks, 43 canals, and 12 link canals and 43 canals covering about 43,000 chaks or village settlements. The total length of the canal system is about 40,000 miles with over 80,000 water courses, field channels ‘ and ditches running for another million miles. About 100–106 million acre feet (MAP) of surface irrigation supplies are diverted annually into the canal system. Only 60 percent of this water reaches the farmgate due mainly to low efficiency in the delivery of water. The historical review of the area, production and yield trends shows that agricultural production in the past has increased mainly due to expansion in irrigated acreage while the contribution of changes in yields has been insignificant. In general, agricultural production can be increased by either expanding the irrigated cropped area or by raising the crop yields. It is highly unlikely that Pakistan will be able to satisfy the food needs of the rapidly increasing population through yield increases alone. This means that there ia a need to increase the irrigated cropped area through additional water supplies and by improving the efficiency of water use through using the water resources in a scientific manner.