Water is an important natural resource and is the very basic of our life. We use water for drinking, irrigation, industry, transport, domestic purposes and for the production of hydro-electricity. Water is a cyclic resource which can be used again and again after cleaning. The best way to conserve water is by using it wisely.
We can save water in many ways. Few of them are By protecting water pollution, by recycling the waste water, by renewing the traditional water resources, usage of modern irrigation techniques.
A large quantity of water is used for irrigation and there is an urgent need for proper water management in irrigation sector. Wasteful use of water should be checked. Sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation can play a crucial role in conserving scarce water resources in dry areas. Drip irrigation and sprinkles can save anywhere between 30 to 60 per cent of water.
In a 30-year farm systems trial, the Rodale Institute found that corn grown in organic fields had 30 percent greater yields than conventional fields in years of drought. In addition to keeping many of the more toxic pesticides out of our waterways, organic methods help retain soil moisture. Healthy soil that is rich in organic matter and microbial life serves as a sponge that delivers moisture to plants. The trial also found that organic fields can recharge groundwater supplies up to 20 percent.
Compost, or decomposed organic matter used as fertilizer, has been found to improve soil structure, increasing its water-holding capacity. Mulch is a material spread on top of the soil to conserve moisture. Mulch made from organic materials such as straw or wood chips will break down into compost, further increasing the soil’s ability to retain water.
Rotational grazing is a process in which livestock are moved between fields to help promote pasture regrowth. Good grazing management increases the fields’ water absorption and decreases water runoff, making pastures more drought-resistant. Increased soil organic matter and better forage cover are also water-saving benefits of rotational grazing.
Many farms rely on local ponds or wells (groundwater), while some have built their own ponds to capture and store rainfall for use throughout the year i.e. rain water harvesting. Hence we prefer to use rain water harvesting methods rather than to rely on ground water.
Rain water harvesting
Rain water harvesting is one of the most effective methods of water management and water conservation. It is the term used to indicate the collection and storage of rain water used for human, animals and plant needs. It involves collection, storage of rain water and reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off. These stored waters are used for various purposes such as gardening, irrigation etc. Various successful methods of rainwater harvesting methods we use are:
1. Surface runoff harvesting
2. On-farm pond
3. Inter-row systems
Surface runoff harvesting
In urban area rainwater flows away as surface runoff. This runoff could be caught and used for recharging aquifers by In areas where the surface soil is impervious and large quantities of roof water or surface runoff is available within a very short period of heavy rainfall, the use of trench/pits is made to store the water in a filter media and subsequently recharge to ground water through specially constructed recharge wells.
A farm pond is a large hole dug out in the earth, usually square or rectangular in shape, which harvests rainwater and stores it for future use. It has an inlet to regulate inflow and an outlet to discharge excess water. The pond is surrounded by a small bund, which prevents erosion on the banks of the pond the local term is “Embung”. This water pond can be used to collect water during wet season and to use for irrigation during dry season
Inter-row spacing, also called roaded catchments, may be the best technique to apply on flat lands. Triangular cross sectional bunds or levees are constructed along the main slope of the land. The bunds height ranging from 40 to 100 cm, are built at distances of 2-10 m, runoff flowing down the slope is collected between the ridges and either directed to a reservoir at the end of a feed canal or to a crop cultivated between the ridges. The catchments area has to be weeded and compacted on a regular basis to maintain high runoff output.