The Advantages and Disadvantages of Irrigation in Civil Engineering

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The Advantages of Irrigation

Following direct and indirect advantages are described below.

Direct advantages of Irrigation:

Following 4 types of direct advantages of irrigation are described below:

(i) Increase in food production

Irrigation improves the yield of crops, which leads to an increase in food production, thus developing people as well as society.

(ii) Revenue generation

When a consistent supply of water is guaranteed for irrigation, the cultivators can grow certain predominant or expensive crops(like cash crops) instead of substandard or low priced crops. In this manner income is created.

(iii) Protection against drought

The provision of adequate irrigation facilities in any region ensures protection against failure of crops from famine or droughts.

(iv) Mixed cropping

 Means sowing of at least two types of crops together in a similar field. This practice is followed so that if climate conditions are not good for one crop it might be reasonable for other crops.But if irrigation facilities are made available, the need of mixed cropping is eliminated:

Indirect advantages of Irrigation:

Following 4 types of indirect advantages of irrigation are described below:

(i) Power generation

Major river valleys projects are generally planned to generate hydroelectric power together with irrigation.

However, comparatively a small quantity of hydroelectric power might also be generated at a small cost on projects which are primarily planned for irrigation.

(ii) Transportation

The irrigation canals are provided with unsurfaced roads primarily for purposes of inspection and maintenance.These roads give a decent pathway to nearby people. The network of irrigation canals can be used for transportation of goods as well as human beings.


 (iii) Groundwater table

In areas where irrigation facilities are provided, due to constant percolation of a portion of the water flowing in the canals and also that is supplied to the field, the groundwater storage is increased and consequently, the groundwater table is raised.

 (iv) Employment

During the constructions of irrigation works, employment is provided.

The Disadvantages of Irrigation

  1. The enormoussupply of irrigation water tempts the cultivators to use more water than required. Due to Excess water supplied to the field, which leads to percolating water into the soil. Hence, due to the constant percolation groundwater table would be raised and will prompt waterlogging.
  1. The ground water can get polluted due to seepage of the nitrates (applied to the soil as fertilizers) into the groundwater.