Different Types of Irrigation - Irrigation Systems Storage Vision IAS


Updated on 14 August, 2019

Daily Updates

Different Types of Irrigation & Irrigation Systems Storage

For every country in the world and especially India, agriculture is vital for survival. The practice includes growing up of crops and for this, there is always a need for abundant water for irrigation purpose. Irrigation is a process of arrangement of the artificial application of water to the field (land or soil). Simply put, irrigation is a basic infrastructure and an essential input required for agriculture. Apart from crop production, irrigation has many applications such as:
  • Protecting grain fields from weed growth
  • Safeguarding plants against frost
  • Protecting soil consolidation (the process by which soils decrease in volume)
  • Maintenance of landscape
IRRIGATION IN INDIA: Water scenario is now fast changing as an outcome of increasing population, rising demand for irrigation to raise high-yielding varieties of crops, industrialization, electricity generation, rapid urbanization, the impact of global warming and erratic rainfall.
  • India is home to 15% of the world’s population but has only 4% of the world’s freshwater resources.
  • India has the largest irrigated area in the world, where about 85% of total irrigation potential (139.90 million hectares) has already been created.
  • Currently, the agricultural sector consumes about 80% of the water in the country.
  • Moreover, the country uses 2-3 times more water than major agricultural countries such as China, Brazil, and the USA to produce one unit of food crop.
  • Irrigation by wells is present in India from the time immemorial.
  • In 1950-51, there were around five million wells and now, their number has been increased to about 12 million.
  • Uttar Pradesh has the largest area of land under good irrigation, followed by Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Karnataka.
Tube wells:
  • Tube wells are deeper well from which water is lifted through pumping set operated by an electric motor or a diesel engine.
  • Tamil Nadu with around 11 lakh tube wells has the largest number in the country followed by Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, and Haryana.
  • They are commonly used in Andhra Pradesh, Deccan Plateau, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Irrigation through tanks offers a host of benefits such as providing drinking water for rural communities and livestock, replenishing groundwater levels, conserving top-soil and others.
  • Since Independence, tank water irrigation has declined in the country due to various reasons.
  • In India, canals are the main source of irrigation. Canals are big water sources or channels derived from rivers to provide water to places far away from the river. They are of two types:
    • Inundation canals: Canals taken out from rivers without any regulating system
    • Perennial canals: Canals taking off from perennial rivers with a weir system to regulate the flow of water
CHOOSING A SMART WAY: Smart irrigation systems such as drip, sprinklers and efficient water management should be made a priority and allocated across the country where needed.
  • Drip irrigation: In this type of irrigation, a precise amount of water is applied in the form of water droplets at frequent intervals through perforations in plastic pipes or through nozzles attached to tubes. This form is ideally suited for horticulture crops such as amla, grapes, coconut, mango, banana, guava, pomegranate and cash crops such as sugarcane.
  • Huge water financial savings
  • No evaporation, no wastage of water plus energy saving
  • Less dependency on weather
  • 100% usage of land as it irrigates uniformly in any topography
  • Sprinklers: These are small plastic sprinklers, which rotate with water pressure and sprinkle the water in the field.
  • Uniform water distribution leading to high efficiency
  • No need for expansive land leveling
  • Easy application
  • Possibility of making use of a minute amount of water for germination
  • Sub-surface irrigation: In this method, a community of polyethylene pipes is positioned just beneath the floor’s surface to use disinfected effluent inside the root area of plants, preventing airborne drift and declining runoff.
  • Declines soil compaction
  • Capability to lessen the prevalence of soil-borne illnesses
  • assist manipulate weed infestation
  • Good life expectancy of the system.
  • Natural Resources Degradation: Degradation of natural resources is emerging a global threat. The problem of land degradation in the rainfed or dry-land areas is expected to proceed at more than twice the rate.
  • Decrease in per capita Arable Land Area: The prime agricultural land in the country is being converted to industrial, urban, recreational and other non-agricultural uses.
    • Solution: In view of the shrinking arable land resource, identifying and implementing strategies of restoration of degraded soils and intensification of existing prime agricultural land is important.
  • Lack of irrigation: Agriculture is subject to the vagaries of monsoon in the country. As per World Bank, only 35% of India’s agricultural land is irrigated (artificial application of water to land or soil). The remaining 65% of farming is rain-dependent, most of which takes place over just a few summer months.
    • Solution: New technology and better farm management can be deployed to improve irrigation systems.
