Water Resources | Methods of Irrigation:

An article on Water resources? If it is what you came here for, then be confident that you are at the right place!

It is very pleasing to know that the concerns of people over water resources have increased, and well, why not? In fact, we all need to talk about this before we end up losing our resources. 

Water Resources | Methods of Irrigation
An Irrigated Field

So let’s start from the very basic. 

Why is Water very dear to us?

Well, there are many uses of water in our day to day lives. Firstly, water is very important for our domestic purposes. Whether it is for cooking or bathing, the importance of water cannot be rejected.

Apart, water is used in our industries. In some industries, it is used to cool the exhaustive and hot machine engine and even as a raw material in some industries, such as those which manufacture beverages.

Similarly, water is used for agriculture. To grow crops by fulfilling their water requirement, we can only have enough and proper food supply to eat. However, not to forget that without drinking water, we cannot survive.

So, if there is no water, there is no life and neither any activity.

So, with this, a brief introduction has been done. Let’s. move on to some water-related topics.  

What is Irrigation and how is it related to water resources?Irrigation is the artificial supply of water to the land and areas where rainfall is unreliable and uncertain. Thus, to cope with the ineffectiveness of rain and lack of water through rain, water through irrigation is provided to fields to continue the process of agriculture.

Irrigation is the artificial supply of water to the land and areas where rainfall is unreliable and uncertain. Thus, to cope with the ineffectiveness of rain and lack of water through rain, water through irrigation is provided to fields to continue the process of agriculture.

Let’s dive into its detail.

Methods of Irrigation

Old/Traditional Methods:

Shaduf: In this type of irrigation, water is driven out of wells and rivers. A long pole is connected with a bucket on one end and then is lowered into the water body.

Then, weight from the other end is applied and thus buckets scope water and come out. The bucket is then lifted and water is provided to the required area.

Water Resources | Methods of Irrigation

Charsa: This is also a traditional method of irrigation. In this, a bucket is lowered into a water body that scopes water. This bucket, which is connected through a rope is pulled out by animal power when it moves away from well.

Persian Wheel: This method comprises of two wheels, one horizontal and the other, vertical. An animal is connected to the horizontal wheel and is blindfolded.

Several buckets are connected to the vertical wheel. When the horizontal wheel is driven by the animal, the vertical wheel also moves and thus enters the water body.

Buckets scope water and when coming out, the water is drained in the required fields.

Karez: It is also an orthodox method of irrigation but is still practised in many parts of the world, e.g Balochistan (a province of Pakistan).  

In this, vertical shafts are dug where the water table is higher. In case of silt or any blockage, horizontal shafts are dug in order to remove them. The canals laid down, carry water onto the ground.

Note that various trees are planted at the side to prevent evapotranspiration of water!

Advantages of Karez:

  • It significantly lowers the water table in the places where water is higher. 
  • It provides a relatively higher amount of water that other traditional methods of irrigation.
  • It may lead to the development of the area where it is practised. 
Disadvantages of Karez
  • It is very expensive.
  • It is site-specific from the fact that it can only be practised at areas where the water table is high. 
Inundation Canals:
These are the canals that are laid in the areas where there is excessive rainfall. Floods provide water to the canals and thus, this water is directed to fields for irrigation purposes.
Mud Tanks:

To be honest, it is not one of the best ways to provide irrigation water. In this, water is collected in rainy seasons. Banks are raised along a water body which collects water when it flows through it. This is rarely practised today!

Now let’s look at some of the modern methods of irrigation:

Tube-Wells: In this method, water is driven out due to through motor pumps which are provided a driving force due to diesel and/or fuel. A narrow tube is inserted into the ground where the water table is higher and this electrical pump sucks out water. 

Advantages of Tube-Wells:

  • Irrigates larger area of land as compared to all methods of traditional irrigation.
  • Lowers water table and thus prevents waterlogging and salinity. (Learn about Waterlogging and salinity below).
  • It is very efficient.
Disadvantages of Tube-Wells:
  • It is expensive and thus cannot be used by small farmers.
  • Creates modernization, thus unemployment occurs. 
  • Diesel is very expensive.
  • Maintenance cost is also there! 
Perennial Canals:
These canals are very useful as they provide water throughout the year. Water is received through dams and barrages in this method and is regulated through valves.

Advantages of Perennial Canals:

  • These provide water throughout the year.
  • The water is sent in controlled amounts. 
  • It is efficient.
  • The potential of this type of irrigation method is high in countries.
Disadvantages of Perennial Canals:
  • If banks are left unlined, waterlogging and salinity may occur.
  • These canals have to be maintained, therefore the cost of maintenance. 
  • It can be only practised if an ample amount of water is stored in dams and barrages. It is to note that it contributes to the water shortage crisis.
Difference between Inundation Canals and Perennial Canals:
Water provided through inundation canals is seasonals, meaning that only when the banks overflow. However, perennial canals provide water throughout the year.
⇨ Water provided through perennial canals is controlled by valves while there is no such system in Inundatiion canals, therefore waterlogging is more expected through Inundation Canals.
⇨ Inundation canals provide less water as compared to perennial canals.
⇨ Perennial canals have a larger scope of water provision due to big dams and barrages while the scope of Inundation Canals is less because they are smaller in size and contain/store less water.
This is a very well-known topic. In this system, water is carried through large tankers to provide water to a linear plantation and green belts. 
The advantage of using this is that it provides water to the areas that are not under access by other forms of irrigation. However, it damages the road and cost of fuel add to the problems. 
Have been to a football stadium? Then you would already have knowledge about this. But if not, let me tell you that in this form, water is sprayed in the air (water droplets) that spread to the ground far away.
Now, the topic you were most probably looking for.
Water Resources | Methods of Irrigation
Waterlogging and Salinity:
When the water table rises to the extent that water seeps out of the ground, this condition is known as waterlogging.
Similarly, when this water is evaporated, salt is left behind. This is a very unfavourable condition for plant growth and is known as salinity.
Effects of Waterlogging and Salinity:
The presence of salt patches on the ground does not allow proper plant growth.
➢ Crop yield decreases, thus a loss in income for the farmer.
➢ The soil becomes infertile due to the excess of salt.
➢ Industries are adversely affected because raw materials may be delayed and there is an additional cost of treating the problem.
How can we prevent this?
  • Line the canals to prevent water seepage. 
  • Plant eucalyptus because it lowers the water table.
  • Use tube wells for irrigation because they also reduce the water table.
  • Plant trees around the field so less evaporation of water occur and roots of the trees absorb water!
  • Spray gypsum on salinised soil.
So with this, the article on irrigation (particularly water resources) has come to an end. WG Blogs tried to it’s utmost to provide you with a well-investigated factual article. We hope that all your questions would have been answered.
If you have any queries, comment below and you can even come in contact with us personally.
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