Pakistan is an agricultural country, and depends for its food supply entirely on rainfall, but as this is never certain, artificial irrigation has always been practised from very old times. Wells are dug, but besides wells, canals from great rivers have also been dug since very ancient times. We read of an extensive canal system in the time of Mughal Kings. During Mughal times, there were canals, but the most elaborate system of canals has come into existence under the British Government.
The canal system in the Punjab is the most extensive and the most magnificent and is a wonder of engineering skill in the whole world. From all the five principal rivers in Punjab, canals have been excavated, which irrigate thousands of acres of land. Waste lands have been brought under cultivation. Faisalabad and Sargodha hear witness to the beneficial results of canals. These places are thriving now, while only a few years ago, they were desolate places, full of wild animals and useless brushwood. Crores have been spent on these canals, but no money has ever been better spent. “Dreary deserts have been converted into blooming gardens.’ These canals have added to the material prosperity of the people, and developed the economic resources of the country.
Large schemes are still in hand, and desert District of Sahiwal and the State of Bahawalpur will soon be irrigated by the canal which is under construction. There are two kinds of canals. Perennial canals are full of water throughout the year. They are drawn from rivers which are fed from snow in the Himalayas. Inundation canals are those which take off the surplus water of rivers during the rainy season, when they are in flood. This flood water is not allowed to run to waste, but is turned into channels where it may irrigate land. This harnessing of the forces of nature to the service of man is indeed a very wonderful triumph of human ingenuity and skill. The canals are really a great blessing to the people of Punjab.