The importance of irrigation water in crop production cannot be overstated. It is widely recognized that efficient use of irrigation water not only enhances crop productivity but also optimizes the use of other non-water inputs. Unfortunately, the province of Punjab has been grappling with a severe shortage of irrigation water for several years, exacerbating the challenges faced by its highly productive resource base. Compounding the issue is the inefficient use of the limited water resources available.
To tackle this problem, the adoption of High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS) has emerged as a viable solution. HEIS are designed to maximize the efficiency of water and nutrient application, minimizing losses and optimizing resource utilization. These systems employ advanced technologies such as drip irrigation, precision sprinklers, and micro-irrigation techniques, which deliver water directly to the roots of plants in a controlled manner.
By implementing HEIS, Punjab can address several crop production issues simultaneously. Firstly, these systems significantly reduce water wastage through evaporation, runoff, and deep percolation, thereby maximizing the use of limited water supplies. Secondly, HEIS facilitate precision irrigation, enabling farmers to deliver water and nutrients directly to the root zone of crops, promoting healthier growth and reducing the risk of water stress. Thirdly, the controlled application of water and nutrients through HEIS helps to prevent over-irrigation and leaching, minimizing the negative environmental impacts associated with excessive fertilizer use.
Furthermore, HEIS can enhance overall agricultural productivity by improving crop yields, increasing water and nutrient use efficiency, and reducing production costs. The adoption of these systems can also lead to sustainable water management practices, ensuring long-term agricultural viability in Punjab.
In conclusion, given the critical importance of irrigation water in crop production, addressing the water shortage and improving the efficient use of available resources in Punjab is of utmost importance. High Efficiency Irrigation Systems offer a promising solution to these challenges by maximizing water and nutrient efficiency, enhancing crop productivity, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices
Types of High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS)
High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEISs) encompass various types of irrigation techniques that aim to optimize water and nutrient application. Here are some commonly used types of HEIS:
- Drip Irrigation: In drip irrigation, water is delivered directly to the root zone of plants through a network of tubes or pipes with small emitters. These emitters release water in the form of droplets, allowing for precise and localized irrigation. Drip irrigation is efficient in terms of water usage, reduces weed growth, and minimizes water runoff.
- Bubbler Irrigation: Bubbler irrigation is similar to drip irrigation but uses micro sprinklers mounted on small spikes. These sprinklers emit water in a gentle manner, creating a bubbling effect around the plants. Bubbler irrigation is suitable for plants that require higher water application rates and is commonly used in orchards and vineyards.
- Conventional Sprinkler Irrigation: Conventional sprinkler irrigation involves the use of overhead sprinklers that distribute water over the crop area. The sprinklers rotate or oscillate, covering a large area. While this method is widely used, it is less water-efficient compared to drip or bubbler irrigation due to potential evaporation and wind drift.
- Center Pivot Irrigation: Center pivot irrigation systems consist of a long, rotating arm that pivots around a central point, irrigating a circular area. Sprinklers are mounted on the arm, and water is evenly distributed as the system moves in a circular motion. Center pivot irrigation is commonly used in large-scale agriculture and provides uniform water coverage over a vast area.
- Rain-Gun Irrigation: Rain-gun irrigation systems involve the use of large sprinklers or "rain guns" that project water in a high arc over the field. These systems are typically used in open-field agriculture and are capable of covering large areas with water. Rain-gun irrigation is useful for quick and efficient watering, but it may have higher water losses due to wind drift and evaporation.
These are just a few examples of the types of HEISs available. Each system has its advantages and is suited for different crop types, field sizes, and water availability. The choice of HEIS depends on factors such as crop requirements, water availability, soil type, and farm management practices.
Schematic Diagram of Pressurized Irrigation System
Basic field layout of High Efficiency (pressurized) Irrigation System is shown below:
Cost Sharing Arrangements for High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS) in Punjab
To promote the adoption of High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS), the government implements cost sharing arrangements in which they subsidize a significant portion of the total system cost. Under these arrangements, the government offers a subsidy of 60 percent of the installation cost for HEIS on up to 15 acres of land. The remaining costs are then covered by the beneficiary farmers.
In addition to the system installation subsidy, the government also provides a subsidy of 60 percent of the scheme cost for constructing a water storage pond, if it is deemed necessary based on site-specific technical requirements. The decision to construct a water storage pond takes into account factors such as water availability, topography, and irrigation needs.
By offering these cost sharing arrangements, the government aims to make HEIS more affordable and accessible to farmers. By sharing the financial burden, the government encourages farmers to adopt these water-efficient irrigation technologies, which can lead to improved agricultural productivity, better water management, and increased sustainability.
These cost sharing arrangements help address the issue of irrigation water shortage in Punjab while also promoting the efficient use of available resources.
Impacts of High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS) at the Farm Level
The impact assessment study conducted by PIPIP Monitoring and Evaluation Consultants in 2018 evaluated the effects of High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS) at the farm level. The study revealed the following impacts:
- Water Saving: HEIS resulted in a significant water saving of 50 percent compared to traditional irrigation methods.
- Crop Yield Enhancement: Farmers using HEIS experienced a yield increase ranging from 20 to 100 percent, indicating improved productivity.
- Fertilizer Use Reduction: HEIS facilitated better nutrient management, leading to a reduction in fertilizer use by 40 percent.
- Orchards Maturing Earlier: Fruit orchards using HEIS were observed to mature earlier, resulting in faster fruit production within one to two years.
- Early Picking of Vegetables: Vegetable crops irrigated with HEIS could be harvested 10 to 15 days earlier than those using conventional irrigation methods.
- Value Addition: HEIS contributed to improved produce quality, enhancing the overall value of agricultural products.
- Increase in Net Farm Income: The adoption of HEIS resulted in an increase in net farm income per acre per annum, with an average gain of PKR 75,000.
- Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR): The EIRR for HEIS was calculated at 35.1 percent, indicating a positive economic impact and return on investment.
These findings highlight the positive and significant impacts of HEIS implementation, including water savings, yield enhancements, reduced fertilizer use, earlier maturation of orchards and vegetables, improved produce quality, increased farm income, and a favorable economic return on investment.
Procedure for getting the facility
- Obtain Application Form:
- Visit the office of Deputy Director Agriculture (OFWM)/Assistant Director Agriculture (OFWM) to collect the application form.
- Alternatively, download the application form from the official website of OFWM (www.ofwm.agripunjab.gov.pk).
- Gather Additional Information:
- For any further details or inquiries, contact the provincial, divisional, district, or tehsil level OFWM offices.
- Access the OFWM website (www.ofwm.agripunjab.gov.pk) to find additional information regarding HEIS facility.
It is recommended to carefully follow the instructions provided in the application form and seek clarification from the relevant authorities if needed. By adhering to the specified procedure and obtaining necessary information, interested individuals can proceed with the application process for availing the High Efficiency Irrigation Systems (HEIS) facility.