Back to homepage

The History of Nara Canal

History of Irrigation Development 

The Nara Irrigation System came to maturity with the commissioning of the Sukkur
Barrage in 1932, regulating the flow of Indus River, and supplying channels through the bed of the Upper Nara. This enabled perennial irrigation of dry crops (e.g. Cotton & wheat) in a large part of Nara Canal command. Rice cultivation was promoted in the main area designated for non-perennial irrigation at the tail of the eastern Nara canal. Before the construction of Sukkur Barrage the Nara canal was an inundation channel, which follows the course of old Hakro River that ceased to flow in the 19th century. In 1932, the designed CCA was 2.069 million acres.

The history of irrigation development in the Nara Canal Command shows: -

  • Full dependence of the rural economy on irrigation (and drainage)
  • History of settlement in the area, with land-grants and privileges to power elites
  • Intensification of agriculture thought increased irrigation water supply
  • Continued finance and management problems of canal maintenance

In the Nara system, the initial problems of siltation, unreliability and shortage of water
supply still remain, even though the cause of these problems has shifted from a
physical/engineering nature, to problems of institutions and management.

Nara  Irrigation System. Physical Description

The Nara irrigation system can be divided into two sections.

  • Upper Nara- between Sukkur Barrage and Jamrao Weir (115milc)
  • Lower Nara- below Jamrao Weir (l05 mile)

Each of these sections has its own problems from a physical, as well as management

Upper Nara 

Most of the lift channels have been constructed in the last 20 years, and 5 Government
lift schemes arc currently planned for construction. The works on the 5 lift channels have
been completed up to 80%. The revised PC-I has been submitted to the managing
Director SIDA on 11-11-03.

The O&M costs of the Government lift schemes in Upper Nara are also disproportionate
to the O&M cost of the entire Nara irrigation system. The implications of Government
lift schemes to the future costs of the A WB.

Lower Nara 

The Nara irrigation system below Jamrao Weir constitutes 89% of the total CCA of the Nara system

Area Water Board 

Below SIDA, quasi-autonomous Area Water Board (A WB) has been formed which had assumed responsibility for managing and progressively for financing the Operation and
Maintenance Cost of irrigation and drainage network within the jurisdiction .The A WB
has been preferably formed along the canal commands. Formation of A WB is dependent
on the experience of a pilot A WB (Nara Canal Area Water Board is the firs; and pilot
A WB in Sindh . The SIDA Act assigns following functions to the AWBs:


  • To formulate and implement policies to achieve effective, economical and efficient
    utilization of irrigation water at its disposal;
  • To ensure that it become fully operative as a self-supporting and financially self-
    sustaining entity within a period between seven to ten years from the date of its
  • To plan, design, construct, operate and maintain the irrigation, drainage and Hood
    control infrastructure located within its territorial jurisdiction.

Farmer Organizations (FOs) 

Below the A WB, FOs has been fanned on distributaries and minors. The FOs is the basic management unit and is responsible to operate and manage the irrigation and drainage infrastructure and undertakes distribution of irrigation water within their jurisdictions, The FOs will collect the agreed water charges from the users and pay the agreed consideration to the A WB. The FOs will deposit 60% with A WB and 40% in their

Account   for maintenance of the channels. Up till now 141 channels have been handed over to FOs in the Nara canal Command area.

Chotiary Reservoir 

Chotiary reservoir is situated in North Eastern part of District Sanghar   famous for extensive canal networks, natural lakes, sandy dunes and fish production. Chotiary Reservoir is an integral part of Left Bank Out fall Drainage Project Stage 1. Historically the Chotiary reservoir was consist of number of natural lakes like Seri, Abraho, Bakar, Siran  Wari etc and the source of for filling these natural lakes was Nara Canal through various Escapes like  Ranto , Wadhki and Aajo. Under LBOD Stage 1 Project it was planned that an   Off stream Storage facility on left side of Nara Canal should be provided for regulated supplies in the lower Nara Canal.

The Chotiary Reservoir will enhance the storage capacity of the existing lakes from 0.15 MAF to 0.71 MAF. This Additional water will be utilized in Lower Nara to increase the cropping intensity to 148 % annually.

