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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

Methods of irrigation

Flooding of glacial water for higher crop productivity

In most Himalayan cold deserts water is brought in channels from glacial melts for irrigating the fields. Flooding the fields with the glacial water for improving crop productivity is also common.

The deposition of fresh silt with unweathered minerals (especially lime) forms glacier source of fresh salts. The glacier melted water is often below 2°C which protects the crop from different kinds of diseases.

Indigenous drip irrigation

The practice of using pitcher water as a source of irrigation on new fruit plantation in sandy loam/loamy sand soils, in areas of canty rainfall is prevalent in temperate districts of Himachal Pradesh. The pitcher is placed in soil and the new plant is planted close to it. The pitcher is filled with water during summer months (April-June) and stone/slate lid is placed on the top. The roots draw moisture/water from pitcher which is turn reduces the mortality. The pitcher once filled, supply sufficient moisture for atleast two weeks and then again it is filled with water.

Bamboo drip irrigation system

In this system of irrigation bamboo channels (open) are used for irrigating the fields (Fig. 2.8). This system is common in North-East regions of India. Small holes are made at the internodes of open bamboo channels, from where water gets trickled down in the field. These channels are placed along the natural gradients. In these channels, no uniform head for water trickling is maintained.

Fig. 2.8 Bamboo drip irrigation system

Manual irrigation in vegetables

In the initial stage of watering vegetables, people bring water to their fields with the help of buckets (Fig. 2.9) and in Spiti valley ladies bring water to their fields using Urma which is made from animals horn. In this method after bringing water in buckets, water is supplied to the vegetables with the help of lota (mug), whereas in case of Urma, irrigation is done by constructing small beds in the fields. But this method is too laborious and time consuming.

Fig. 2.9 Hand watering in vegetables