Water is a limited natural resource, but it is a critical requirement in agriculture. A major difficulty is making optimum use of available water for irrigation.
Water deficiency is defined as a country with yearly water availability of less than 1,700 kilolitres per person. Water availability per capita in India is projected to be 1,428 kilolitres per year.
Micro-irrigation is a modern technique of irrigation in which water is watered on the surface or subsurface of the land using drippers, sprinklers, foggers, and other emitters. The most prevalent micro-irrigation methods are sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation.
Significance of micro-irrigation
- Micro-irrigation provides efficient water utilisation. It lowers water loss by conveyance, run-off, deep percolation, and evaporation by applying water directly to the root zone.
- When compared to flood irrigation, water savings range from 30 to 50 percent.
- Water efficiency reduces the amount of water that needs to be pumped, which reduces electricity use.
- Micro-irrigation uses localised water application to keep fertilisers from washing away, reducing nutrient loss and leaching. The micro-irrigation device can also be used to deliver nutrients in a targeted manner to inhibit weed development (fertigation).
- Micro-irrigation prevents soil erosion by distributing water locally. It does not necessitate land levelling and can irrigate unevenly shaped fields, making it far less labor-intensive and expensive.
Micro-irrigation, on the other hand, has several drawbacks.
- For marginal and small farms, costs, particularly early costs, are substantial.
- Small farmers may have to pay for tube and sprinkler maintenance out of pocket.
- The lifespan of drip irrigation tubes can be diminished by the sun, resulting in waste.
- In water-stressed areas, greater awareness and adoption are required.
Precision farming will usher in the next agricultural revolution. Micro-irrigation can, in fact, serve as a stepping stone toward making farming more sustainable, profitable, and productive.