Modern Day Irrigation Methods


By: Vineeta Tawney



  • Irrigation actually means the watering the land to make it fit for agricultural purposes.
  • An irrigation method is the supplying of water via artificial canals and pipes for growing plants and crops in the field.
  • Water is essential for the growth of plants. There are no plants or crops can survive if they do not have access to water in any form.
  • It is, therefore, important to supply water to crops and plants, regularly and as per their necessity. Therefore, irrigation is this cyclic and suitable supply of water to plants.
  • The water for this irrigation gets from various sources such as wells, ponds, rivers, dams, reservoirs, and rainfall.

  • Importance of Irrigation: Irrigation is important for agriculture and farming due to the subsequent reasons:
  • Plants receive minerals and nutrients from the soil via their roots. These minerals are mixed in the water present in the respective soil. Then the water carries these nutrients to all parts of the plant, allowing growth and photosynthesis.
  • Irrigation gives the moisture that is important during the germination period of the plant’s life cycle.
  • Irrigation also improves the soil fertile (by adding moisture to it) and comfortable to plow.
  • Proper irrigation also improves yield from the farm.
  • Traditional Methods of Irrigation:

These methods of irrigation were used in the beginning. Even today small farms in country areas adopt these. Although they cost less than modern methods, they are not approximately as efficient. They need human or animal effort to function. Some of these methods are,

  1. Moat:

Also described as the pulley system, it requires pulling up the water from a well or other similar source to irrigate the land. It is a remarkable time spending and labor concentrated method, but it is extremely cost-efficient. In addition, wastage of water is withdrawn when using a moat method of irrigation.

  1. Chain pump:

A chain pump uses two large wheels connected by a chain. There are buckets joined to the chain. One part of the chain falls into the water source. As the wheel turns, the bucket pulls up water. The chain, later on, raises them to the upper wheel where the water is dropped into a source. In addition, the empty bucket moves back down.

  1. Dhekli:

It is a method of drawing water from a well or similar kind of source. Here we have to tie a rope and the bucket to a pole. At the other end, we have to tie a heavy stick or any other object for the weight balance. In addition, we use this pole to pull up water.


  1. Rahat:

Therefore, Rahat method of irrigation utilizes animal labor. Above the well, we have to tie a large wheel. An ox or cow (animal) would turn the wheel to pull the water from the well.

  • Modern irrigation techniques:


Today, there is a deficiency of water everywhere. Therefore, we should use those irrigation systems, which were helpful in reducing this water deficiency crisis by proper water management.


Presently, it is the manageable and easiest method of irrigation. In this process, water is provided to the field from the source through pipes. This process is used in areas where there is more poverty of water and in high-temperature regions, to control the humidity. It is frequently used in sandy soils and in odd ground level regions. By this system, irrigation efficiency may improve from 60-90%.


The installation method in three ways:


  1. Permanent
  2. Semi-permanent
  3. Temporary


  • Permanent installation: In a permanent installation, the pipes are connected permanently in the field. After, installation, these pipes cannot be a transfer from its installed place. If the pipelines are installed underground, then they can have a long life, while in the state of aboveground pipes there is a risk of breakage. Permanent installation is proper in canal-irrigated areas, where water is open for a short time.


  • Semi-permanent installation: In the semi-permanent installation, main pipelines are settled below the ground while branch pipelines are over the ground so that the full land is irrigated by changing the place of branch pipelines.


  • Temporary installation: In the temporary installation, the pipelines are adjusted temporarily and their position can be adjusted according to the demand. In this process, less investment is required.


However, there are some limitations that this method is expensive. The crops can be destroyed by changing the pipes frequently. The water in the pipes should be clean; otherwise, pipes may corrode more quickly. In spite of some disadvantages, this method is adopted more in water deficiency condition.




  • A modern irrigation method is generated which is known to be drip irrigation or trickle irrigation.


  • This process was developed in Israel and then, it became famous in water deficiency areas.


  • This method is frequently used for irrigation especially in fruits and vegetables. This method can also be used on rough soils.


  • In this method, water is supplied in the form of drops through nozzles, which are joined to tubes to irrigate limited area around the plant.


  • The water may be saved by up to 70% as contrasted to flooding. Weeds may not develop because water is applied solely to the crops.
  • We can also give fertilizers and pesticides by this process through a fertilizer tank and can able to save the fertilizers from 30-60 percent.


  • There are two types of drip irrigation.
  • Surface
  • Sub-surface


Surface Sub-surface
Surface drip irrigation uses water is less efficient. Sub-surface drip irrigation is comparatively efficient.
The surface is a short-life span system. Sub-surface is a long-life span system.
In surface drip irrigation, mechanical harvesting is difficult. Sub-surface mechanical harvesting is easier.


There are some disadvantages to this system as it is expensive. This method is not proper for all the crops, it needs technical knowledge, and plants may get nutrients in an insufficient amount.




  • The pot irrigation system may be rated as an option of the drip irrigation method.


  • It was begun in North Africa and Iran.


  • This approach is more proper in areas of low or almost no rainfall. In saline soils where flow irrigation is not proper, this method is used.


  • In this method, pitchers are set in the ground up to the height of the neck.


  • These pitchers are supplied with water. The number of holes is made in these pitchers and water is employed to the nearest soil through these holes by drainage. Still, many circumstances affect the configuration of the humidity around the pitcher.


  • These circumstances may include the type of soil, size of the pitcher and seepage of water from the hole.


  • The distance between the two pitchers also affects the humidity distribution. Normally, the gap between the pitchers should be kept in such a way that the humid area of pitchers might not meet.


  • Advantages:


  • There are unusual advantages of this method as if by using this method the area near the pitcher gets moisture.


  • Volatilization disadvantages are reduced.


  • Seepage of the water under the ground remains minimum.


  • This process is lightly technical.


  • Once the pitchers are fixed in the soil then they may remain in the soil for the years.


  • This method is beneficial for horticultural crops and vegetables.


  • Disadvantages:


  • However, there are also disadvantages such as it is not proper for all the crops.


  • Water in the pitchers should be clean otherwise it might chock the holes.
  • Only a limited area comes to supports humidity.

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