Benefits of Irrigation in Agriculture
Without agriculture, man can’t live and without irrigation man can’t have agriculture.
Food is essential for human beings as well for animals for their sustenance. Before irrigation, man satisfied his hunger by eating fruits from the forest and drinking water from natural streams. Slowly his demands grew and he felt the need of different types of food. He started cultivating and grew crops. Agriculture was his sole occupation. He depended mainly on rainwater to water the crops, but nature did not favor him always. Occasionally droughts were severe and there was a consequent lack of harvest. There was a need for irrigation and he started to use water from ponds, streams and rivers for agriculture.
Irrigation is defined as the supplementation of precipitation by storage and transportation of water to the fields for the proper growth of agricultural crops. Archaeological studies have revealed that irrigation benefits in agriculture was in vogue even during prehistoric times as sufficient water was not available from the rain.
The Sumerians of Mesopotamia were the first to use irrigation for agriculture. They utilized the waters drawn from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In Persia, presently Iran, the Kareze irrigation system was developed about 3000 years ago. Crop rotation was also practiced at that time in which crops were yearly alternated on the same field. The purpose was to restore nutrients that had been used and depleted. In North America, Spanish and Americans built canals along the Rio Grande. With the development of agriculture, irrigation became more pronounced in the Indus Valley, presently India and Pakistan. Egyptians utilized water from the Nile River for irrigation.
Today 689 million acres of agricultural land are equipped with irrigation facilities across the whole world. Out of this, 68% of irrigated land is in Asia, 17% in North America, 9% in Europe, 5% in Africa and 1% in Oceania.