Water is an essential element for survival. About seventy percent of the human body consists of water; plants contain almost 90 percent of water. Still, we depend on outside source of water for various body functions like growth and other metabolic functions; so plant. The process of supplying water for crops is known as irrigation.


Irrigation fulfills the water requirement of crops. The various sources of water for irrigation are wells, ponds, lakes, canals, tube-wells, and even dams. Irrigation 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 soil and seasons. For example, summer crops require a higher rate of water. This can be done by two methods, traditional method, and modern method.


Traditional Method: 

In this method, irrigation is done manually. Here, a farmer pulls out water 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 efficiency is poor because the even distribution of water is not always possible. Also, chances of water loss while carrying is high. Some examples of traditional system are pulley system, lever system, chain pump and dhekli. Among these, the pump system is most common and used widely.

Modern Method:

The modern method compensates disadvantages of traditional methods and thus helps in the proper way of water usage. The modern method involves two systems: Sprinkler system and Drip 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 a pressure and water is sprinkled through nozzles of pipes. 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.

Irrigation should be optimum because even over-irrigation can spoil the crop production. Excess water leads to waterlogging, hinder germination, increased salt concentration and uprooting because roots can’t withstand standing water. Thus the proper method is to be used for best cultivation.

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Practise This Question

Select the major sources of irrigation from the list below.