Meghalaya is basically an agrarian State with about 70-80% of its population depending on Agriculture and allied activities, yet the state is deficit in foodgrain production. One of the major inputs for increasing foodgrain production in the State is undoubtedly providing of assured irrigation so that the farmers can take up double/triple cropping. The identified ultimate irrigation potential of the State is approximately 2.18 Lakhs hectare. The irrigation potential created through the 266 numbers of Departmental schemes completed by the end of 2009-2010 is about 29,213.77 hectares which is within 13.40% of the ultimate potential. Out of this, 27,300.32 Ha is under Surface water and 1913.45 Ha is under Ground water. The number of completed schemes is 246 Surface Water Schemes, 9 Numbers Deep Tube Wells and a cluster of Shallow Tube Wells.
The main function of the Water Resources Department is the implementation of Irrigation Projects consisting of Surface Flow and Surface Lift Irrigation schemes in all the Districts of the State. Ground Water Irrigation schemes are also implemented in areas where they are found feasible. Besides these, there are also Centrally Sponsored Schemes which are being implemented by the Department such as the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (A.I.B.P.), R.I.D.F. schemes of NABARD, Command Area Development and Water Management (C.A.D. and W.M.) Programme and Rationalization of Minor Irrigation Statistics (R.M.I.S.).
Besides Minor Irrigation which are the only schemes implemented by the Directorate of Irrigation, the Water Resources Department will also implement Medium Irrigation Projects and take up flood protection and flood management works for Agricultural lands.
During 2009-10 there were 72 numbers of On-going Minor Irrigation schemes under A.I.B.P. at a total estimated cost of Rs. 10122.876 Lakh to cover a command area of 8600.602 Ha and to benefit 4208 families. There were also 17 numbers under State Plan at a total estimated cost of Rs. 1030.052 Lakh to cover a command area of 1004.08 ha and to benefit 461 families. The on-going R.I.D.F. schemes under NABARD were 24 in numbers at a total estimated cost of Rs. 2717.42 Lakh, to cover a total command area of 3261.58 Ha and benefit 2149 families.
There was no on-going C.A.D.W.M. scheme during 2009-2010. However, recently the Government of India has sanctioned a C.A.D.W.M. scheme for a cluster of 6 (six) M.I. projects at the estimated cost of Rs. 122.25 Lakh.
Regarding the R.M.I.S., the Department has just completed the conduct of the 4th Minor Irrigation Census with reference year 2006-2007. Validation of the data will be done by N.I.C. after which the compiled data will be submitted to Government of India.