Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (IGNP) is one of the most gigantic projects in the world aiming to dedesertify and transform desert waste land into agriculturally productive area. The project objectives include drought
proofing, providing drinking water, improvement of environment, afforestation, employment, rehabilitation, development and projection of animal wealth and increasing agricultural produce.
The project construction commenced in the year 1958. Though the project is only partially complete it has shown remarkable success.
Indira Gandhi Nahar Project was designed to utilise 9,367 Mm3/yr of the total 10,608 Mm3/yr allocated to Rajasthan from the surplus waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers. The construction of the project has been divided into two stages.
Stage I consists of a 204 km long feeder canal, having a headworks discharge capacity of 460 m3/sec, which starts from Harike Barrage. 170 km of the feeder canal lie in Punjab and Haryana and 34 km in Rajasthan.
The entire system of stage-I consists of the 204 km long feeder canal, 189km long main canal and 3454 km long distribution system, is concrete lined, and serves 553 kha of culturable command area, out of which 46 kha are served by pumping to a 60 m lift, through four pumping stations.
In addition to irrigation and domestic water supply through this project , it has been proposed by the Rajasthan State Electricity Board (RSEB) to install a total of 12.76 MW of mini hydro electric power stations, to utilise the available water fall in the canal. One such power station, with an installed capacity of 2´2 MW has already started functioning at the Suratgarh branch of IGNP stage I.
IGNP Stage II comprises construction of a 256 km long main canal and 5,606 km of a lined distribution system, and will serve 1,410 kha of CCA (873577 ha area in flow and 537018 ha under lift), utilising 4,930 Mm3/yr of water. The main canal in the entire length was completed in the year 1986.