Proper utilisation of water in irrigated agriculture

How should we value water utilization in irrigated agriculture

Romulus Okwany
746 Views
Started by Romulus Okwany on
26 Jan 2012 at 12:46
Researcher - Irrigation, International Water Management Institute
Know-how: Irrigation Design, Sustainable Agriculture, Drainage

In our interest to make irrigated agriculture more efficient and sustainable we have approached the water transmission, distribution and application system in a manner to limit any 'waste' to the unaccounted for sinks. This has been done so successfully in some locations that there is very minimal leakage out of the system and the fields implementing deficit irrigation such that no deep percolation is entertained. Does this make our system really sustainable? This question is posed on the basis that our practices, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions have resulted into loss of groundwater recharge with the consequence that any existing groundwater wells are drying up, water tables are being lowered and salinity due to no leaching is increasing. In the long term would our advanced surface water utilisation be sustainable for both the soil and water resources in agriculture?

Comments

Gema Alatas
Hello everyone. I came across a very good link developed by FAO for irrigation management. http://www.fao.org/nr/water/infores_databases_cropwat.html.
would like to ask if anyone is using any sort of software for irrigation management, then what was your experience? Can we save water and utilize it optimum? At the are they user friendly? And name some of the software which I can get easily. Thanks.
Yogesh Agrawal
Romulus, you have raised a very valid question. But you might have heard that the wastage of water is creating water logging conditions in most parts of the world, resulting in reduction in actual irrigated area in the project and reduction in yield per hectare. This is a gross wastage of water to benefit nobody. Therefore proper design, construction and maintenance of conveyance system is necessary. In the areas for which you have narrated above, where water table is going down, suitable steps be taken to recharge ground water. Leaching of of salts may be done by providing proper drainage system and flushing irrigated lands by suitable quantity of water. But based on your observations, proper design and construction of water storage reservoirs and conveyance system like canals, minors and field channels( water courses) should not be objected.
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