Sprinkler and Drip Irrigation: Increasing the income of agriculture by saving water
Irrigation methods like sprinkler and drip are heavily encouraged by government grants.
Agriculture cannot be imagined without water. But while the total amount of water available for agriculture is decreasing daily, agricultural production and water demand are increasing to meet the growing nutritional needs. Such water scarcity can be solved only by saving the water used for irrigation. In this sense, the discovery of sprinkler irrigation methods has helped farmers tremendously. With this, farmers have grown more crops with less water and less cost. That is why the popularity of sprinkler and drip irrigation is also increasing rapidly.
Sprinkler and Drip irrigation is the need of the hour
About 78 percent of the total water available in the country is used for irrigation. Due to climate change, the total amount of monsoon rain has decreased and is also becoming erratic. Due to this, the pressure on the farmers to adopt other measures for irrigation is also increasing continuously. On the other hand, apart from agriculture, the demand for water in other activities of the economy is also increasing. In many areas, the drinking water crisis is at its peak in summer and it is heart-wrenching to see the people’s struggle.
Continuously decreasing water for agriculture
A report by NITI Aayog has drawn a blueprint for severe water shortage in the future. It is estimated that by the year 2050, water availability for agriculture will come down to 68 percent. That is why, based on all the scientific facts, emphasis is being laid on reducing water consumption in agriculture below 50 percent. At present, one-third of the water being used for irrigation of agriculture in the country is contributed by the groundwater. Its level has also dropped to a deficient level due to indiscriminate exploitation. It is to so much extent that more than 6,000 areas have been declared black zones.
Half of the country’s agriculture is still rainfed
Groundwater scientists recommend that groundwater in the black zone should not be extracted anymore. The cost of extracting groundwater from greater depths is also very high. Due to this, the earning of farming decrease. Despite all the government and private efforts, only half of the country’s total cultivable land has been connected with irrigation facilities. Half of the cultivated land is still rain-fed or completely dependent on rain. So far, even in the areas connected with the traditional ‘flow method’ of canal irrigation, more attention should be paid to the efficiency of water use.
It is also a scientific fact that the yield from rainfed farms is about 25-30 percent less as compared to irrigated farms. This means that if we can successfully increase our irrigation efficiency, the lives of farmers in rainfed areas can be transformed. To overcome the scarcity of water, there is a need to connect maximum cultivation with two advanced methods of irrigation. The more cultivated land is connected with these modern irrigation techniques, the more our water-efficiency, production and income will increase.
Advantages of Sprinkler Irrigation
Through the sprinkler irrigation method, showers of water are poured on the crops like rain. The consumption of water in sprinkler irrigation is much less as compared to flow method from canals and tube wells. Due to this, more area is irrigated with less water and thus the cost of irrigation is saved. Due to the sprinkler irrigation method, the condition of water logging does not arise in the field. In this, irrigation can also be done according to the slope of the field. This does not cause erosion of the topmost fertile layer of the soil.
In sprinkler irrigation method, there is no danger of fertilizer and other nutrients being washed away with water. This gives the plants the same amount of water. There is uniformity in their growth and yields are high. Sprinkler irrigation method has proved to be very useful for pulses and oilseeds crops, apart from cereals that require less water. That’s why more and more farmers in areas with less water have been trying to integrate their farms with sprinkler irrigation.
To encourage micro irrigation methods like sprinkler and drip, farmers are also being helped a lot through government grants. More than 93 percent of the cultivable land has been brought under micro-irrigation methods in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh. In this context, the achievements of Rajasthan are at the forefront. Rajasthan accounts for more than one-third of the total area of the country under sprinkler irrigation method. On the other hand, farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have shown more inclination towards drip irrigation.
Effect of Sprinkler Irrigation System
Experts from ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, Delhi, in their study found that due to sprinkler irrigation method, the area sown to rabi crops gram, rapeseed and mustard has increased by 21 percent. The area under wheat has increased by 56 percent. Similarly, in terms of Kharif crops, there has been an increase in the area sown by 42 percent in Guar and 149 percent in Bajra. Also, the yield per hectare has increased. Due to sprinkler irrigation, the yield of guar increased by 15 percent and bajra by 41 percent. Whereas, it reached a bumper height of 6 percent in case of wheat and 43 percent in case of gram.
Government encouragement to micro irrigation
As a demand and management strategy for irrigation, in 2005-06, the central government started micro irrigation as a sponsored scheme. After its review, it was made a part of the ‘National Mission on Micro Irrigation’ in the year 2010. Also, the ‘National Mission in Sustainable Agriculture’ in the year 2014. Subsequently, in 2015 it was linked to the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. To popularize it, it was also associated with the slogans of ‘water to every field’ and ‘per drop more yield’.
The ground effect of such government efforts is that about 10 million hectares of land has been brought under the purview of sprinkler or drip irrigation method. But if this progress is compared with about 70 million hectares of unirrigated land in the country, then hardly 14 percent of the land has been connected with modern irrigation techniques. Obviously, the farmers still have a long way to go in this regard.
Contact us – If farmers want to share any valuable information or experiences related to farming, they can connect with us via phone or whatsapp at 9599273766 or you can write to us at “[email protected]”. Through Kisan of India, we will convey your message to the people, because we believe that if the farmers are advanced then the country is happy.