Canals account for 27.6 per cent of the net irrigated area of the state, most of which lies in the Ganga-Yamuna doab, Ganga-Ghaghara doab and western part of Bundelkhand region (Fig. 14.5). The total length of canals is about 50,000 km which provides irrigation to about 70 lakh hectares of the cropped area. Main canal systems are as follows-
1. Upper Ganga Canal-it takes off from the Ganga river at Kankhal (Hardwar). The digging of the canal started in 1842 and it was completed in 1854. The main canal is 342 km long, while along with the distributaries it is 5,640 km. The canal passes through a broken country so that at some places it is taken over the bridges and at others below the bridges over its first 32 km. It irrigates about 7 lakh hectares of agricultural land in Kanpur, Etah, Muzaffarpur, Meerut, Mathura, Saharanpur, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, Mainpuri and Farrukhabad districts. It merges with the Lower Ganga canal. The main branches of canal are the Anupshahar, the Deoband, the Hathras, and the Matta.
2. Lower Ganga Canal-it draws its water from the Ganga River at Narora (Bulandshahar). It was completed in 1878. The length of main canal is about 100 km, while with distributaries the length increases up to 6,174 km. It provides irrigation to about 4.8 lakh hectares of agricultural area in Bulandshahar. Aligarh, Etah, Mainpuri, Etawah, Farrukhabad, Kanpur, Fatehpurand Kaushambi districts. Its main branches include: the Etawah, the Kanpur and the Fatehpur. It joins Upper Ganga canal near Kasganj.
3. Eastern Yamuna Canal-It has been taken out from the Yamuna river at Fyzabad (Saharanpur). The canal was originally constructed by the Mughal emperor Shahjehan and was renovated by the British. The main canal with its distributaries is 1,440 km long. It irrigates about 2 lakh hectares of area in Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Meerut districts in Uttar Pradesh and Union territory of Delhi.
4. Agra Canal-it was dug in 1875. The canal takes its water from the Yamuna River at Okhla. Its total length is about 1,600 km. It irrigates about 1.5 lakh hectares of land in Agra, Mathura and Ghaziabad districts of Uttar Pradesh; Gurgaon district of Haryana; Bharatpur district of Rajasthan; and the union territory of Delhi.
5. Sarda Canal-it takes off from the Sarda River at Banbasa (Nainital). It was completed in 1926. The length of canal along with distributaries is 12,368 km. It irrigates about 8 lakh hectares of land in the districts of Shahjahanpur, Barabanki, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Kheri, Hardoi, Lucknow, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, and Allahabad districts. Its main branches arc Deva, Bisalpur, Nigohi, Kheri, Sitapur, Lucknow and Hardoi. Another canal Sarda Sahayak takes off from the Sardasagar about 20 km below the Sarda canal headworks near Indo-Nepal border and augmcts the supply in the Sarda Canal. It irrigates about 7.5 lakh hectares of land in Jaunpur, Azamgarh and Ballia districts. The canal was completed during the Third Plan Period.
6. Ramganga Canal-the canal has been partly completed. It takes its origin from the Ramganga River near Kalagarh (Garhwal). It will irrigate 6.59 lakh hectares of agricultural land in the Rohilkhand Plains (west central Uttar Pradesh).
7. Betwa Canal-it takes off from river Betwa at Paricha, 24 km away from Jhansi. It was completed in 1886. It irrigates about 83,000 hectares of land in Jhansi, Jalaun and Hamirpur districts. Its main branches are the Hamirpur and the Kathauna branch.
8. Ken Canal-it is taken out from the Ken River at Gangau (near Panna). Its total length is 640 km. It irrigates about 96,000 hectares of land in Banda (Uttar Pradesh), and Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh) districts.
9. Matatila Canals-Matatila barrage (height 36.5 m; length 713 m) has been constructed across the Betwa river from which two canals (Gursarai and Mandir) are taken out which irrigate about 1.6 lakh hectares of agricultural land in Lalitpur, Jhansi,
Hamirpur, Jalaun (Uttar Pradesh) Bhind, Gwalior, Datia (Madhya Pradesh) districts.
10. Rihand Project Canal-these canals have been taken out from the Rihand River at Pipri from the barrage of Rihand and are providing irrigation facilities to 16 lakh hectares of land belonging to the eastern Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
11. Dhasan Canal-it takes off from the Dhasan River (tributary of the Yamuna) and provides irrigation to a part of the Bundelkhand area.
12. Middle Ganga Canal-it takes off from a barrage over the Ganga River in Bijnor district. The main canal is 115 km long which will be linked to the Upper Ganga Canal. It will irrigate 1.78 lakh hectares of land in the trans-Ganga area of the Upper Ganga Plain.
Others: These include the Nayar barrage canal, the Tehri Dam canals, Tanda, Dalmau, Bhopauli, Doharighat, Belan pump canals and various small canals belonging toTumaria, Khoh, Baur, Rampura, Lalitpur dams and Kotari project.