Karanataka KBJNL Irrigation Automation Project Inauguration

India demonstrates how canal modernisation is revolutionising irrigated agriculture for the future prosperity of the region

Thousands watch as the Prime Minister of India Inaugurates the world's largest canal irrigation automation project


A huge crowd showed its delight recently when India’s Honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, inaugurated one of the world’s largest canal irrigation modernisation projects.

The hundred of thousands were in attendance and millions around the nation simultaneously watched  in January as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai, introduced the NLBC Automation project, summarising that for the first time, farmers across the entire 400,000ha area are receiving irrigation water through the Rubicon automated canal system. 

The Chief Minister said that with equitable distribution and better water management, the Rubicon TCC will provide adequate water to farmers so that they can grow several crops a year and increase yields. Modernization of the system has already increased network efficiency by 20% and this number will increase as the project progresses.

The scope of the project included the installation of more than 4,200 solar-powered Rubicon Water flow control gates that are interconnected via a captive radio communication network to control the delivery of water to farmers located along approximately 3,000 kilometres of surface irrigation canals. The automated system designed by Rubicon is responsible for accurately distributing water to approximately 4,000 square kilometres of farmland.

The Honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi then stood in front of the stage to perform the official inauguration of the Canal Automation project. On the unveiling of the inaugural plaque the gates were activated and placed into automated operation amid happy cheers.

 Modi addressed the audience with an energetic welcome note followed by dedicating the project to the people of India outlining that “Like national security, border security, coastal security, and internal security, India needs to end the challenges of water security for the development of India in the 21st century.”

Modi went on to directly reference the early project benefits by stating “Water is being supplied to drought affected areas by developing and expanding the Narayanpur Left Bank Canal system. Now, the new system with the integrated technology will help to bring  400,000 hectares under irrigation – promoting the capability to grow more crops per drop. Farmers at the end of the canal, enough water will now come to you for a long time.” said Prime Minister Modi as the excitement of the event rippled its way through the crowd consisting of Indian ministers, civil dignitaries, farmers and more.

The India project demonstrates the massive scalability of Rubicon Water’s Total Channel Control (TCC™️). The advanced automation technology was developed  by Rubicon Water and Research Partner, the University of Melbourne.

The project in India was delivered in collaboration with Joint Venture partner Medha Servo Drives. In 2019, Rubicon Water and Medha established a dedicated manufacturing facility located in Hyderabad to meet the demands of the expanding market in India and worldwide. The local manufacturing facility is committed to supporting the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Rubicon Water’s General Manager for India, Sumith Choy said: “The Indian inauguration is exciting for the whole world as well as for Rubicon here in the USA. The NLBC system is now a world class reference site for what Rubicon’s technology can achieve, as Rubicon pursues the broader India market, which totals more than 60 million hectares”

“The project has already delivered benefits, with farmers at the end of the almost 3,000 km canal system receiving water for the first time in decades. Farmers have also reported increases in crop yields by up to 50%, due to the ability to specify when their crop needs water.

“The serviceability and equitability of water to farmers through the extensive network is expected to increase as the automated capabilities of the network continue to be introduced” Mr Choy said.

As the world looks for solutions in addressing water shortages and the challenges of climate change, the Rubicon technology is increasingly becoming part of the answer.

The extensive NLBC Automation project in the Indian State of Karnataka demonstrates how technology is not only reducing the impacts of water scarcity but also helping to improve the lives of thousands of farmers.

Automated Irrigation Control Gates Managing Water Flow in India