Canal irrigation is the most important form of irrigation in India. It is cheaper. About half of 165.97 lakh hectare land was irrigated by canals during 2008-09 from which half of irrigated land concentrated in the Northern plain. If we calculate it statewise, then 91.72 % of irrigated area in Jammu & Kashmir, 66.24 % in Chhattisgarh, 64.7 % in Odisha, 44.28% in Haryana and 34.63 % in Andhra Pradesh is irrigated by canals. The maximum part of the total irrigated area of the country by canals is in Uttar Pradesh. Other major states where irrigation is done by canals are Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Bihar. There are two types of Canal which is discussed below:
• Inundation Canals: They are taken out from the rivers and do not have any kind of weir at their head to regulate the flow of water from the river. These types of Canals are found on the Sutlej-Ganga plains and Brahmaputra valley.
• Perennial Canals: These canals maintain its flow of water throughout the year even during winter season and draw their water either from rivers or from reservoir of the river projects. A weir is built below the intake of the canal, the intake itself being regulated by sluice gates.
• Sahind Canal: It irrigates the areas of Punjab and Haryana.
• Indira Gandhi Canal: It irrigates the districts of Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
• Triveni Canal: It irrigates the land in Bihar.
• Sarda Canal: It irrigates the land in Uttar Pradesh.
• Eden Canal: It has been taken out from the river Damodar in West Bengal.
• Tilpara Dam Canal: It irrigates the areas of West Bengal.
• Mutha Canal: It has been taken out from the river Mutha near Khadagwasala (Pune) in Maharashtra.
• Sampad Sagar Canal: It irrigates the areas of Andhra Pradesh.
• Anicut Canal: This is taken out from the Kaveri River which is one of the oldest canals of India.