WATER CRISIS & DRIP IRRIGATION
Keeping in view the current water scenario of Pakistan, the country is forced to adopt precautionary measures including drip irrigation system which is suitable for crop cultivation when irrigation water or rainwater is occasional for conventional farming. This technology is being used on wide scale all over the world. In Pakistan, it has also been adopted by many farmers across Punjab because of acute shortage of river water and limited rainfall. In collaboration with the World Bank,the government of Punjab is all set to encourage drip irrigation in the province as part of ongoing Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project in order to overcome water scarcity. Under the project, the department is installing drip and sprinkler irrigation systems on farms at subsidised charges. Depending on how well designed, installed, maintained, and operated it is, a drip irrigation system can be more efficient than other types of irrigation systems, such as surface irrigation or sprinkler irrigation.
It is time to create awareness among farmers of the drip irrigation system with a view to its high efficiency in conserving water, increasing per-acre yield and reducing cost of cultivation. Due to the water scarcity, the farmers need to make the most of water for irrigation purpose. Drip irrigation is the technology with the help of which they can save 60% of electricity and diesel costs as well as enhance per-acre yield by 100%. The government is helping farmers adopt this system by providing drip irrigation equipment at subsidised rates and 60% subsidy on installation. The government is said to provide drip irrigation technology to the farmers at subsidised rates with financial assistance of the World Bank.
It has been estimated that drip irrigation saves 40-50% of fertiliser consumption. At present, the drip irrigation system is used for small-scale cultivation over 12.5 acres of land. However, other techniques and methods are being adopted to extend the programme for large-scale plantation. Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation system that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. The goal is to place water directly into the root zone and minimize evaporation. Drip irrigation systems distribute water through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters.
Drip irrigation may also use devices called micro-spray heads, which spray water in a small area, instead of dripping emitters. These are generally used on tree and vine crops with wider root zones. Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) uses permanently or temporarily buried dripperline or drip tape located at or below the plant roots. It is becoming popular for row crop irrigation, especially in areas where water supplies are limited or recycled water is used for irrigation. Careful study of all the relevant factors like land topography, soil, water, crop and agro-climatic conditions are needed to determine the most suitable drip irrigation system and components to be used in a specific installation.
We, the humans on earth are the funny creature: We search for water on other planets while let the water fritter on our planet. By 2025, more than 3.5 billion people will be living in water-stressed areas in different parts of the world. Water stress happens when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use. Water stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity. Alarmingly, more than 663 million people in the world live without clean water. And drought is a major challenge in geographies ranging from Northern California to East Africa. It is informative to note that California faces its worst drought in 1,200 years while in East Africa, a devastating drought has led to crop failures affecting an estimated 23 million people.