Agriculture technology

2 Types of the Irrigation system in India

Written by Dr. Shaun Murphy

Here are 2 types of Irrigation systems in India and also the importance of water for plants. All living beings need water to live. Water is very important for the growth and development of plants, flowers, and seeds.

Plants contain nearly 90% water. This is an important method to save water while irrigation in the field. that’s why we need a good Irrigation system.

Importance Of Water For Plants

  • Water is essential because the germination of seeds does not take place under dry conditions.
  • Water helps in some physical processes like photosynthesis.
  • Water is absorbed by the plant roots. It required for proper plant growth.
  • Nutrients dissolved in water and get transported to each part of the plant.
  • Water helps to maintain the surface of plants.
  • Water protects the crop from both frost and hot air currents.

Types Of Irrigation System in India

  1. sprinkler irrigation system
  2. Drip irrigation system

Sprinkler Irrigation System

In this irrigation method, water is sprayed into the air and it looked like rainfall for the plants. The spray is developed by the flow of water under pressure through small nozzles.

The pressure is usually obtained by pumping. Operating pressure, careful selection of nozzle, and sprinkler spacing the amount of irrigation water required to refill the crop root zone can be applied nearly uniform at the rate to suit the infiltration rate of the soil.

Sprinkler irrigation system

Sprinkler irrigation system;

Components Of Sprinkler Irrigation System

  1. A pump unit
  2. Sub main and laterals
  3. couplers
  4. Sprinkler head
  5. Other accessories such as valves, bends, plugs, and risers


  • When water is limited
  • Uneven topography of the land
  • Nursery of crops, Which required rainfall type irrigation
  • Sandy soils that have a high infiltration rate
  • Most field crops except paddy and jute

Advantages of Sprinkler Irrigation system

  1. Water-saving to an extent of 35-40% compared to surface irrigation methods.
  2. This method is suitable for soils that have a high infiltration rate.
  3. Land grading and land leveling is not essential
  4. Suitable for high-value crops, especially fruits and vegetables.
  5. nutrients can be applied with irrigation water, as per the requirement of the crop, and hence increase the fertilizer use efficiency by more than 40%.
  6. Controlled application leads to higher application efficiency.
  7. Irrigation is possible in areas at a higher elevation than the source.
  8. Drainage problems eliminated.

Disadvantages of Sprinkler Irrigation system

  1. High initial cost.
  2. Efficiency is affected by wind.
  3. Higher evaporation losses in spraying water.
  4. Not suitable for tall crops like sugarcane.
  5. Poor quality water can not be used.
  6. Operating and maintenance require technical manpower.
  7. The pollination of crops is adversely affected.

People also read: Agriculture technology in India

2.Drip Irrigation System 

Drip irrigation is also known as trickle irrigation. In this technique, water and fertilizer including chemicals can be placed at the direct disposal of the root zone with the help of a specially designed dripper.

Drip irrigation system

Water is applied continuously in the form of drops or spray through emitters placed along with a low-pressure delivery system. This system provides water directly to the root zone of the plant and maintains ideal moisture conditions for plant growth.

Components Of Drip Irrigation

A. Head control unit.

  1. Pump
  2. Fertilizer applicator
  3. Filters

B. Distribution network

  1. Mean line
  2. Subline
  3. laterals
  4. Drippers

C. Accessories

  1. Gate valve
  2. Tee
  3. Elbow
  4. Endcap
  5. Grommet take off

Advantages of Drip Irrigation system

  • Water-saving
  • Enhanced plant growth and yield of better quality
  • Reduced salinity hazards to plants
  • Fertilizer and other chemical application
  • Higher efficiency of all chemicals
  • Reduced weed growth
  • Labor-saving
  • Highly suited to poor soil
  • Efficiency in cultural operations

Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation system

  • High initial investment.
  • Clogging of dippers by suspended materials, salts-oxides of iron, organic material.
  • Interferes with farm operations and movement of implements and machinery.
  • Operational difficulties: Installation and maintenance.
  • The problem of theft, rodents, etc.
  • Not highly suited to closed-spaced crops like wheat, rice, etc.

Some other methods you must know about it.

1.Well water irrigation system

  • Wells are abundantly found in the states of U. P., Bihar, Tamil Nadu, etc. There are various types of wells like shallow wells, deep wells, tube wells, artesian wells, etc.
  • Shallow wells water is not always available as the level of water goes down during the arid season.
  • Deep well is more suitable as such type of well always has water irrespective of time.
  • A deep tube well worked by electricity can irrigate a much larger area (about 400 hectares) than a surface well (1/2 hectares).
  • Tube-wells are also used for irrigation purposes. Tube wells can be installed and used near agricultural areas where groundwater is readily available.
  • Tube wells are mostly used in states of U.P., Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, and Gujarat.
  • In Rajasthan and Maharashtra, artesian wells are now supplying water to agricultural lands. In artesian wells, the water level remains at a high-level because of the natural flow of water due to high pressure.

2.Reservoir water irrigation system

  • In near Hyderabad areas, water-reservoirs are made by constructing structures across the water bodies. Such structures are referred as dams.
  • This system is greatly adopted in the States of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, etc. Even in Northern India , reservoirs of water are constructed for storing water.
  • From all these reservoirs, water is carried to the fields through canals.

In many places, rain-water harvesting systems are installed and water is stored in large artificial reservoirs to be used for agricultural purposes.

3.Canal irrigation system

  • Canal irrigation is playing a vital role in Indian agriculture. It covers about 42% of total irrigated land. In many places during the rainy season, there is a flood in the rivers.
  • The floodwater is carried to the field through canals. These canals are found in W.B., Bihar, Orissa, etc. They supply water only when there is a flood in the rivers, and therefore, are of no use during the dry season when water is required most.
  • In Punjab, the upper Bari Doab canal connecting the Ravi and the Beas and Sirhind (from the Sutlej) canal is famous.
  • In U.P., the Upper Ganga and the Lower Ganga canals, Agra and Sarda canals, etc. are important.
  • In Tamil Nadu, the most important is the Buckingham canal and the Periyar canal.

4.Multi-purpose river valley projects

  • In recent years, multi-purpose river valley projects are helping in irrigation and the growth of agriculture. The most important river valley projects are:
    • Damodar Valley Project  in West Bengal
    • Mor (Mayurakshi) Project in West Bengal
    • Mahanadi (Hirakud) Project in Orissa
    • Koshi Project in Bihar
    • Bhakra Nangal Project in Punjab

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About the author

Dr. Shaun Murphy