Water Resource Development and Management in Punjab.
Punjab, the name derived from the Persian words, Punj (five) and ab (water) was a land of five rivers which formed part of Indus Basin till 1947. After partition of the country, Indus water Treaty-1960 restricted India’s rights of usage to only three Eastern rivers (Sutlej, Ravi and Beas), the three Western rivers (Indus, Chenab and Jhelum) were earmarked for exclusive usage of Pakistan. Punjab does have a very well developed and interlinked river system and widespread 14500 kms long Canal Systems.
These Systems are more than a century old and it is difficult to even imagine today to develop such a system of high level strength and utility. The estimated value at the present price level of Water Resource Infrastructure in the State is more than Rs.50,000.00 crore.Punjab Irrigation Department was set up in the year 1849 and has a number of milestones worth mentioning. Construction of upper Bari Doab Canal from river Ravi at Madhopur, Sirhind Canal from river Sutlej at Ropar, Eastern Canal & Bikaner Canal from river Sutlej at Hussainiwala headworks date back to pre-independence era. Post independence period is still brighter when monumental multipurpose projects like Bhakra Dam on river Sutlej, Pong Dam on river Beas, Beas Sullej Link Project and Ranjit sagar Dam on river Ravi have been constructed in addition to construction of Nangal Hydel Channel, Anandpur Sahib Hydel Channel, Bhakra Canal System, Mukerian Hydel Channel,Shah Nehan Barrage, Harike Barrage etc.
Water is most essential natural resource next to the air, a basic human need and the most important input for all human development activities and, perhaps, very precious and scarce natural resource. Efforts need to be made to develop, plan, conserve, utilize and manage this important resource, both surface and ground water, in a judicious, equitable, sustainable and sound economic manner.