The Water Resources Department (formerly known as Irrigation Department) came into existence in the year 1960 after the bifurcation of old Bombay State into Maharashtra and Gujrat. The yearly rainfall in the State varies from 400 to 6000 mm, The average rainfall for the State as a whole is 1067mm, and a significant portion of the rain is received during the monsoon (June to September). And most of the rainfall occurs in just 40 to 100 days. In recent times, Maharashtra state has been pioneering in Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM). There are successful examples of WUA in various parts of the State. At present, for irrigation purposes, 79 major, 249 medium, and 3004 minor irrigation projects have been completed by the Department.
The planning and development of irrigation facilities in the State are entrusted to the Department (WRD) and Rural Development & Water Conservation Department. Participation of water users’ organisations (WUA) is being evoked in irrigation management under the current Government policy. To empower the users and provide justice to tail-enders and weaker sections of society, Government of Maharashtra enacted a stand-alone act for WUA called the MMISF-Act 2005. With the formation of WUAs and the transfer of irrigation management to users, the Water Resources Department’s job has become a facilitator. This is a significant breakthrough in water resources management, where users are adequately empowered.