Irrigation is the process of providing water to the crops artificially to fulfil their water requirements. Along with this irrigation, the nutrients are also supplies to the soil.
Necessary to increase the land under irrigation
It is important to increase the land under irrigation because farming is the main source of income for the maximum part of the population in India. Less than 40 per cent of the land is cultivable in the country. Farmers completely rely on the erratic monsoon season and if the rainfall is less, farmers are bound to suffer a major loss. So if water is provided for irrigation to the farmers for a larger portion of land, it would lead to better output and make more land cultivable in India and also encourage farmers to take up newer farming methods without the fear of suffering a loss.
Dependency of irrigation
Irrigation depends on the nature of the crop and nature of soil.
Nature of the crop
The irrigation requirement depends on the nature of the crop because some of the crops need a lot of water and some of the crops need a very small amount of water. For example, Paddy crop needs a lot of water whereas crops like wheat, gram and cotton, etc., do not require so much water.
Nature of the soil
The irrigation conditions of a crop depend on the nature of the soil in which the crop is grown for the following reasons: If the water-retaining capacity of the soil is higher then there is no requirement for irrigating the soil many times as the soil possess the capacity of holding water for a long time.
Modern methods of irrigation
Modern techniques have been adopted for the irrigation. Drip irrigation and sprinkle irrigation are the two most common methods used by the farmers.
Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation soil has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. Drip irrigation systems distribute water through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters.
Advantages of drip irrigation:
- High availability of water and nutrients
- Doses of water and nutrients tailored to the plant’s development needs
- No saturation and good soil aeration
- Avoids high salinity caused by excessive fertilizer application
- No wetting of foliage that can result in fungal diseases
Sprinkler irrigation is a method of spreading water similar to natural rainfall. Water is distributed through a system of pipelines which is sprayed through the air by rotating sprinklers so that it breaks up into smaller droplets of water as they fall to the ground.
Advantages of sprinkler systems are:
- It is affordable and completely easy to set up.
- Frequent application of water can be supplied to the plants without manual effort
- The water distribution will always be equal
- The amount of water being supplied can be controlled and wastage of water is avoided
- Sprinkler irrigation is suitable for setting up in all types of soil.
- This system can be used for other purposes as well such as cooling during high temperatures