  • Overexploitation of groundwater: Another major issue is overexploitation of groundwater, which is a major concern in states of Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, etc. Alarmingly, the groundwater level has been going down in almost all parts of the country.
  • Currently, India is the largest user of groundwater in the world, extracting groundwater to the tune of 253 cm per year, about 25% of the global groundwater extraction.
    • Solution: Watershed management can be a useful technology for effectively recharging the groundwater by water and soil conservation methods.
  • Droughts: Droughts connotes a situation of water shortage for human and agricultural consumption, which results in economic losses.
    • Solution: The situation calls for evolving an overall policy framework that can provide adequate incentive and opportunities for soil and moisture conservation.
  • Desertification: Increasing desertification of India's soil, is a fundamental threat to every activity of agriculture.
    • Solution: The government needs to formulate an appropriate strategy for desertification control and involve natural resource planning at the watershed level through a watershed management program. India is committed to combat desertification and land degradation and the country intends to achieve land degradation neutral status by the year 2030.
  • Deforestation: The global annual rate of deforestation is estimated at 12.37 Mha or 0.82%/yr. India has 24 percent of land under forest as against the desired 33 % of National Forest Policy of 1988. A large part of these forests is degraded and productivity is very poor.
    • Solution: In the case of deforestation, watershed management can help in planning for judicious management of forest ecosystems, and in the restoration of degraded soils.
Per capita Water Availability Status
< 1700 cubic meters Water stress
< 1000 cubic meters Water scarcity
< 500 cubic meters Absolute scarcity
  • Water Scarcity: Water crisis is usually viewed in terms of an increasing imbalance between water supply and demand.
  • At present, India is suffering from "the worst water crisis in its history", placing millions of lives and livelihoods under threat.
  • According to the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas released by the World Resources Institute (WRI), India is at 13th position among the world's 17 ‘extremely water-stressed’ countries.
  • A region is said to be under ‘water stress’ when the demand for water exceeds the available volume or when poor quality restricts use.
  • Solution: Watershed based management practices can effectively address the problem of water scarcity to a major extent.
  • Launched in 2015 with the motto of “Har Khet Ko Paani”, the scheme aims to provide end-to-end solutions in the irrigation supply chain (water sources, distribution network and, farm-level applications).
  • The scheme focuses on creating sources for assured irrigation and protective irrigation by harnessing rainwater at micro level through ‘Jal Sanchay’ and ‘Jal Sinchan’.
  • One of the most crucial components of the initiative is “Per Drop More Crop”. It focuses on micro-irrigation systems (sprinkler, drip, pivots, rain-guns, etc.) to promote precision farming by making water available in a targeted manner to the root zone of crops.
Micro Irrigation Fund:
  • The Government has created a dedicated Micro Irrigation Fund with NABARD.
  • This fund aims to facilitate the States in order to mobilize the resources for expanding coverage of Micro Irrigation in the country.
Rainfed Area Development Programme (RADP):
  • Rainfed Area Development Programme (RADP) is an initiative which aims to increase agricultural productivity of rainfed areas in a sustainable manner by adopting appropriate farming system-based approaches.
JAL SHAKTI MINISTRY: Recently, the government created the Jal Shakti Ministry s to provide access to safe drinking water by reorganizing the earlier ministries:
  • Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation
  • Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation
  • The Ministry will focus on ensuring clean water for people and irrigation water facilities for farmers in the country.
Considering the rising water scarcity and depleting groundwater resources, there is a significant need for an appropriate irrigation system. Though the government has started various policies and programs to improve irrigation, more innovative policies are needed to be tailored to directly improve efficiency, boost productivity and minimize the environmental impact on farming. Everything said and done, the ultimate success of agriculture in any country of the world entirely depends on appropriate irrigation structure. QUESTIONS ASKED BY UPSC Q: Which of the following is/are the advantage/advantages of practicing drip irrigation?
  1. reduction of weed
  2. reduction in soil salinity
  3. reduction in soil erosion
Select the correct answer using the code is given below:-
  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. None of the above is an advantage of practicing drip irrigation
Answer: C

Categories : ,
Read Also
(Answer Synopsis): Current Affairs Based Mains Drill - 25 January 2020
(Answer Synopsis): Current Affairs Based Mains Drill - 24 January 2020
Daily News Prescription - 27 January 2020
Current Affairs Based Mains Drill – 27 January 2020