3 Different Methods Of Irrigation

Irrigation is the process of supply of additional water to the crops through different irrigation channels. There are different methods of irrigation with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Billions of people around the world are involved in Agriculture. For this, Irrigation is crucial. Without water we can’t produce food grains. However, Due to lack of irrigation, lands are drying out and farmers are suffering.

Earlier people following traditional farming methods doesn’t have proper irrigation facilities. There were different problems. So, To help all the people involved in agriculture, Scientific methods of irrigation have been developed which are efficient in providing water to the crops as well as saving it.

First, we will look into this image which can make clear about the different types of irrigation.

Methods Of Irrigation

Methods of irrigation

Broadly irrigation is classified into 3 methods. They are:-

1. Surface Irrigation

2. Sub Surface Irrigation

3. Sprinkler Irrigation

1. Surface Irrigation

It is a method of irrigation in which we supply water to our soil surface and it covers the whole field with the help of gravity. We don’t have to do work here. It is the most common. 90 % of the world’s total irrigated land is under this method.

This type of irrigation is further divided into 3 types:-

  • Flooding Method

Flooding Method Of Irrigation

Img Source: Farmer’s Weekly

This method is old and people practicing traditional farming methods still use this method. It is best suited to areas with an abundant amount of water. The crops like Rice plants which require water in large quantities are irrigated by this method. However, It isn’t effective as there is loss of water, increased salinity and more evaporation loss. Types of flooding irrigation are:-

A. Free Flooding

In this method, Water can flow in all directions inside the field. There is no anything to control the flow of water in a certain direction.

B. Zig Zag Flooding

In this method, The stream channel is made in zigZag way Inside the plot. Water is supplied to the field channel from where it goes in a path, irrigated the land and finally released from outlet.

C. Controlled Flooding

Under control flooding method, There different types of irrigation like:-

1. Counter Flooding

Contour Irrigation Method

This type of irrigation is applied in hilly regions where fields are made by making bunds. The slope is more, So to hold water, land is divided into different fields and is boarded with bunds.

2. Border Strip Method

Border Strip Method Of Irrigation

In this type of irrigation system, the agriculture field is divided into narrow strips. There is an irrigation channel along the breadth of the field. From that channel, the water is passed to every rectangular narrow strip. The length of the strip shouldn’t be longer than 300 m and the width of the narrow strip shouldn’t be more than 20 m.

3. Furrow Irrigation

Furrow Method Of Irrigation

In this, Furrow and Ridges are made along the field. A main pipe is laid around the breadth of the field. In that pipe we made holes (Outlet) near every furrow. When water is supplied through a pipe, It goes in each furrow with the help of gravity. The crops are planted on ridges. Furrow works as a stream of water which laterally transfers water to ridges which is ultimately used by crops. In this method, only ⅕ th to ½ th field is irrigated. This saves water. One thing to remember is, this method only works for the crops sown in row like Potatoes, Tomatoes, Groundnut, Cotton, Sorghum, Sugarcane. It cannot be used for the field where broadcasting method is used for sowing seeds. This type of irrigation isn’t suitable for sandy soil (Due To High Porosity). The main advantage of this method is that water loss through infiltration is less (Max loss Of Water= 50% and Average = 20%). There are 3 types of Furrow irrigation: 1) All Furrow 2) Alternative Furrow Irrigation 3) Skip Furrow

4. Check Basin

The field is divided into numbers of small plots into square or rectangular fields. These plots are irrigated individually until the desired depth of the water is maintained. Each plot is checked by bunds.

5. Ring Basin
Ring Basin Irrigation

Ring basin method of irrigation is mainly used for Orchard gardens where fruits are grown. In this method, A circular ditch of a certain diameter is made in which water is supplied.

2. Sub Surface Irrigation

Drip irrigation system

This method a type of Drip Irrigation. Drip irrigation can be provided from both above the surface and below soil surface (Sub-Surface Irrigation). This technique was first innovated in Israel. It is best suited for the area with less water availability, dry and hot climate. In this type, water is supplied from under the soil surface. The water level is maintained at the root zone of the crop (30-75) cm below the surface by the help of pipes. There is provision of one main inlet and several outlets in each plant root zone. The main advantages are:-

✓No Evaporation Loss

✓No Infiltration loss

✓No Percolation Loss

✓Water is applied to the root zone. So, There is no irrigation barren land which saves water to a great extent.

However, There are some things to know, Saline water should be avoided as it can cause blockade of pipes. The water should be clean. The investment cost is high.

3. Sprinkler Irrigation

Sprinkler Irrigation Method

This method uses water pressure. It is like artificial rain. It is also known as pressurized type of irrigation. It is a modern system. The water drops above the leaves. That’s why, It is called overhead irrigation.

The water is supplied through pipes which are connected with nozzles at the end which generates the pressure and supplies the water in a large area. The rate of water supplied should be always less than the Infiltration rate which prevents water lodging.

There are two types of Sprinkles: Rotating Head and Perforated Pipe System. Rotating head is extensively used in gardens. Perforated type is used to save money.


✓Suitable for sloped land

✓No risk of soil erosion

✓Can be used in Sandy soil

The disadvantage are:-

✓More Evaporation


✓Can’t Be Used For Tall Crops

✓Can’t Be Used In Area With Fast Wind

✓Can’t Be Used In Clay Soil

Thus , These were the most commonly followed methods of irrigation.