The perspective and objectives of irrigation . A reliable and suitable irrigation water supply can result in vast improvements in agricultural production and assure the economic vitality of the region. Many civilizations have been dependent on irrigated agriculture to provide the basis of their so
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2. The perspective and objectives of irrigation A reliable and suitable irrigation water supply can result in vast improvements in agricultural production and assure the economic vitality of the region.
Many civilizations have been dependent on irrigated agriculture to provide the basis of their society and enhance the security of their people.
3. Only 15-20 percent of the worldwide total cultivated area is irrigated.
Effective agronomic practices are essential components of irrigated systems.
Management of the soil fertility, cropping selection and rotation, and pest control may make as much incremental difference in yield as the irrigation water itself.
4. Irrigation implies drainage, soil reclamation, and erosion control.
When any of these factors are ignored through either a lack of understanding or planning, agricultural productivity will decline.
5. Irrigated agriculture faces a difficult problems in the future One of the major concerns is the poor irrigation efficiency. 40% of the water diverted is wasted at the farm level through either deep percolation or surface runoff.
One of the more evident problems in the future is the growth of alternative demands for water such as urban and industrial needs.
6. Irrigation in arid areas Irrigation in arid areas of the world provides two essential agricultural requirements:
(1) a moisture supply for plant growth which also transports essential nutrients; and
(2) a flow of water to leach or dilute salts in the soil.
Irrigation also benefits croplands through cooling the soil and the atmosphere to create a more favorable environment for plant growth.
7. Effects of Surface Irrigation Method on Crop Yield The method, frequency and duration of irrigations have significant effects on crop yield and farm productivity.
For example, annual crops may not germinate when the surface is flooded causing a crust to form over the seed bed.
After emergence, inadequate soil moisture can often reduce yields, particularly if the stress occurs during critical periods.
8. The technology of irrigation is more complex than many appreciate.
It is important that the scope of irrigation science not be limited to diversion and conveyance systems, nor solely to the irrigated field, nor only to the drainage pathways.
9. Irrigation is a system extending across many technical and non-technical disciplines.
It only works efficiently and continually when all the components are integrated smoothly
10. Irrigation methods and their selection There are three broad classes of irrigation systems:
(2) gravity flow distribution; and
(3) drainage flow distribution.
11. The pressurized systems include:
sprinkler, trickle and others in which water is conveyed and distributed through pressurized pipe networks.
There are many individual system configurations identified by unique features (centre-pivot sprinkler systems).
Gravity flow systems convey and distribute water at the field level by a free surface, overland flow regime.
12. The surface irrigation methods are also subdivided according to configuration and operational characteristics.
Irrigation by control of the drainage system, subirrigation, is not common but is interesting conceptually.
One should be familiar with each in order to satisfy best the needs of irrigation projects likely to be of interest during their formulation.
Irrigation systems are often designed to maximize efficiencies and minimize labour and capital requirements.
The most effective management practices are dependent on the type of irrigation system and its design.
14. Management can be influenced by the use of:
the control of or the capture and reuse of runoff,
field soil and topographical variations and the existence
location of flow measurement and water control structures.
15. Questions that are common to all irrigation systems are:
when to irrigate,
how much to apply,
can the efficiency be improved.
A large number of considerations must be taken into account in the selection of an irrigation system.
16. These will vary from location to location, crop to crop, year to year, and farmer to farmer.
These considerations are:
compatibility of the system with other farm operations,
17. Compatibility The irrigation system for a field or a farm must function alongside other farm operations such as land preparation, cultivation, and harvesting.
The use of the large mechanized equipment requires longer and wider fields.
18. The irrigation systems must not interfere with these operations and may need to be portable or function primarily outside the crop boundaries (i.e. surface irrigation systems).
Smaller equipment or animal-powered cultivating equipment is more suitable for small fields and more permanent irrigation facilities.
19. Economics The type of irrigation system selected is an important economic decision.
Some types of pressurized systems have high capital and operating costs but may utilize minimal labour and conserve water.
20. Their use tends toward high value cropping patterns.
Other systems are relatively less expensive to construct and operate but have high labour requirements.
