Irrigation is the method in which a controlled amount of water is supplied to plants at regular intervals for agriculture.

In simple words, it is when people supply water to plants to help them grow when there is not enough rain. Irrigation water can be pumped from rivers, lakes and wells or allowed to flow to the fields by the force of gravity along pipes or open canals.

Types of Irrigation

The methods in agriculture are Surface, Sprinkler, Drip, Center pivot and manual irrigation.

1. Surface

In surface irrigation, water moves over and across the land by simple gravity flow to wetland and infiltrate the soil.

2. Sprinkler

It’s a popular method, which pipes with a set amount of water to the fields and then sprays it directly over the crops with high-pressure sprinklers.  The benefit is that the amounts of water can be controlled.

3. Drip

With this type, water is delivered at or near the root zone of plants, drop by drop. This method is the most water efficient of irrigation.

4. Center pivot

It involves a self-propelled system in which a single pipeline moves on wheeled towers in a circular pattern.

5. Manual

This type uses buckets or watering cans. It is a  common method used in our backyard farms.

ADVANTAGES
  1. Irrigation makes it possible to grow cash crops which give good returns to the cultivators. Examples of cash crops are; sugarcane, potato, tobacco etc.
  2. It improves the groundwater storage as water lost due to seepage adds to groundwater storage.
  3. It improves the yields of crops which mean more income for the farmer people prosperous.
  4. We use it to help the growth of crops during the period of inadequate rainfall.

DISADVANTAGES
  1. Excessive seepage and leakage of water create marshes and ponds all along the channels.  The marshes and the ponds in some time become the colonies of the mosquito, which gives rise to a disease like malaria.
  2. It lowers the temperature and makes the locality damp due to the presence of irrigation water.
  3. Excessive seepage into the ground raises the water, hence causing water logging of the area.
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IMPORTANCE
  1. Irrigation maintains moisture in the soil. Moisture is necessary for the germination of seeds.
  2. Water supplies two essential elements, hydrogen and oxygen to the crop.
  3. Irrigation is necessary for the absorption of mineral nutrients by the plants from the soil.
  4. It is essential for the growth of the roots of the crop plants.