What is Irrigation ? Advantages and disadvantages

What is Irrigation ?

Irrigation is the method in which controlled quantities of water are supplied to plants at regular intervals for agriculture. It is used to assist in the development of agricultural crops, during maintenance, landslides in arid areas, and re-vegetation in dry areas during insufficient rainfall.

Necessity of water

Water is necessary for plant growth and maturity. The water became necessary for plant growth in the following cases. If rainfall is less than demand of plants, irrigation is necessary to fulfill the water requirement of plants.

Advantages and disadvantages of Irrigation System

Advantages of Irrigation:

  1. For proper nourishment of crops certain amount of water is required. If rainfall is insufficient there will be deficiency in fulfillment of water requirement. Irrigation tries to remove this deficiency caused due to inadequate rainfall.
  2. Irrigation improves the yield of crops and makes people prosperous. The living standards of the people are thereby improved.
  3. Irrigation adds to the wealth of the country in two ways. First, the production of bumper crops is due to irrigation, which makes the country self-sufficient in food requirements. Secondly as the irrigation water is taxed when it is supplied to the cultivators, it adds to the revenue.
  4. Irrigation makes it possible to grow cash crops, which gives farmers a better advantage than normal crops grown in the absence of irrigation. Fruit orchards, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco etc. are cash crops.
  5. Sometimes large irrigation channels can be used as communication system.
  6. The falls in irrigation channels can be used for hydroelectric production.
  7. Domestic advantages should not be overlooked. Irrigation provides facilities for bathing, feeding of cattle, etc., and better communication of fresh water.
  8. Irrigation improves the groundwater storage as water lost due to seepage ads to the groundwater storage.
  9. Plantation can be successfully carried out at the edge of large irrigation channels which not only helps to initiate social forestry but also improves the environmental condition of the region.
  10. New irrigation works are started at the time of famines to provide employment to a large number of populations.
  11. When water is provided in the wastelands, the value of this land is appreciated.

Disadvantages of Irrigation

  1. 1. Excessive leakage and leakage of water creates marshes and ponds along the channels. Over time, marshes and ponds become colonies of mosquitoes, which give rise to diseases such as malaria.
  2. Excessive seepage in the ground elevates the water level and this in turn saturates the root zone of the crop. This causes waterlogging of that area.
  3. This lowers the temperature and makes the area moist due to the presence of irrigation water.
  4. Valuable residential and industrial land is lost under the irrigation canal system.
  5. The initial cost of the irrigation project is very high and the cultivators have to pay more tax in the form of rent.
  6. Irrigation works become a hindrance in the way of free drainage of water during the rainy season and thus submerge standing crops and even villages.

Types and methods Irrigation

  1. Surface irrigation Localized irrigation.
  2. Drip irrigation.
  3. Sprinkler irrigation.
  4. Center pivot irrigation.
  5. Lateral move irrigation.
  6. Sub-irrigation.

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