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Micro-Irrigation for Sustainable Water Management in Agriculture

D.K. Singh and R.M. Singh

Agriculture is the largest user of fresh water for irrigation to fulfill the increasing demand of food, feed, fiber, fuel and other need of ever- increasing population. Water availability to agriculture is characterized by declining in share with time, over exploitation, improper mismanagement, deterioration in quality as well as environment. This could be addressed using sustainable management of irrigation water. As per the Brundtland Commission report of United Nations, sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable water management aims to improve water productivity, availability and quality over an area. Improved and efficient irrigation techniques and practices enhance water application efficiencies, and thereby reduction in associated damage to environment, which include water logging, soil salinity, runoff and leaching of nutrients and other chemicals polluting water sources, and over exploitation of ground water. Micro irrigation systems have been characterized to be the most efficient irrigation techniques. These have efficiencies even more than 90%, doubled water productivity with improved quality of produce, reduced runoff and leaching of nutrients and chemicals to water sources. Application of fertilizer through drip irrigation called furtigation could be adopted for efficient use and saving of fertilizer, fertilizer savings of 2060% and 8-41% increase in yields of horticulture and vegetable crops has been realized through furtigation. Micro irrigation is getting popularity having large potential due to its being economic feasible, widely accepted in society and environment friendly. Therefore, micro irrigation systems could be used for sustainable water management.

 
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