GS-3 AGRICULTURE-Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

Qn: Water Crisis is will be a major issue in future. Explain how micro-irrigation is a panacea to this pestering problem? 


           India is facing a huge challenge of water scarcity. The current water crisis has affected nearly 600 million people.

           The increase of population to 1.6 billion by 2050 will further increase the water demand and thus compound the water scarcity issues.

Recent issues:

⦁ The Agriculture Sector:(approximately 90 percent of 761,000 billion litres of annual freshwater withdrawals in the country.Per Capita ranges 4,913 to 5,800 kilolitre per capita per year.)

⦁ Climate Change:affected weather patterns, affected livelihood and well being of farmers.

⦁ Almost 85%of the farmers are small and marginal, are dependent on rain and available surface water.(Rain is increasingly becoming variable and the water table is gradually depleting)

⦁ High water use in Agriculture has resulted in soil salinity and health deterioration, reduced water table and crop productivity losses.

Advantages of Micro Irrigation

⦁ decreases the water requirements.(applying water directly to the root,reduces loss of water through conveyance, run-off, deep percolation and evaporation-efficiency of 75-95%.)

⦁ saves on fertiliser requirements.(Through Fertigation:method of applying water and fertilizers through irrigation.Reduced fertiliser requirement-7 to 42%)

⦁ helped in bringing degraded wastelands into agricultural practice.(A Union Government survey indicated 519.43 hectares of degraded land under cultivation through the technique.)

⦁ allows the use of saline water for irrigation without causing salinity or osmotic stress to plants.

⦁ makes significant electricity savings.(FICCI reports a consumption reduction of 30.5%electricity.)

⦁ helps maintain optimum soil moisture(productivity increase of fruit crops by 42.3%and vegetables by 52.8%.)

⦁ helped in adaptation of diverse cropping patterns.

The government launched a comprehensive programme called Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana which emphasised on reducing water usage through micro-irrigation techniques.

Israel, a desert nation with water scarcity has become a water surplus nation by using drip irrigation that saves almost three-fourths of the water used for irrigation done through open canals.


       Micro-irrigation is immensely beneficial to help achieve sustainability in Indian agriculture. However, we are far away from adopting it. It requires extensive demonstration, training and awareness to adopt it on a large scale in India.

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