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Irrigation Techniques

1. Agriculture with allied activities is the single largest user of water in many parts of India.

2. Efficient use of available water resources is vital for sustainable agriculture.

How is agricultural area categorized based on irrigation?

1. In India, agriculture areas are categorized as ‘rainfed areas’ and ‘irrigated areas.’

2. Rainfed area: It has areas with irrigation <= 30% of the net sown area.

3. Irrigated area: It has areas with irrigation > 30% of the net sown area.

Why irrigation is of priority?

1. In India, after 1950, the share of groundwater resources for irrigation has increased a lot but the share of canal in the net irrigated area has decreased.

2. Groundwater resources are overexploited in many areas.

3. Water conservation and irrigation water management are of high priority.

Which are the ways to improve irrigation efficiency?

1. Augmentation of water supply initiatives through water control measures, benchmarking of irrigation projects, reforms in water harvesting measures, refocussing on tanks and ponds.

2. Demand management initiatives through Micro-irrigation techniques (drip and sprinkler), improving soil health, water-based crop insurance, market improvement and capacity building.

3. Water use efficiency in rainfed areas can be improved by small water harvesting structures integrated with Micro-irrigation techniques.

What are the benefits of Micro Irrigation Technologies?

Micro-irrigation (sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation) is a very important water-saving technology. It also

1. Increases the area under irrigation

2. Reduction in fertilizer usage.

3. Reduction in labor expenses and other input and output costs.

4. Reduction in energy consumption.

5. Reduces conveyance losses, evaporation, runoff, deep percolation losses.

6. Enhances overall water efficiency and crop productivity

7. Improves soil health

8. Increase overall farm income

9. Other benefits like non-exploitation of groundwater, reduction in the cost of weeding and relief from water scarcity induced labor migration.

10. It helps in environmental sustainability.

When efforts for micro-irrigation started?

1. 2005-06: Micro Irrigation (MI) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS)

2. 2010: MI was up-scaled to National Mission on Micro Irrigation (NMMI)

3. 2014-15: National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) was formed and MI was made a component in this.

4. July 2015: MI was taken under the ‘More Crop Per Drop’ component of PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

1. PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana launched in 2015, aims to extend the vision of irrigation (Har Khet Ko Pani) and improved water use efficiency (More Crop Per Drop).

2. It aims at providing end-to-end solutions in irrigation supply chain viz., water resources, distribution network, farm-level applications and improved water use efficiency.

3. Its main objective is to achieve convergence of investments in the irrigation sector at the field level.

4. It is promoted by both Central and State Governments.

5. It provides budget to help the States for increasing the coverage under Micro-irrigation.

6. It focusses on sustainable growth concept, convergence of various schemes and greater responsibility and accountability at district level.

7. But it faces the issue of district-level implementation for total 640 districts in India.

Where lies the solution?

1. Water is a crucial resource for agriculture and every drop of it is significant.

2. Micro Irrigation is a proven water conservation technology.

3. Nutrient Management will help enhance soil health and the yields of crops.

4. The positive outcomes of such methods contribute to food security in the country.

5. So, Micro Irrigation Technology shall be promoted with adequate credit facilities and support from the Government.