Agriculture is the nerve of any country as it is needed for survival of living beings. For growing crops, irrigation is major process. Irrigation is described as the artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is the substitute or supplement of rainwater with another source of water. It is used in dry areas and during periods of insufficient rainfall. It is considered as basic infrastructure and vital input required for agricultural production.
Major aim of irrigation systems is to help out in the growing of agricultural crops and vegetation by maintaining with the minimum amount of water required, maintenance of landscapes, and re-vegetation of disturbed soils. Irrigation systems are also used for dust repression, removal of sewage, and in mining. Irrigation is often studied together with drainage, which is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given region. Agricultural scientists stated that irrigation also has a few other uses in crop production, which include protecting plants against frost, suppressing wild plant growing in grain fields and helping to avert soil consolidation. On the contrary, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry-land farming.
Irrigation has been a vital characteristic of agriculture for over centuries and the result of work of many cultures, and was the basis of the wealth and society ranging from Asia to the American Southwest.
In brief, irrigation also has many applications in crop production, which include:
- Protecting plants against frost
- Suppressing weed growth in grain fields
- Preventing soil consolidation.
- for dust suppression,
- Disposal of sewage, and in mining.
Irrigation water may be applied to the crops in three basic methods that include surface irrigation, sprinkler irrigation and sub-surface irrigation method. Every irrigation method has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore before choosing a specific technique, the irrigation engineer must evaluate all the factors and choose method which is most suited for local condition.