Different Methods of Irrigation

There are different methods of irrigation - surface and subsurface irrigation, drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation. Surface irrigation is further classified into strip irrigation, border irrigation, check irrigation, furrow irrigation

Supplying sufficient water at the required time is the sole advantage of studying irrigation. The important methods of irrigation are


  • Surface Irrigation

  • Subsurface Irrigation

  • Drip Irrigation

  • Sprinkler Irrigation


The amount of water required is also dependent on soil characteristics like permeability of soil, moisture holding capacity of soil and so on.


Surface Irrigation


Water supply to the plants on the surface. Flooding is the type of surface irrigation, which means the direct application of water to the field. There are two types of flooding, called


  1. Uncontrolled/Wild Flooding: Quantity and the direction of flow is not under the control

  2. Controlled/Free flooding: Controlled distribution of water from the outlet. Again in controlled flooding, there are various types of irrigation methods possible.


Border/Strip Irrigation


Strips of earth bunds/levees are constructed. Water then supplied from the ditch to the field. Lengths of strips may vary around 100-400 m. Space between the strips may vary around 10-20 m. The slope of the strips should be less than 2%.

Check Irrigation


This type of irrigation is adopted when there are levelled agricultural lands. The lands are enclosed by the bunds. In the land, water gets stagnated for a long duration.


Example: Irrigation of Rice


Basin Flood Irrigation


This is a special type of check irrigation. Basins are formed instead of level plots. Irrigation of Orchard trees is one of the examples of basin flood irrigation.


Furrow Irrigation


Small channels of water are called furrows. In this type of irrigation, the plant is not in contact with water directly. ⅕th to ½ nd of the land gets wetted, so less possibility of evaporation. It is used for crops like Maize.

Subsurface Irrigation


In this type of irrigation water gets supplied to the plants below the ground through pipes, to the root zone. Less evaporation occurs as the water is not exposed to the atmosphere.


Sprinkler Irrigation


Water supply through the sprinkler system in this irrigation. Uniform distribution of water takes place. This is a slightly costly system of irrigation.


Drip Irrigation


Water supply to each plant through drop by drop. In this irrigation maximum utilization of water takes place. This irrigation is not suitable for the crops of closely spaced plants.

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