Irrigation can be defined as the science of planning and designing the supply of water for the crops and protecting them from adverse effects of weather.
In another simpler words, it is the process of application of water by artificial means like canals, dams, etc to soil for the growth of agricultural crops.
Need of irrigation –
This doubt can be cleared by very simple reason. We all know that rainwater is the only source of surface water. The rain is not uniform in all regions of land. It varies irrelevantly. And thus the surface water is not supplied in every region. So, the excess water is stored at some places and conveyed to the regions of lesser rain, where the water requirement is more. This technique of routing water for utilization is called irrigation.
There are different methods for irrigation by which the needs of crops can be fulfilled and the wastage also can be optimized. To achieve the optimization of water use we need to know the factors affecting irrigation and crop requirement. Enlisting the factors affecting irrigation, list will include water requirement of crops, knowledge of moisture required to be kept for crops, water retaining capacity of soil and other properties of soil.
Advantages of Irrigation –
Irrigation means fulfilling the need of water in either natural or artificial way, which will prove beneficial. The advantages of irrigation are as follows.
1. Crop Yeild – The crops getting adequate amount of water is the vital cause of irrigation. Having need of water fulfilled, crop yeild is increased.
2. Protection against famines – Irrigation structures like ponds, reservoirs, dams are constructed to store water and use it in famine conditions. As the excess rainwater is stored and can be used whenever scarcity is occurred, the dying percentage of crops due to scarcity will reduce tremendously. Thus the irrigation will protect from famines.
3. Revenue generation – The water will help farmer in increasing crop Yeild. The increased Crop Yeild will improve income of farmer and the revenue of the state government. For the water supplied from irrigation projects directly to the farmers minimal amount is charged, but that helps revenue of Irrigation department also.
4. Avoidance of mixed cropping – As a precaution, farmers take two crops in one land in the spacing provided in crops. This ensures that one of the two crops will reap and generate revenue for farmers. But this practice will consume twice the nutrients and will make land less fertile. By proper irrigation, we ensure the productivity of one crop and thus farmers feel no need to take mixed crops.
5. Navigation – Waterway is economic and easy way of Navigation. Canals, Dams, reservoirs and rivers can prove to be a good mean of transportation. Rivers are helpful in transportation of goods through its length. Canals are used in navigation in many northern India. In South India, rivers are used as regular mean of transportation.
6. Hydroelectric Power Generation – Generation of electricity with the help of speed of water is a conventional source of energy. Running water in rivers, canals, discharge from dams is used to rotate dynamo in the generator. Big projects are planned and designed to serve two purposes – generation of electricity and irrigation.
7. Employment Generation – For construction of structures like Dams, retaining walls, canal headwork, weird barrages, overhead irrigation works, etc job opportunities are created.