Irrigation is the process of applying water to the crops artificially to fulfill their water requirements. The various sources of water for irrigation are Wells, Ponds, Lakes, Canals, Tube-wells, and Dams. It offers moisture required for growth and development, germination, and other related functions.
Water moistens the soil and thus helps in penetration of roots even into the dry field. The frequency, rate, amount and time of irrigation are different for different crops and also vary according to the types of soil and seasons.
Types of Irrigation
- Surface Irrigation: In this system no pump is involved. Here, Water is distributed across the land by gravity.
- Localized irrigation: In this system, water is applied to each plant through a network of pipes under low pressure.
- Sprinkler irrigation: Water is distributed from a central location by overhead high-pressure sprinklers or from sprinklers from the moving platform.
- Drip Irrigation: In this type, drops of water are delivered near the roots of the plants. This type is rarely used as it requires more maintenance and Expensive.
- Centre Pivot Irrigation: In this, the water is distributed by a sprinkler system moving in a circular pattern.
- Sub-irrigation: Water is distributed through a system of pumping stations gates, ditches and canals by raising the water table.
- Manual Irrigation: This a labour intensive and time-consuming system of irrigation. Here, the water is distributed through watering cans by manual labour.
Methods of Irrigation
Methods can be divided in to two different methods:
- Traditional Methods
- Modern Methods
Here water pulls out from wells or canals by himself or using cattle and carries to farming fields. This method can vary in different regions. The main advantage of this method is that it is cheap. But its efficiency is poor because of the uneven distribution of water. Also, the chances of water loss are very high.
- Sprinkler System: A sprinkler system, as its name suggests, sprinkles water over the crop and helps in an even distribution of water. This method is much advisable in areas facing water scarcity. Here a pump is connected to pipes which generate pressure and water is sprinkled through nozzles of pipes.
- Drip System: In Drip system, water supply is done drop by drop exactly at roots using a hose or pipe. This method can also be used in regions where water availability is less.
Importance of Irrigation
- The water transports nutrients to all parts of the plant, enabling growth and photosynthesis.
- It provides the moisture that is crucial during the germination phase of the plant’s life cycle.
- It also makes the soil more fertile by adding moisture to it and easier to plough.
- Availability of water resource Increase in crop yield leads to an increase in food production, thus developing people as well as society
- When the regular supply of water is assured, the farmers can grow certain superior or high priced crops in place of inferior or low priced crops. As a result, revenue is generated.