Water Agricultural Conservation In India
Indian economy is dependent on agriculture, and the farmer’s livelihood is dependent on the monsoon. Drastic climatic conditions like floods, drought, a shift in plant growing zones have resulted in the decline in crop productivity. In this scenario, it is imperative that effective provisions for saving water are made.
Water Conservation Methods:
India ranks 2nd world wide in farm output. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and fisheries accounted for 13.7% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Production) in 2013, and employed 50% of the workforce. The irrigation infrastructure includes a network of canals from rivers, ground water, well based systems, tanks and other rain water harvesting products for agriculture activities. Today the ground system is the largest, covering – 160 million ha of cultivated land in India with 39 million ha irrigated by ground water, 22 million ha by irrigated canals and about two third of cultivation in India is still depending on monsoon.
Technique that can be used by Indian farmers to save water are:
- Use a Water Flow Meter to Measure Water Usage
- Tailwater Return Systems
- Bottle Irrigation and Pitcher or Olla Irrigation
- Zai Pits
- System of Crop Intensification (SCI) or System of year
- Root Intensification (SRI)
- Ripper-Furrower Planting System
- Organic Farm Soils
- Drought Tolerant Livestock Breeds
- Recycle Wastewater
- Half Moons, Bunds, and Terraces
- Mycorrhizal Fungus
- Soil Moisture Sensors
- Good Drainage
Agricultural Water Management:
Rainwater Harvesting:Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) can be defined as a method by which the Rainwater is collected in tanks and reservoirs for future use. Unpredictable climatic conditions and depleting groundwater levels can be mitigated with Rainwater Harvesting. The best part about RWH is that it can be practiced in homes, offices, parks, etc. Read about best rain water harvesting techniques.
Black Plastic and Organic Mulches:Did you know that organic and black plastic mulches can save 25 percent in water requirements? Black Plastic or synthetic mulch not only reduces the water evaporation but also helps in controlling weeds and warms the soil, for an earlier crop. Organic mulches post decomposition provide nutrients to the soil and conserve moisture. Cover crops and Green Mulches can be used too. Understand mulching.
Laser Leveling:Unevenness of the soil surface impacts germination, stand and yield of crops. Farmers spend considerable time and resources in leveling their fields properly. However, traditional methods of leveling land are cumbersome, time-consuming as well as expensive. Laser land leveling can be defined as leveling the area within a certain degree of the desired slope using a guided laser beam throughout the field.
Rotational Grazing:In rotational grazing, the livestock is moved between fields to promote pasture regrowth. The advantages of Rotational Grazing are: water absorption, a decrease in water runoff, pastures become more drought-resistant, increase in soil organic matter and better forage cover makes water-saving easy. Remember that you do not overgraze the land.
Agroforestry:Agroforestry is a concept in which trees are used as a part of the landscape. This idea benefits the soil, animals and plants alike.
Sand dams:Developed by the Romans in 400 BC, Sand Dams has been used in India, Africa, and South America for more than fifty years, but remains underutilized. It is a simple concept and can provide enough clean drinking water for gardening and farming in large quantity and an extensive period. Sand Dams are built by digging a deep trench and filling it with concrete. This drench is filled overtime with rains. The dams are usually located across small rivers which stop flowing in the dry season, the sand becomes about 40% saturated with water and can hold 2 to 10 million liters.
Plastic buckets for starting trees:The waste baskets lying at the construction sites can be put to great use by starting young trees in them. All you need to do is, take a 5-gallon bucket, drill drainage holes at the bottom, place it next to a small tree and let gravity do the rest. You can also attach a small pipe to the holes and leave it close to the tree. This method helps in irrigating the crops slowly and gradually.
Productivity of irrigated land is more than three times that of unirrigated land. Around 40 percent of the world’s food is produced on the 20 percent of land which is irrigated. The monetary value of the yield of irrigated crops is more than six times that of non irrigated crops because crops with higher market values tend to be grown on irrigated land.Many of the methods known to conserve water and use it efficiently have been practiced for thousands of years in some very arid regions of the world with great success. The best systems require little maintenance while yielding maximum results. The ability to add water during crucial growth periods can greatly increase crop yields.