(Last Updated on : 18/03/2014)
Irrigation is required for successful cultivation of crops. Most importantly, adequate and timely supply of water is necessary for the proper growth of the crops. For irrigation in India, different sources of water are available, such as, rain, underground waters, rivers, springs, etc. Rain water is considered as one of the most ideal sources of irrigation if in case it is timely as well as adequately received. But, in this country, rainfall is uncertain, uneven and prominently seasonal. Rainfall in India varies in different regions of the country. Another factor that badly affects irrigation in India is its long dry period. Thus, irrigation is necessary in those areas of the country, which are likely to suffer from droughts due very less rainfall.
It is also a common scenario in the country that even during the rainy season it does not rain for the adequate period and some areas only receive moderate rainfall. As a result, the crops may get badly affected. Therefore, apart from rainfall other sources of water are tapped for successful cultivation of the crops. Through proper and timely irrigation methods, the production of crops including both food and non-food crops can be increased. Besides irrigation, other methods that can increase the crop cultivation in India comprise usage of plant nutrients, improved seeds, improved agricultural procedures and pesticides.
Among all these methods of increasing the cultivation of crops in India, irrigation is regarded as the most effective one as far as improving the agricultural production is concerned. Moreover, by applying the method of irrigation, more developed varieties of crops can be raised. It is true fact that even the improved variety of manures and seeds cannot alone increase the crop yield in the absence of required contribution of water. Further, another significance of irrigation is that secondary crop can be developed during the dry period of the country.
It is not unknown that farmers in India have suffered several miseries because of the failure of sufficient and timely rains. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that failures of adequate rain have brought miseries in several areas of the country. Thus, the process of irrigation was adopted in a bid to save the crops from such vagaries. The traditional means of irrigation includes well, tube well, ponds, rivers, etc. Wells were dug soils were deep as well as rain water were stored. Canals were also made from the rivers. Interestingly, these large numbers of minor and traditional irrigation methods are only found in India and not in any other region of the world. Even today, these minor irrigation procedures are used extensively. One can still find the very old wells and tanks that were built for irrigation in the ancient age. Even, after the independence of the country, stress on the construction several irrigation projects continued.
The major sources of irrigation in India are tanks, canals, wells, springs, etc. Various factors like soil, topography, rivers whether perennial or non-perennial, rainfall conditions and distribution, etc. determine the sources of irrigation in India.