Sources of irrigation:

Wells, tube wells, ponds, lakes, rivers, dams and canals.


Water is important for the proper growth and development of plants.

  • Water is essential because the germination of seeds does not take place under dry conditions.
  • Water also protects crops from both frost and hot air currents.
  • The supply of water to crops at different intervals is called irrigation.
  • A proper irrigation system will ensure timely and adequate water for crops. This will lead to more yield.
  • The water available in wells, lakes and canals is lifted by different methods in different regions, for taking it to the fields.

Traditional methods of irrigation:

Traditional irrigation methods can be of two types:

Ones that use cattle and human labor: 

  • They are cheaper but less efficient. These include:
  • Ones that use pumps: To lift water, pumps can be powered by:
    • Diesel,
    • Biogas,
    • Electricity, and
    • Solar Energy.
Moat (Pulley System)
Chain Pump
Rahat (Lever System)

Video Reference:

Modern Methods of Irrigation

They are best for saving water. Two main irrigation methods in use today are:

  • Sprinkler System

Best for places where:

  • the land is uneven
  • sufficient water is not available.
  • Sprinkler system: In this system, the perpendicular pipes, having rotating nozzles on top are joined to the main pipeline at regular intervals. When water is allowed to flow through the main pipeline under pressure with the help of a pump, it sprinkles from the rotating nozzles. It gets sprinkled on the crops as if it is raining.

It has perpendicular pipes, with rotating nozzles on top, joined to the main pipeline at regular intervals. Water flows through the main pipeline under pressure (created with the help of a pump). It escapes from rotating nozzles and sprinkles on the crop like rain.

Often used in watering:

  • Lawns, and
  • Coffee plantations.
  • Drip system: In this system, the waterfalls drop by drop just at the position of the roots. So it is called the drip system.

Best for places where:

  • availability of water is poor.

Waterfalls drop-by-drop directly near the roots of the crop. There is no wastage of water at all.

Often used in watering:

  • Fruit Plants,
  • Gardens
  • Trees

How does over-irrigation harmful to crop production?

Like irregular or under-irrigation, excessive water can also damage crops. In a waterlogged field:

  • Seeds do not germinate properly as they do not get sufficient air to respire,
  • Roots do not grow properly due to lack of proper soil aeration,
  • Water evaporates more which leads to the accumulation of salt which in turn damages soil fertility, and
  • Roots do not go deep in the soil and hence, plants are not able to get full nutrients from the soil. Roots are also unable to anchor the plants properly and the crop can easily get damaged by strong winds.