Perspective of high efficiency irrigation system

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The geographical area of Pakistan is 79.6 million hectares. The area under cultivation is about 27 percent. Out of this area, 80

percent is irrigated. Competition for water supplies among, industry, domestic, agricultureand environment is a worldwide

phenomenon and same is true in Pakistan. In Pakistan up to 30 % water availability decreased was reported. The constraints

in efficient utilization of irrigation water are small water streams, soil with high/ low infiltration rate, uneven topography

and unreliable water supplies. High efficiency irrigation system provides an opportunity to utilize irrigation water in an

efficient way under these set of conditions. High efficiency irrigation system is also called drip irrigation and trickle irrigation


Drip or trickle irrigation is a very efficient method of applying water and nutrients to crops. For many crops, the conversion

from sprinkler to drip irrigation can reduce water use by 50 percent.Basically a frequent and slow application of water is

done through drip irrigation system either directly onto the land surface or into the root zone of the crop by mechanical

devices called emitters or applicators that are located at selected points along with the water delivery lines. High efficient

system or drip irrigation system is always based on the fundamental concept of irrigating that target the root zone of the

crop instead of the entire land surface.

The uniform application of drip irrigation is not affected by wind because the water is applied above the surface. About 90%

of an application efficiency cab be achieved by well-designed and maintained drip irrigation system. Generally it is suitable

vegetables, for row crops or for growing new orchards.

Crop yields can be increased by improved water and fertility management, disease and weed pressure can also be reduced.

When drip irrigation is used with polyethylene mulch, yields can be increased even advance.


There are two types of trickle/drip irrigation systems that can be installed. These are:

i) On-surface drip:

The slowly but continuous application of water as discrete drops. It is most suitable for very young trees or new plantation in

the orchards.

ii) Sub-surface drip:

It is also the application of water below the soil surface. But it is most suitable for shallow rooted crops like vegetables,

strawberries etc.


i. Water saving is the main advantage of this system because through this system water evaporation losses is


ii. Due to supply of water more precisely high levels of water-use efficiency are achieved.

iii. Under a wide range of field conditions irrigation can be done.

iv. Significant weed control is done through this system.

v. Lower-volume water sources can be used because it may require less than half of the water needed for sprinkler


vi. Fertilizer can be injected in this system with irrigation.

vii. Labor requirement is low and extensive automation is possible.

viii. It requires low energy requirements while achieving objectively high application uniformity.

ix. Bacteria, Fungi, pest and diseases are reduced because plant foliage remain dry.

x. Cultural operations, such as harvesting, can continue during irrigation because between rows the areas remain dry.


i. The initial investment costs per acre as compare to other irrigation system may be higher.

ii. Due to continue wetting of roots, plant stability to withstand against wind reduces.

iii. Clogging of system components occur by physical, chemical and biological factors.

iv. Water filtration is necessary to prevent clogging.

v. A qualified agricultural engineer or irrigation operator is required to design drip irrigation system.

By using High efficiency irrigation system yield of crops can be increased and as well as water use efficiency

can also be increased.


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