Sprinkler or overhead irrigation
This method of irrigation is generally adopted in an area having uneven topography and where erosion hazards are great and the surface irrigation is not congenial. In this system, water is conveyed under pressure through pipes to the area to be irrigated where it is passed out through nozzles or sprinklers. The system comprises four parts such as power generator, pump, pipe lines and sprinkler.
Classification of sprinkler irrigation
a. Permanent system: This is generally adopted in nurseries and orchards. In this system, the pipes (both main and lateral) are buried underground permanently and the area to be irrigated is served by rotating wide-radius sprinklers. The pipes buried underground do not interfere the tillage operation. Installation cost is much higher, but labour and maintenance costs are less than that of semi-permanent or portable system.
b. Semi-permanent system: In this system, the main lines are buried and laterals are portable. The installation cost is somewhat less than the permanent system, but labour and maintenance cost is more.
c. Portable system: In this system the main and lateral lines are portable. So it can be used in different fields as needed. The installation cost is less, but the labour and maintenance cost is high.
d. Semi-portable system: In this system, the pumping device is kept permanent and the others are portable.
Advantages of sprinkler irrigation
i. This method can be used effectively in an area where surface irrigation is not feasible.
ii. This is a very suitable method for irrigating shallow sandy soils of uneven topography where levelling is not practicable for surface irrigation.
iii. Control of irrigation and water management is possible.
iv. This is a suitable method in all areas where water and labour are scarce.
v. Water soluble fertilizers can be very effectively applied through sprinklers.
vi. Irrigation water is applied on plants and soil. Soil gets sufficient time to absorb the water.
vii. It is a good method for irrigating young plants and in the lawns.
viii. No wastage of land as it does not involve the preparation of channel.
ix. It is also used for cooling the plants during high temperature and for frost protection during freezing temperature.
Disadvantages of sprinkler irrigation
i. The original cost along with operation and management cost is high.
ii. Application of water is affected if the wind velocity is high.
iii. Evaporation loss of water especially in clay soil is high.
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