Wetland Conservation

World Heritage Irrigation Structure (WHIS) Sites


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : World Heritage Irrigation Structure (WHIS)

Mains level : Old irrigation systems in India

Four sites in India have received the World Heritage Irrigation Structure (WHIS) tag this year.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The FAO accords the status of ‘Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)’ to traditional agricultural systems. What is the overall goal of this initiative?

  1. To provide modern technology, training in modern farming methods and financial support to local communities of identified GIAHS so as to greatly enhance their agricultural productivity.
  2. To identify and safeguard eco-friendly traditional farm practices and their associated landscapes, agricultural biodiversity and knowledge systems of the local communities.
  3. To provide Geographical Indication status to all the varieties of agricultural produce in such identified GIAHS.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

World Heritage Irrigation Structure (WHIS)

  • The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) annually recognizes irrigation structures of international significance like UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
  • The recognition is aimed at recognizing and tracing the history of and understanding the evolution of irrigation in civilizations across the world.
  • It also aims at understanding the philosophy and wisdom on sustainable irrigation from these structures and to preserve them for posterity.

Criteria for consideration

  • Major criteria for WHIS entail that a structure should be more than 100 years old, should be functional, achieving food security and have archival value.
  • Each site is evaluated based on its merits first by the state government.
  • The proposal is then sent to the Centre and a team from CWC carries out an on-ground survey to verify details.

Which are the Indian sites?

  • The sites are Cumbum Tank, Kurnool-Cuddapah Canal, Porumamilla Tank (Anantharaja Sagaram) in Andhra Pradesh and 490-year-old Dhamapur Lake in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district.
  • In 2018, Pedda Cheru Tank in Kamareddy district and Sadarmat Anicut in Nirmal district, both in Telangana, were named as WHIS sites.

Other sites

  • The rest include Tianbao Weir in China at number one followed by Longshou Canal and ancient Luohe river irrigation district, China.
  • It also includes Zarch and Moon Qanat both in Iran and Tenguiwa, Bizenkyo and Jyosai Gokuchi irrigation systems in Japan with Goseong Dumbeong in the Republic of Korea.

About ICID

  • The ICID, established in 1950 is a leading scientific, technical, international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization.
  • It is a professional network of experts from across the world in the field of irrigation, drainage, and flood management.
  • The main mission is to promote ‘Sustainable agriculture water management’ to achieve ‘Water secure world free of poverty and hunger through sustainable rural development’.
  • ICID mission covers the entire spectrum of agricultural water management practices ranging from rainfed agriculture to supplemental irrigation, land drainage, deficit irrigation to full irrigation, etc.

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