Cover Image
close this bookIndigenous technology knowledge for watershed management in upper north-west Himalayas of India (1998)
close this folderChapter 2 - Soil and water management techniques
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSources of irrigation water
View the documentConstruction of kuhls (water channels)
View the documentDistribution of kuhl water in fields
View the documentUse of kuhl water for running water mills
View the documentMethods of irrigation
View the documentWater harvesting methods
View the documentMoisture conservation through mulching
View the documentDrainage
View the documentUse of smoke for protecting fruit crops from frost damage
View the documentSoil management
View the documentSoil fertility management
View the documentUse of ash in Ladakh


In mountain watersheds, irrigation has been practiced as an art for about 3000 years now. Historical records bear testimony to the existence of a number of irrigation works in different parts of the country. In the Himalayas, the perennial river Ganges made it relatively easy to divert its flow through inundation channels. In the south, where rainfall is scanty, the practice of trapping rain water in large tanks and ponds for agricultural purposes is widely adopted.

From time immemorial, surface irrigation methods have been followed. The most effective irrigation method for a particular area depends on the slope of the land, the nature of the soil, the type of the crop and availability of funds.

In mountain areas, water continues to be the scarce commodity not only for irrigation but even for drinking and other domestic uses. This difficulty has been experienced very frequently, inspite of the fact that important rivers namely Sutlez, Beas, Ravi and their tributaries originate from these hills. The existing resources are further declining due to heavy biotic pressure and lack of management of existing resources. Most of our Agricultural/Horticultural activities are carried on under rainfed conditions and this require proper management of available water to be conserved for dry periods.