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Modern Methods of Irrigation

An Introduction

The process of artificially watering land that does not receive enough rainfall is known as irrigation. It's also the technique of artificially applying water to the soil through tubes, pumps, and sprays. Irrigation is frequently used in areas where rainfall is unreliable or where dry spells or drought are expected. Water is evenly dispersed across the entire field using a variety of irrigation techniques. Irrigation water can come from a variety of sources, including groundwater via springs or wells, surface water via rivers, lakes, or reservoirs, and even treated wastewater or desalinated water.


Methods of Irrigation

There are two methods for irrigating:

  • Traditional Methods

  • Modern Methods

Here we’ll discuss the modern methods of irrigation

The methods of irrigation can be divided into four main types. These include 

  1. Surface irrigation, 

  2. Sprinkler, 

  3. Drip, and 

  4. Subsurface.

These modern irrigation techniques have been discussed in detail below – 


Surface Irrigation 

It is one of the most common methods of irrigation. Here water is applied to the soil with the help of gravity. Since the distribution of water is not regulated, surface irrigation is also known as flood irrigation. 


This irrigation system is further classified into three other types of modern methods of irrigation. These are as follows – 

  1. Furrow – in the case of furrow irrigation, water is made to flow through shallow channels which are evenly spaced out and at a slope to the field. The water in these shallow channels is supplied through a variety of ways such as siphon, main ditch, gated pipe, etc.

Inflow rate, soil infiltration, slope and shape of furrows, and surface roughness determine the speed of the water. It requires less capital investment, but it is one of the most labor-intensive methods of irrigation.

  1. Basin and Border Irrigation– Both of these techniques involve water running through the soil. However, in basin irrigation, water is supplied to a field which may result in ponding for a while. on the other hand, water is made to flow through ditches running through the ground with a drainage system at the end.


Sprinkler System  

In this method revolving nozzles attached to pipelines, water droplets are sprayed or sprinkled across the landscape like raindrops. The pipelines are joined perpendicular to a field-installed main pipeline. Sprinkler irrigation allows you to irrigate areas that are too irregular to be irrigated with conventional methods. Some benefits of this system are as follows.

  • It's great for sandy soil and rough terrain.

  • Plants/crops are protected from harsh colds or temperatures.

  • A sprinkler system can be used to apply fertilizer and pesticides.

  • It aids with soil conservation.


Drip System  

Water flows through narrow pipelines buried in the ground and drips through small holes (emitters) near plant roots. The plant is nourished by the water absorbed by the roots. With this strategy, there is no water waste because less water is lost to evaporation, runoff, and wind. Some benefits of this system are:

  • Water is conserved through optimizing soil moisture.

  • For plant health, direct watering of plant roots is necessary.

  • Weed development is inhibited because water is supplied directly to plants rather than being distributed throughout the field. 

  • Bacterial growth is minimized since the space around the plants is dry.


Importance of Irrigation

  1. Making Up for when there isn't Any Rain- When there isn't enough rain or there's no way of knowing when it will rain, irrigation is activated. Without rain or irrigation as an alternative, crops suffer, perhaps resulting in a food deficit or crop/plant failure.

  2. Increasing the Amount of Land that Can be Cultivated or Used for Agriculture- Some regions of the planet are naturally dry. The key to turning these plains into cultivable ones was irrigation. Irrigated cropland now accounts for roughly 18% of all cropland on the planet. Irrigation is also responsible for making the most of fallow areas, which are left idle after harvest until the next farming season.

  3. Productivity Improvements- When rainfall is insufficient, irrigation is used by default and in many cases. It can, however, be used at any time, even if there is enough rain to increase agricultural productivity.

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FAQs on Modern Methods of Irrigation

1. Suggest some ways through which farmers can improve their efficiency?

Farmers can improve their efficiency by doing the following:

  • Leveling of Fields: Flood irrigation relies on gravity to convey water, and because the water flows downwards, any area of the field that is on a slope, no matter how small, will be missed. Farmers use leveling machinery to scrape a field flat before planting, some of which are guided by a laser beam.

  • Capture and Reuse of Runoff: Because it rushes off the borders and rear of the fields, a considerable amount of flood-irrigation water is wasted. Farmers can collect runoff in ponds and pump water back up to the front of the field for reuse in the following irrigation cycle.

2. What is the purpose of irrigation?

Whatever irrigation system is used, the goal is to produce a better crop with a higher yield. As a result, adequate design, building, and irrigation practices are critical. Maintenance, or the ongoing maintenance of a system to keep it running as efficiently as possible, is frequently overlooked. This invariably leads to decreased irrigation efficiency (see also Volume 4) and, as a result, less irrigation benefit.

3. What are the advantages of Sprinkler Irrigation?

Advantages of the Sprinkler Irrigation are as follows:

  • There is no soil erosion.

  • Fertilizers are employed cost-effectively since they can be injected through the water.

  • Water can be applied uniformly and in a controlled manner for light irrigation in nurseries and other applications.

  • This procedure is organic and beneficial during the sowing stage.

  • This procedure can be applied to any field.

  • Water conservation is excellent.

4. What are the main benefits of drip irrigation?

The main benefits of drip irrigation are following:

  • It aids in the most efficient use of irrigation water by lowering percolation and evaporation losses on the one hand and keeping adequate water content in the root zone of plants on the other.

  • There is no risk of the land becoming wet and thus saline or alkaline.

  • Crop yield has increased significantly.

  • It enables cash crops to be grown.

  • Due to a lack of extra water, the fields do not become overrun with weeds and pests.

  • It aids in the efficient use of fertilizers by allowing them to be applied in conjunction with irrigation water.

5. What is the most effective watering method?

The type of irrigation management that is appropriate for you may be determined by the specifics of what you require as well as the peculiarities of your site. However, drip irrigation appears to be one of the most efficient forms of irrigation systems, with percentages of applied and lost water ratings of 80-90 percent in connection with meeting crop water needs. It's critical to consult a professional about irrigation management and any issues that may arise on your specific property to guarantee that the best strategy is used for you.

6. What are the modern methods of irrigation?

The irrigation techniques that are extensively used nowadays are known as the modern methods of irrigation.

7. Give the list of modern methods of irrigation.

The modern methods of irrigation include – surface irrigation, drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, subsurface irrigation.

8. Name modern methods of irrigation under surface irrigation.

The modern methods of irrigation under surface irrigation are furrow, basin, and border.


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