The Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act (2003) aims to consolidate and amend the laws relating to construction of irrigation works, conservation and distribution of water for the purpose of irrigation and levy of betterment contribution and water cess on lands benefited by irrigation works and to provide for involvement of farmers in water utilisation system.
As per this act the water courses and the water in them are to be Government property and it shall be entitled to conserve and regulate its use and that of the water in them for the purposes of irrigation and the generation of electricity.
The act states that no person or agency shall abstract water from a water course by installation of any mechanical or electrical device, the capacity of which, in the aggregate, is more than 5 HP, or any hose, pipe or other similar device.
The act also deals with regulation on construction of reservoirs/anicut, regulation on diversion of rivers, inter-basin transfer of water, prohibition of quarrying of sand in water courses. The act has sections on –
- Construction of irrigation works and their classification;
- Construction and maintenance of field channels;
- Issue of certificates and levy of water cess;
- Obtaining materials in emergencies;
- Regulation of water supply for irrigation;
- Execution of works by joint labour;
- Safeguards for irrigation works;
- Betterment contribution;
- Participatory Irrigation Management
- Constitution of Dam Safety Authority