Design of Minor Irrigation Tanks : Civil Engineering Projects


Civil_engiineering_projectsData Required for Design of Minor Irrigation Projects

Minor irrigation schemes have probably evolved as a systematic development only after the country’s independence and with the initiation of the Five-Year Plan. These include all ground water and surface water irrigation projects having culturable command area of up to 2000 Ha. Naturally, the groundwater schemes require pumping up of water from tube wells, whereas surface water schemes may include those which involve flow due to gravity as well as lift by pumping from surface water flow irrigation projects include storage and diversion works and are the only means of irrigation in several areas, like the undulating terrains of Central India and the ghats or the hilly tracts of north and north east India. Such projects offer considerable opportunity for rural employment and also help in hard rock areas. When available surface water cannot be used for irrigation through construction of flow irrigation schemes due to topographical limitations, surface water lift irrigation schemes provide the solution.

As such, ground water development is a major activity of the minor irrigation programme. It is mainly a cultivators’ own programme implemented primarily through institutional sources. Adequate energy for pumping ground water is essential for near normal production of crops when there is severe drought. Hence, energy management is also essential.

Under surface flow minor irrigation schemes, water tanks are created by constructing bunds across depressions in undulating terrains. There should be a properly designed spillway for overflowing excess rain water during monsoons and sluice gates for releasing controlled quantities of water to canals. It is obvious that the amount of water expected in the reservoir would be proportional to the catchment area draining into the reservoir and the rainfall in the catchment.

For lift irrigation schemes, pumps have to be installed on the river or canal banks with the suction pipe long enough to be immersed into the flowing water body and should also ensure sufficient draft. At times, floating barges moored to the banks, may have to be installed to accommodate the pumps. Here, the suction pipe would be less but the lift pipe would be longer.

Whenever a problem of design of Minor Irrigation Project is to be dealt, following information should be collected.

  1. Geological Data: Geological investigation may be done for the suitability of foundation, water tightness of the reservoir and depth of cut off trench.
  2. Hydrological Data: The hydrology should be prepared for 50 years return period flood and got vetted by the Chief Engineer ID&R Jaipur. The data should be collected as per Annexure 2.
  3. Miscellaneous Data:
    1. Probable life of reservoir
    2. Proposed full tank level and maximum Water Level
    3. Maximum wind velocity for determination of wave height
    4. Minimum draw down level/canal sill level
    5. Calculations for tail water rating curve
    6. Requirements for roadways
    7. Capacity and elevations of sluice
    8. Chemical analysis of river water and ground water
    9. Length of dam, non overflow and over flow
    10. Type of dam: earthen, masonry etc. to be provided
    11. Details of saddle dam, if any
  4. Soil Test for Borrow Area and Foundation soils

Adequate number of soil samples should be got tested in Material Testing Laboratory of M.T. Dn. Jaipur. Samples from each borrow pit at every 0.30 m depth should be collected. For foundation, the soil samples be collected along proposed dam line for every one-metre depth at least upto 3m depth or till the suitable strata is reached. On each side of nalla / river, samples from foundation soil should be taken at locations maximum, middle and minimum height of dam embankment.

Soil tests to be conducted for soil samples are as below:

  1. Mechanical analysis
  2. Liquid limit, plastic limit and shrinkage limit
  3. Proctor’s Maximum Dry Density and Optimum Moisture Content
  4. Free swell index
  5. Specific gravity
  6. Permeability
  7. Triaxial shear test (C and f)
  8. Total soluble salts
  9. Dispersibility
  10. Sulphate, Carbonate, Organic matter
  1. List of Drawings:
    1. Index map on a scale of 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 showing location of project and location of existing works affecting/ being affected by proposed development
    2. Submergence area plan at contour interval not more than 0.5 m on a scale preferably 1:4000 and should cover elevation of at least 2 m above the proposed M.W.L. at dam site
    3. General lay out plan covering works area in the vicinity of dam site with a contour interval of not more than 0.5 m and preferably on a scale 1: 4000
    4. Capacity and submergence curve
    5. Block level plan of dam site
    6. Tail water rating curve (Elevation discharge curve) along with high flood level
    7. L-section of river 0.5 km upstream and 1.5 km downstream of proposed dam site
    8. Cross section of river at axis of dam site, one at upstream and three at downstream upto 3 m above H.F.L. on both sides and indicating highest flood levels during floods received so far
    9. Borrow area plan showing location and description of characteristics of proposed material to be used in the construction of the dam including, soil, sand, gravel etc.
    10. Borrow area plan indicating
      • Depth and size of borrow pits/ are
      • Quantity of earth available in each borrow pit/area
      • Log of exploration of borrow pit/area indicating type of soils available at different depth
      • Soil test results of soil of each borrow area
  2. Additional Data Required for Remedial Measures for Existing/ Breached Dam
    1. Design of existing/ breached dam
    2. Shortcomings of existing/ breached dam
    3. Technical data of existing/ breached dam
    4. Details of adjoining structures i.e. canal head regulator, spillway, byewash etc.
    5. Soil properties of existing dam

Salient Features of…………………………………………….. Minor Irrigation Project

S. No. Item
Gross Catchment Area    
Intercepted Catchment Area    
Free Catchment Area    
Full Tank Level    
Maximum Water Level    
Top Bank Level    
Free Board    
Flood Lift    

  • Latitude
  • Longitude
Average annual rainfall of last 50 years    
Expected annual run off    
Gross storage capacity    
Dead storage capacity    
Live storage capacity    
Total length of Dam    
Top width of Earthen Dam    
Design discharge of spillway    
Length of waste weir/ spillway    
Maximum height of Dam    
U/S & D/S slope of Dam    
Sill level    
Gross Command Area    
Culturable Command Area    
No. of village benefitted    
Submergence area at F.T.L. (ha)    
Intensity of Irrigation    
Cost of Project    
Cost per hectare    
Benefit cost ratio    
Difference between U/S MWL & D/S Tail Water Level    
Water Allowance at outlet head    
Design discharge of canal at head    
Length of Main canal  

About The Author

Author: Civil Engineer

Hello, My self Neelmani, A Civil Engineer. Presently I am working with Indian Railway. An Affiliate Member of ASCE "American Society of Civil Engineers". B.Tech in Civil Engineering from MIT Muzaffarpur and Diploma in Railway from IPWE as well as Civil Engineering from Govt. Polytechnic Muzaffarpur.

3 thoughts on “Design of Minor Irrigation Tanks : Civil Engineering Projects

  1. define minor irrigation tank based on the water spread area and capacity of the tank

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