India is one of the world’s largest food producers. This makes the sustainability of the country’s agriculture system of global importance. Groundwater irrigation has been respite to India’s agriculture sector, especially for places with low, or uneven rainfall. However, this has led to overexploitation of groundwater.
According to the World Bank data, since 1980, groundwater levels have dropped from 8 meters below ground level (mbgl) to 16 mbgl in northwestern India and from 1 to 8 mbgl in the rest of the country. Groundwater declines have led to decrease in food production and subsequent increase in poverty in the rural households.
The water scarcity caused in the country because of groundwater depletion calls for alternative methods of irrigation. The current irrigation methods used by the farmers lead to wastage of 60% of the water used. This further calls for efficient solutions to get better yield by using less amount of water.
The farmers in India currently use flood irrigation method. However, this causes water wastage in form of surface run off, percolation and bare soil evaporation that does not contribute to any increases in yield. In order to curb the situation, the farmers need to adapt different irrigation techniques.
Drip irrigation is one of the most productive solutions for the water scarce country like India. Drip irrigation supplies water directly to the crops’ root zone using a network of pipes and tubes. This is unlike the flood irrigation where water is indiscriminately supplied to the field in large quantities, from which only 35 to 40% is actually consumed. The consumption of water by plants using drip irriagtion is upto 90% making it way more efficient.
The drip irrigation system not only contributes in reducing the water losses but also enhances the health of crops and results in higher yields of 30-80%.
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The CSR Journal Team