6 Types of Irrigation Systems used in Agriculture

Irrigation is the application of sufficient water to the soil to support the crop the requirements. With the passing time, there was a development of various irrigation methods to meet the specific requirements of crop and soil.

Types of irrigation methods are

  1. Surface irrigation method
  2. Drip irrigation method
  3. Sprinkler irrigation method

Surface irrigation method:

Here the water is applied to the field with the help of gravitational force. Around 85% of irrigation in the world is given by surface irrigation methods.

Drip irrigation method:

Here water is provided as small droplets to the soil at frequent intervals with the help of emitters. It reduces water losses, minimizes weed formation, and increases productivity.

Sprinkler irrigation method:

In sprinkler irrigation method water is applied over the field under pressure in the form of a spray.

types of irrigation

Surface irrigation:

Surface irrigation is mainly used in field crops and orchards. In this methods gravity is used to supply the water from source of irrigation to the crop with the help of canals, pipes, etc. mainly the efficiency of this method of irrigation depends on type of soil and crop, etc. among all irrigation methods water losses are higher in this method so, it is said to be least efficient method of irrigation among all methods. Mainly there are 3 types in surface irrigation method

  • Furrow irrigation
  • Basin irrigation
  • Border irrigation

Furrow irrigation:

In this water is irrigated to the field in furrows spaced between 0.1 to 0.3 meters. It can be operated with less technical knowledge, whereas drip and sprinkler methods require technical knowledge. Furrow method also requires less capital investment. This regulation of water flow is difficult. It is suitable for crops like maize, sorghum which are sown in rows. In the fields with higher slope low infiltration rates and in fields with the lower slope, higher inflow rates are required to irrigate the field uniformly. Generally, siphon tubes are used to supply the water to the furrows from the ditches.

Basin irrigation

It is one of the types of surface irrigation methods. In this, a basin, which is proportionate to the size of the tree is prepared. It is mostly used in orchards. After making basins all these are connected with each other and with irrigation channels. Thus, water moves from one basin to another basin by irrigating the previous basin. In this method of irrigation, there might be the tendency of contamination of pests and diseases from one tree to another through irrigation water. We can also practice inter cultivation if we opt for this method of irrigation.

Border irrigation

Types of irrigation
Border irrigation using more water for land irrigation.

It is an old method of irrigation. In this method, the field is divided into the blocks, and borders are made with the help of earth. In this method, water flows between dikes that divides the sloping field into rectangular strips with free drainage at an end. The purpose of the dikes is mainly to contain water as it flows across the field. This method is most suitable for the fields with slopes compared to the basin method.

Drip irrigation

This system of irrigation mainly supplies the water to the crop as per the consumptive use. Drip irrigation is the high water use efficient system among all methods of irrigation. In arid regions of the world, it is the most required method of irrigation. The main problems in the arid region limited water resources and undulated land; both of these problems can be overcome by installing drip irrigation.

It has mainly four components which are suction, regulation, control, and the final one is discharged, which are accomplished by water lifting pump, hydro cyclone filter, sand filter, fertilizer mixing tank, screen filter, pressure regulator, water meter, mainline, lateral and drippers. To supply water with a pressure water lifting pump is essential. After lifting, water will pass through hydro cyclone filter, sand filter, fertilizer mixing tank, and screen filter finally through drippers. All these filters are essential to the smooth flow of water through drippers; otherwise, pipelines may tend to clog.

Types of drip irrigation

High-pressure drip irrigation system: which works at operating pressure of 30 psi or more.

Low-pressure drip irrigation system: It works at an operating pressure of less than 30 psi.

Advantages of drip irrigation:

  • It saves around 30-70 % of water.
  • It also saves cost labor.
  • Use of hilly terrain
  • It also decreases the weed problem.
  • It also increases plant growth, vigor, and yield.
  • Facilitate easy intercultural operations.
  • Ease the fertilizer application
  • Fewer incidences of various diseases.
  • It is most suitable for light soils.
  • Utilization of low-quality water.