Three basic needs of agricultural production/ Irrigation area unit are soil, seed, and water.

In addition, fertilizers, insecticides, sunshine, appropriate atmospherical temperature and human labour also are required.

 In several parts of the world, the moisture available in the root-zone soil, either from rain or from underground waters, may not sufficient for the requirements f the plant life. 

Necessity of Irrigation

Rainfall varies considerably in place, time and in amount. The intensity of rainfall is very high during the monsoon season and less during other seasons. So crop cannot be raised successfully over the entire world without providing artificial irrigation of fields. The necessity of irrigation is as follows:

– Non-uniform rainfall throughout the year

– Less rainfall than a requirement

– Increasing food demand

– Controlled water supply


Advantages of irrigation

Every irrigation project is designed keeping in view of economics i.e. expenditure likely to incurred and benefit likely to occur. So any irrigation projection should be economically feasible. Generally, a project giving benefit at least about 8% interest of the capital outlay is implemented. Sometimes unproductive projects are also implemented in view of the general public benefits.

 The advantage of irrigation are as follows:

– Increase in food production

– Hydropower generation

– Elimination of mixed cropping

– Flood control

– Insurance against drought

– Inland navigation

– Forestation

– Facility of communication

– The prosperity of the nation

– Optimum benefits

– Domestic water supply

– Quality of life

– Employment


The disadvantages of irrigation are as follows:

– Creation of damp climate

–  Formation of water-logged area

– The necessity of crossing structure

– Creation of damp climate, marshy land and breeding place for mosquitoes causing the outbreak of diseases like malaria and dengue.

– Water pollution problem (seepage of nitrate applied in the soil as fertilizer may pollute underground water.)

– Raising the water table

– Loss of soil fertility

–  Soil erosion

– Loss of valuable land

 Source of water for irrigation

As we know every water is not suitable for human beings in the same way every water is not suitable for plant life. Water which contains impurities and is injurious to plant growth is not satisfactory for irrigation. Selection of sources of water depends upon the following factors: 


a) Quantity needs

b) Quality factors

c) Location

d) Conflict and competition for water

a) Quantity needs:

The source selected for irrigation should have adequate quantity of water to fulfil the water requirements of the command area. If water is not available in adequate quantity, there will not be desirable yield of the crops in one hand and conflict between farmers in another hand.

 b) Quality factors:

 The concentration and composition of dissolved constituents in water determines the quality of irrigation use. The various impurities which make the water unfit for irrigation are as follows:

 i) Sediment concentration in water

ii) The total concentration of soluble salts

iii) Potentially toxic elements 

iv) Bacterial contamination

  i) Sediment concentration in water:

The result of sediment gift within the irrigation water depends upon the sort of irrigated land. When the sediment from water is deposited on sandy soil the fertility is improved but if the sediment has been derived from the eroded areas it may reduce the fertility or decrease the soil permeability. Sedimented water creates troubles in irrigation canals by causing canal siltation and by increasing maintenance costs.

ii) The total concentration of soluble salts:

 Salts of calcium, magnesium sodium and potassium present in irrigation water may cause injurious to plants. When these salts are present in the excessive amount they reduce the osmotic activities of plants and may cause injury to plant growth.

At the beginning of irrigation with undesirable water, no harm may be evident but with the passage of time, the salt concentration in the soil will reach a harmful level.

 iii) Potentially toxic elements :

A large variety of components like element, Selenium etc.may be toxic to plants. Traces of Boron are essential to plant growth but its concentration above 0.3 ppm may prove toxic to certain plants. Selenium even in low concentration is toxicant and should be avoided. Boron is essential to present in various soaps. Therefore soap water should be used with great care in irrigation.

 iv) Bacterial contamination:

Water contaminated with bacterias may be useful or harmful to plants according to the nature of bacteria’s towards plants.

 c). Location of source: 

Source of irrigation canal should be as near as possible to the command area. Nearer the source lesser the losses, Construction cost and maintenance cost.

d). Conflict:

Source of water selected should be free from conflict or dispute or the dispute should be managed. 


For Command Area and types: Click here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *