Methods of Irrigation
Booklet No. 57
Irrigation and Drainage: IDS - 15
Characteristics of an Efficient Irrigation Method
Factors Affecting Suitability of Irrigation Method
Methods of Irrigation
A. Surface irrigation
B. Sub-surface irrigation
C. Sprinkler irrigation
D. Localized irrigation
Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation in India: Constraints
Adverse Effect of Improper Irrigation
Cultural Practices to Increase Water Use Efficiency in India
Water though precious, is one of the scarce resources required for food grain production in our country. Every care should be taken to utilize this resource efficiently. Selection of an appropriate method of irrigation based on crop and soil type is a prerequisite for efficient utilization of water. It also helps in enhancing and sustaining soil productivity in the long run. Various methods of irrigation have been comprehensively discussed in this booklet. Characters of an efficient method of irrigation, factors affecting the suitability of an irrigation method and cultural practices for increasing water use efficiency have also been briefly highlighted.
Dr. K. T. Chandy, Agricultural & Environmental Education,
Water is an important constituent of the plant body. Plants need water to carry on different physiological processes essential to their growth and development. A great deal of water from plant body is wasted through the process of transpiration. Therefore, to compensate this loss of water, absorption of water from soil is an important phenomenon. Soil gets water mainly from two sources viz. precipitation and irrigation.
Hence, irrigation is a process, other than natural precipitation, which supplies water to crops, orchards, grass, or any other cultivated . plants. In the wetter parts of the world where rainfed cultivation is practiced, the farmer's activities consist of selecting suitable land, preparing the soil for cultivation; sowing, tending and harvesting the crops. Natural rainfall provides the water needed. But in many other places otherwise favourable for cultivation, natural rainfall does not provide all the water needed and, as such, irrigation of crops is required to make up this deficiency.
Techniques adopted for carrying water from its source to the crop are called methods or modes of application. These are:
1. flooding -wetting all the land surface;
2. furrows -wetting only certain part of ground level;
3. sprinkler -in which the soil is wetted in much the same way as rains; 4. sub-surface irrigation -in which surface is wetted very lightly, but the sub soil is fully saturated; and 5. localized irrigation -in which water is applied at each individual plant at. a near daily rate.
II. Characteristics of an Efficient Irrigation Method
An efficient method of irrigation should fulfill five major objectives viz. (1) distribution of water uniformly over the field according to crop need, (2) storage of maximum fraction of water in the root zone for plant use, (3) crop growth should not be adversely affected, (4) soil transport or loss is negligible, and (5) the technique used is economically sound and adoptable at the farm.
III. Factors Affecting Suitability of Irrigation Method
The selection of a suitable irrigation method for a particular farm location depends upon the following factors.
Textural, crusting, cracking and infiltration characteristics of surface soil; nature and depth of relatively impermeable layers in sub-soil, if any; water storage capacity of root zone; nature and extent of land slope; size of field; surface drainage; nature and extent of salts in surface and sub-soil are the salient soil factors influencing between of an irrigation method. 2. Water
Nature of water supply (continuous or rational). source (pump or...
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