 Salient  Features of the Project

Storage Capacity

Total                                                                                  0.71MAF

Live                                                                                   0.67MAF

Dead                                                                                  0.04MAF

Area to be benefited                                                   290.000 Acres

The inauguration of Chotiary reservoir was performed on 19-02-2003. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Mir Zaffarullah Khan Jamali was the chief guest on the occasion. The reservoir was filled from the share of Nara Canal up to the capacity of 0.2378 MAF. The Lower Nara Canal is depending on the Chotiary reservoir during Rabi season especially from 6th January to 30th March. This reservoir will be helpful in future to cater for Lower Nara Canal. After completion of the project it will be handed over to Nara Canal AWB

Efforts taken for equitable distribution of water in NCAWB 

To implement proper and equitable distribution of water.

  • To report the tail gauges of each channels twice a day for reporting to higher
  • FO Channels may be checked by the Assistant Executive Engineers / Executive
    Engineer and submit module observation.
  • The Executive Engineers has been instructed to keep strict watch over the Direct

•         To submit the list of habitual offenders.

•         Implementation of Rotation Program.

•         To check the direct outlets and submit module                                                     observation.

•         To keep inspection path of the canals branches in tip                                           top condition.

Deployment of Rangers for prevents water theft along the Channels.

Water   Problems in Nara Canal Command Area.

The completion report of the Lloyd Barrage and Canals construction Scheme Sindh 1923-1933 Volume VI reveals that the discharge of Nara Canal System have been designed as per Project in the following order.

l. Karias takes off direct from Nara. 928 Cusecs.
2 Patni  Distributary  at mile 2.8 202
3. Jamrao Canal 3400
4. Heran tract 106
5. Mithrao Canal. 2024
6. Khipro Canal and Bakar Distributary 1461
7. Thar  and Hiral canal system and Sufi
Distri butary. 3102
8. Transit losses in Nara. 2478
Total 13602 cusecs
Say 13600 cusecs

2. Post Project Schemes.

The post project schemes and newly identified areas [or cultiv. Lion have over burdened the system with the result, the system was unable to run even with the Designed discharge and there were complaints of short supplies from every I, nock and door hence a discharge of 1600 Cusecs is required.

3. Forest  Area.

The project does not include the water for forests vide page No 24 or the completion report. Presently a discharge of 113 Cusecs is being supplied to the sanctioned forestry in the Nara Canal command.

4. Areal Transferred   from   Rohri Canal System.

An area measuring about 76000 acres was transferred from Ro.iri Canal system, to Nara Canal command, which is also an extra load on the system. Therefore 480 Cusses are being provided including losses.

5. Filling of Chotiary Reservoir.

The Chotiary Reservoir is designed for the total storage capacity of 0.71 MAF with the maximum retention level @ RL 87.5 and maximum operating level of 69.0 which is also being filled with the share of Nara Canal System. The requirement of water for filling the reservoir has been calculated as 2000 cusecs per day for 179 days attain t he required level.

6. Filling of pond level of newly commissioned Twin Jamrao Canal.

The Twin Jamrao canal is a newly commissioned Canal and it requires additional 500 cusecs for filling the pond in a length of about 49-Miks.

7. Drinking   Water requirements.

The Nara Canal command includes a large No of cities, towns and villages for which the channels of Nara are the only source of drinking water requirements. As this area is saline zone therefore the population is entirely dependent on canal system for its drinking needs. This factor has to be considered for the additional supplies of water. Presently 150 cusecs are being provided to various sanctioned water supply schemes in Nara Canal Command.

Looking to the above aspects the Nara Canal system needs extra water to meet the requirements. The detailed statement is attached as Annex “A”

Sindh  Water Management Ordinance 2002.

The Governor of Sindh promulgated an Ordinance on 26th Oct 2002 known as Sindh
Water Management Ordinance 2002, which repealed the earlier SIDA act 1997.

The SWMO 2002 defines the composition of A WB as follow

Composition of A WB

  1. Nominated members

a)             One representative of SIDA

b)            One prominent and renowned agriculturist

  1. Elected member

a)             one small farmer

b)            One tail end farmer

c)             Two farmers from the existing FOs

  1. Members co-opted by the elected and nominated members

a)             One academic with irrigation back ground

b)            One academic with Environment back ground

c)             One academic with social mobilization back ground

d)            One nominee of Industry

  1. Ex- officio

a)             Naib Nazim of District Govt. or his nominee

b)            Director of A WB as Advisory member and Secretary.


Write a comment

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment
View comments

Write a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*