Water is essential for the survival of all living creatures in general; however, the quantities required may vary. Water is a necessity for all plants’ life, as it is an important factor for their growth and development. Plants’ bodies are made up of roughly 90% (90%) water on average. The human body, on the other hand, is made up of roughly seventy percent (70%) water.
Irrigation is the process of delivering water to crops through manmade channels.
WHAT IS IRRIGATION AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Irrigation is the process of artificially giving water to soil using a variety of tubes, pumps, and sprays based on the needs of the planted crops throughout the growing season in order to ensure that the crop receives complete sustenance. Irrigation frequency, amount, pace, and time are frequently variable for different crops depending on the kind of soil and the current planting season.
Prior to the introduction of irrigation many years ago, many farmers had to wait for rain to start before they could undertake most farming chores. In fact, many farmers still employ “rain-fed” farming due to the high cost of installing an irrigation system, even at this advanced age.
It is, however, usually used in locations where rainfall is unpredictable or where drought is forecast. However, given the ongoing issue of global warming, which is driving climate change all over the world, waiting for rain is no longer a reliable or economical option.
Irrigating farmlands can be done with a variety of water sources:
Wells, Ponds, Lakes
Treated wastewater, desalinated water, canals, dams, and other structures
Let’s take a quick look at the many forms of irrigation and the methods utilized for irrigation.
The various varieties are determined by how the water is dispersed on the field. The following are the most prevalent types:
Irrigation on the surface
Without the assistance of a mechanical pump, water is distributed over and across the countryside by gravity alone.
Irrigation on a smaller scale
Unlike surface irrigation, this technique uses a network of pipes to transfer water at low pressure to each crop, saving a significant amount of water.
This is a sort of localized irrigation in which water drops are supplied to the root of the crop. In this method of irrigation, water runoff and evaporation are considerably reduced.
Irrigation using sprinklers
Water is distributed from a central point on the field or from sprinklers on or attached to moving platforms like a tractor using overhead high-pressure sprinklers.
Irrigation with a pivot center
Water is distributed using a system of sprinklers attached to wheeled towers that move in a circular pattern in this style of irrigation. In flat terrain, this method of irrigation is often utilized.
Irrigation on the side
This irrigation system is less expensive than others, but it requires more labor. Water is supplied by a number of pipes, each of which has a wheel and a set of sprinklers that can be moved by manually or by a specially designed mechanism.
In container gardening, the sub-irrigation system is usually found in the bottom of the box or container. Water is delivered to the pipelines buried beneath the ground, where it is subsequently made available to the roots and stems via capillary action. In container gardening, this approach does not take up a lot of room. Setting up this system on a field could be time consuming.
Irrigation by hand
Irrigation is done manually by the farmer, who uses watering cans to spread water around the land. This technique is both labor-intensive and inexpensive, and the water distributed on the field is not uniform.
Crops require a particular amount of water to develop optimally. Insufficient rainfall causes a deficit in water requirements, which irrigation alleviates by delivering water when it does not rain.
Other irrigation technologies, aside from manual watering, help to conserve water, especially in locations where water shortage is a problem.
As a result of the availability of water to help plant growth, crop yields improve.
Irrigation allows some crops to be grown “bumper to bumper,” which is not possible with rainfed agriculture. This allows a country or region to be self-sufficient in terms of food production.
In addition to water, fertilizer inputs can be delivered to crops in the proper proportions, saving time and effort. “Fertigation” is the name given to this method.
Groundwater storage is improved by irrigation because water lost due to seepage is added to the groundwater storage.
Irrigation has various and significant advantages. Irrigation, particularly in emerging countries like Nigeria, will go a long way toward assisting the country in achieving self-sufficiency. Harvests will increase and supply will exceed demand if farmers quit adopting rainfed agriculture and are allowed to grow crops all year. Food costs will decline as a result, and more harvests will be stored or transmitted down the agricultural value chain for processing.
Unfortunately, the cost of installing irrigation is a major stumbling block to its widespread use. The majority of farmers do not have access to finances to finance this technique, which has proven to be successful over time. However, numerous improvisations have been made in order to reduce expenses.
A pit, for example, can be dug in place of big tanks for reservoirs. The pit is tarpaulin-covered and filled with water. Most farmers, I’ve noticed, employ drip irrigation because of its low cost and capacity to preserve water. Another requirement is the pump, which transports water from the reservoir to the plants via pipelines.
The advantages of installing an irrigation system on your property are incalculable. With the lower-cost alternatives, it should be less expensive than it appears.