Warabandi system of water management

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 15:19
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Warabandi system of water management


WARABANDI is a rotational method for equitable distribution of the available water in an irrigation system by turns fixed according to a predetermined schedule specifying year, day, time and duration of supply to each irrigator in proportion to the size of his landholding in the outlet command.

The term WARABANDI means turns (Wahr) which are fixed (bandi).

The cycle begins at the head and proceeds to the tail of the water course, and during each turn, the farmer has the right to use all of the water flowing in the water course. A central irrigation agency manages the primary main canal system and its secondary level distributary and minor canals and delivers water at the head of the tertiary level water course through an outlet popularly known as a mogha which is designed to provide a quantity of water proportional to the Culturable Command Area of the water course.


The warabandi system in Pakistan includes the following functions and characteristics among other things:

  • The main canal distributing points operate at supply levels that would allow distributory canals to operate at no less than 75 percent of full supply level.
  • Only authorized outlets draw their allotted share of water from the distributary at the same time.
  • Outlets are ungated and deliver a flow of water proportional to the area command.


Today, two types of warabandi are frequently mentioned in Pakistan.

The warabandi which has been decided by the farmers solely on their mutual agreement, without formal involvement of any government agency is known as kachcha ( ordinary or unregulated) warabandi.


The warabandi decided after field investigation and public inquiry by the irrigation department when disputes occurred and issued in officially recognized warabandi schedules, is called pucca warabandi.


As an integrated water management system, warabandi is expected to achieve two main


  • High efficiency
  • Equity in water use 


  • — Since independence, the system has been deteriorating due to the lack of maintenance, corruption and mismanagement.
  • Majority of the budget devoted to water management system goes to the huge administrative structure while only a small portion is used to maintain and repair it.
  • As a result the system is unable to hold the needs of today’s    irrigation needs for a fast growing population.
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