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UPSC Mains Previous Year Questions: Micro Irrigation | Indian Economy for UPSC CSE PDF Download

How and to what extent would micro-irrigation help in solving India’s water crisis? (GS 3 , UPSC 2021)

Introduction
Water is a scarce natural resource but the major requirement in the agricultural sector. The efficient use of available water for irrigation is a major challenge. A nation with annual water availability of below 1,700 kilolitres per head is considered water deficient. India’s per capita water availability is estimated at 1,428 kilolitres per year.
Micro-irrigation is a modern method of irrigation by which water is irrigated through drippers, sprinklers, foggers and by other emitters on the surface or subsurface of the land. Sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation are the commonly used micro-irrigation methods.
Body
Significance of micro-irrigation

  • Micro-irrigation ensures water use efficiency. It applies water directly to the root zone, the practice reduces loss of water through conveyance, run-off, deep percolation and evaporation.
  • Water savings in comparison with flood irrigation are to the tune of 30-50%.
  • Electricity consumption falls significantly, as being water efficient it requires less water to be pumped.
  • The localised water application in micro-irrigation prevents fertilizers from washing away, and so reduces nutrient loss or leaching. The micro-irrigation system can also be effectively used to apply fertilizers (fertigation) in a targeted way so as to prevent weed growth.
  • Micro-irrigation, by virtue of localised water application, avoids soil erosion. It does not require land leveling and can irrigate fields that are irregularly shaped, making it much less labor-intensive and less costly.

Nevertheless, micro-irrigation also has certain limitations

  • Expense especially initial cost is high mainly for marginal and small farmers.
  • Maintenance cost for the tubes, sprinklers may go out of pocket for small farmers.
  • The lifetime of the tubes used in drip irrigation can be shortened by the sun causing wastage.
  • It needs more awareness and a higher rate of adoption in water stressed areas.

Conclusion
The future revolution in agriculture will come from precision farming. Micro-irrigation can, indeed, be the stepping stone for achieving the goal of making farming sustainable, profitable and productive.

Topics Covered - micro irrigation

The document UPSC Mains Previous Year Questions: Micro Irrigation | Indian Economy for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course Indian Economy for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on UPSC Mains Previous Year Questions: Micro Irrigation - Indian Economy for UPSC CSE

1. What is micro irrigation?
Ans. Micro irrigation is a modern irrigation technique that involves the precise application of water and nutrients directly to the root zone of the plants. It uses small-scale irrigation systems such as drip irrigation and sprinklers to deliver water in a controlled manner, minimizing water wastage and maximizing efficiency.
2. What are the benefits of micro irrigation?
Ans. Micro irrigation offers several benefits. Firstly, it helps in conserving water by reducing evaporation and runoff. Secondly, it improves crop yield and quality by ensuring that plants receive the right amount of water and nutrients. Thirdly, it saves energy compared to traditional irrigation methods. Additionally, it minimizes weed growth and soil erosion, and allows for better control of pests and diseases.
3. How does drip irrigation work?
Ans. Drip irrigation is a type of micro irrigation where water is delivered directly to the plant roots through a system of tubes or pipes with small emitters. These emitters release water slowly and in a controlled manner, ensuring that the plants receive a steady supply of moisture. Drip irrigation systems can be automated and can be designed to provide precise amounts of water to different plants or areas.
4. Is micro irrigation suitable for all types of crops?
Ans. Micro irrigation can be used for a wide range of crops, including field crops, orchards, vineyards, and vegetable gardens. It is particularly beneficial for crops that have shallow root systems or require precise water and nutrient management. However, the design and implementation of micro irrigation systems may vary depending on the specific crop and its water requirements.
5. What are the challenges of adopting micro irrigation?
Ans. While micro irrigation offers numerous advantages, there are some challenges associated with its adoption. The initial setup cost of micro irrigation systems can be higher compared to traditional irrigation methods. The systems also require regular maintenance and periodic replacement of parts. Additionally, proper training and technical knowledge are crucial for effective implementation and management of micro irrigation systems.
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