Maharashtra to Solarise Mhaisal Lift Irrigation Scheme

Highlights :

  • About 200 MW of electricity will be generated from the solar power installations for this project.
  • The government has already identified some sites for the installation of solar power.

The Irrigation Department of Maharashtra Government has begun to bank on earnest use of renewable electricity to support irrigation for its farmers. In a first of its kind initiative in the state, the Mhaisal Lift Irrigation Scheme will be operated on solar energy. In the irrigation project, the water will be lifted from Krishna River for agriculture and drinking purposes in Sangli and Solapur district areas. The latter two regions happen to be a rain shadow that receives less precipitation every year.

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The total requirement of Mhaisal Lift Irrigation System in terms of electricity is about 90 MW annually. The department says that summers are the peak season of its operations. The government has already identified some sites for the installation of solar power. Also, much of the water being channelized gets evaporated in the process. Hence, the department is also looking for possibilities to install solar panels on the canal channels.

The Gramin Bank will lend about Rs 100 crore for the Mhaisal Irrigation project .

The Mhaisal Irrigation scheme is selected by the irrigation department on a pilot basis. The success can open the floodgates of powering irrigation infrastructure from renewable sources, especially from solar, given the high irradiance in Maharashtra and the draught prone regions in the state, particularly Vidarbha.

Jayant Patil, Irrigation Minister, Maharashtra Government, commented on Mhaisal Irrigation Scheme solarisation, “If the scheme is run on solar power, it will help save over Rs 60 crore in power bills annually. Currently, we are facing a power shortage. Also, the farmers are reluctant to pay the bills for the water lifted and released into their farms. Once the irrigation scheme is run on solar power, the farmers will also benefit as it will help save power bills and ultimately, the farmers will have to pay less.”

In the Mhaisal Irrigation Scheme, water is lifted to a height of 600 meters in a phased manner which irrigates as much as 81,000 hectares of farmland. Mangalwedha tehsil of Solapur district was irrigated through open channels just recently.

India’s largest, and possibly the world’s largest lift irrigation scheme should achieve closure next  year in Telangana, in the form of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) Lift Irrigation.

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