This article is a systematic documentation and analysis of events that motivated development of irrigation in Madras Presidency in general and Krishna district in particular. In Krishna district, when the anicut was built in 1855, the phase-wise excavation of canals determined the phases of development of irrigation (1855-1900; 1900-1965 and 1965-2001) leading to three agro-climatic regions in the district viz., delta, moderate and dry regions (taluks).