Some systems are limited by the type of soil or the topography found on a field.
The costs of maintenance and expected life of the rehabilitation along with an array of annual costs like energy, water, depreciation, land preparation, maintenance, labour and taxes should be included in the selection of an irrigation system.
22. Topographical Characteristics Topography is a major factor affecting irrigation, particularly surface irrigation.
Of general concern are the location and elevation of the water supply relative to:
the field boundaries,
the area and configuration of the fields
The access by roads,
The utility lines (gas, electricity, water, etc.)
The migrating herds whether wild or domestic.
23. Field slope and its uniformity are two of the most important topographical factors.
Surface systems, for instance, require uniform grades in the 0-5 percent range.
24. Soils The soil's moisture-holding capacity, intake rate and depth are the principal criteria affecting the type of system selected.
Sandy soils typically have high intake rates and low soil moisture storage capacities and may require an entirely different irrigation strategy than the deep clay soil with low infiltration rates but high moisture-storage capacities.
25. Sandy soil requires more frequent, smaller applications of water whereas clay soils can be irrigated less frequently and to a larger depth.
Other important soil properties influence the type of irrigation system to use.
26. The physical, biological and chemical interactions of soil and water influence the hydraulic characteristics and filth.
The mix of silt in a soil influences crusting and erodibility and should be considered in each design.
The distribution of soils may vary widely over a field and may be an important limitation on some methods of applying irrigation water.
28. Water supply The quality and quantity of the source of water can have a significant impact on the irrigation practices.
Crop water demands are continuous during the growing season.
29. The soil moisture reservoir transforms this continuous demand into a periodic one which the irrigation system can service.
A water supply with a relatively small discharge is best utilized in an irrigation system which incorporates frequent applications.
30. The depths applied per irrigation would tend to be smaller under these systems than under systems having a large discharge which is available less frequently.
The quality of water affects decisions similarly.
31. Salinity is generally the most significant problem but other elements like boron or selenium can be important.
A poor quality water supply must be utilized more frequently and in larger amounts than one of good quality.
32. Crops The yields of many crops may be as much affected by how water is applied as the quantity delivered.
Irrigation systems create different environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature, and soil aeration.
33. They affect the plant differently by wetting different parts of the plant thereby introducing various undesirable consequences like leaf burn, fruit spotting and deformation, crown rot, etc
Rice, on the other hand, thrives under ponded conditions.
34. Some crops have high economic value and allow the application of more capital-intensive practices.
Deep-rooted crops are more amenable to low-frequency, high-application rate systems than shallow-rooted crops.
35. Social influences Beyond the confines of the individual field, irrigation is a community enterprise.
Individuals, groups of individuals, and often the state must join together to construct, operate and maintain the irrigation system as a whole.
Within a typical irrigation system there are three levels of community organization.
There is the individual or small informal group of individuals participating in the system at the field and tertiary level of conveyance and distribution.
36. There are the farmer collectives which form in structures as simple as informal organizations or as complex as irrigation districts.
These assume, in addition to operation and maintenance, responsibility for allocation and conflict resolution.
And then there is the state organization responsible for the water distribution and use at the project level.
37. Irrigation system designers should be aware that perhaps the most important goal of the irrigation community at all levels is the assurance of equity among its members.
Thus the operation, if not always the structure, of the irrigation system will tend to mirror the community view of sharing and allocation.
38. Irrigation often means a technological intervention in the agricultural system even if irrigation has been practiced locally for generations.
New technologies mean new operation and maintenance practices.
If the community is not sufficiently adaptable to change, some irrigation systems will not succeed.
39. External influences Conditions outside the sphere of agriculture affect and even dictate the type of system selected.
For example, national policies regarding foreign exchange, strengthening specific sectors of the local economy, or sufficiency in particular industries may lead to specific irrigation systems being utilized.
40. Key components in the manufacture or importation of system elements may not be available or cannot be efficiently serviced.
Since many irrigation projects are financed by outside donors and lenders, specific system configurations may be precluded because of international policies and attitudes.