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Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization and Water Bodies Restoration Management Project

July 21, 2014

World Bank

Approval Date: 23 January 2007
Closing Date: 30 September 2014
Commitment Amount: $485 million
Percentage Disbursed: 76% (As of 30 June 2014)


Problems associated with water availability in Tamil Nadu have become more pronounced due to increasing demands from industry and households, as well as a long-term uptrend in the use of water for agriculture. The Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization  and Water Bodies Restoration  and Management Project supports the government of Tamil Nadu’s goal of improving irrigation systems across the state to increase agricultural and livestock productivity, and create market linkages for farmers. The government also recognizes the need to develop and implement a comprehensive institutional framework for efficient water management.

Project Development Objective:

The objective is for selected stakeholders (i.e. those in the watershed area covered by the project) to increase irrigated agriculture productivity in a sustainable water resources management framework. The project components are:

  • Irrigation Systems Modernization in a Sub-basin Framework: focuses on improvements in local water body’s irrigation and larger irrigation systems.
  • Agricultural Intensification and Diversification: focuses on improvements in crop, livestock, and fisheries varieties and management practices, as well as improvements in marketing linkages for farmers.
  • Institutional Modernization for Irrigated Agriculture: focuses on capacity building for the Water Resources Organization and the establishment and operation of Water Users Associations.
  • Water Resources Management: focuses on establishing and operating a State Water Resources Management Agency as an apex body for water management issues for the state.


The project covers 600,000 hectares in 63 selected sub-basins across the state.  


  • The project is progressing well toward achieving its targets. Crop yields have increased anywhere from 18 to 32 percent, in line with the project target (25-30 percent).
  • Farmers have diversified from traditional crops such as paddy to higher-value horticultural crops (30 percent area increase).
  • New micro-irrigation systems, which cover over 37,000 hectares, have already been introduced against an end-of-project target of 40,000 ha.
  • Farmers’ incomes from agriculture have increased by roughly 35 percent, progressing well toward the intended target of 50 percent.
  • Planned targets for improved irrigation systems are being achieved in terms of area coverage, and the quality of these interventions has been above that prevailing outside the project.
  • The planned number of Water Users Associations has been established. A model for invigorating the WUAs through a broader program of community water budgeting has been tested successfully and is being expanded.
  • The project has successfully tested a model to integrate the activities of various line departments at the local level based on Single Window Information Centers, and this model is also being scaled up.
  • The State Water Resources Management Agency is established and serves as a hub for the state to deal more effectively with its water management issues.