Allah has created every living creature from water (An-Nur, Ayet 45) Water is basic need of every living thing. In agriculture the water is most important thing every crop require water but rate are different. The annual cultivated is 19.72 million hectare out of (19.72 mha), (15.3 mha) is irrigated areas and about (11.4 mha.) irrigated through canals, (2.9 mha.) through the tube wells (0.2mha.) through wells and (0.4 mha.) through other sources.Pakistan is an agricultural country so here water conservation is more important.
Water conservation is policies, proposals and activities to manage water as a sustainable resource, to save the water environment, and to approach current and future human requirements. In simple word water conservation is increase infiltration and decrease runoff.
Why we should conserve water?
The conservation of water in arid areas is important than irrigated because arid agriculture is depend upon rain fall. Every year floods comes we loss much water due to lack of strategies if we make dams we can store these water. Pakistan braves $750 billion loss in 40 years over wastage. Currently 1.2 billion people in the word have limited access to drinking water. Estimated that (2.75 to 14.5%) water is lost in the water courses
Methods of water conservation
There is different method of water conservation as under.This can help to conserve water in the soil.
- Vegetation cover
- Soil structure
- Organic matter
- Strip cropping
- Contour ploughing
- Band making
- Degree of dryness
- Crop density
- Intensity and duration of rainfall
- By mulching
Vegetative cover helps to decrease the runoff and increase the infiltration rate, due to vegetative cover soil have maximum ability to conserve water. Vegetative cover also helpsto control soil erosion caused by water. Vegetative cover hinders the flow of water allow the water to stand in the field thus more water infiltrate into the soil also stop or slows down the runoff. Hence soil having more vegetative cover less prone to soil erosion then less covered soil and ultimately conserve more water.
Soil structure also effect the infiltration and controlling runoff and help to increase the infiltration rate.
Organic matter plays most important role in water conservation the soils which have large amount of organic matter has large capacity to retain water.
In this method grow crops in the form of strips leave fallow field after two or four crop strips. Due to this water is conserve in the soil.
Pieces of land of same heightening are leveled as an independent field water stay in it. When that piece of land is level with the water then it will moves down.
Plough the land perpendicular to the direction of runoff. It will reduce the water runoff. In contour ploughing planting across slopbecause it helps to reduce the speed of water and also reduce the erosion due to that the infiltration rate increase.
By making bund about 6 inches around the field which can reduces the runoff and increase the infiltration rate.
Degree of dryness
Degree of dryness also a method of water conservation, more the soil is dry more will be the infiltration rate.
The crop density plays vital role in water conservation, more plants density increase the infiltration rate and also control the runoff and at the end of we will be conserve water.
Intensity and duration of rainfall
Intensity of rainfall and duration is directly affect the infiltration rate, infiltration will more when the rain is less intense for a short duration, if the rain is more with high intense and long duration reduce the infiltration and increase the runoff and also cause the soil erosion.
Mulch also plays role in water conservation, mulch have different type of mulch which can use for water conservationit may be natural or organic mulch. By mulching we can easily increase the water infiltration and reduce the runoff and finally we conserve water.
Pakistan will not face the water shortage problem if we make strategy to conserve or harvest extra water that we waste every year due lack of infrastructure. We loss large proportion of water every year during monsoon season when floods comes if we make many dame we will reduce the loss of water.The most important point is if we conserve or harvest extra water by different techniques we can increase the land area under cultivation because water availability is serious problem in many areas due to this land remains fallow for many years.
Written By Waqas Hameed
B.sc (Hons) Agri.Sciences
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad