Alternative irrigation: the promise of runoff agriculture by Christopher J Barrow

By Christopher J Barrow

An advent to runoff agriculture - a kind of agricultural irrigation - this article describes how using floor and subsurface water, usually missed and wasted, allows either small farmers and advertisement agriculturists to enhance yields and the protection of harvest, even in harsh and distant environments. The textual content introduces the concepts and techniques, in addition to the demanding situations and the possibility of the an important process, which may give a contribution lots to lowering land degradation and enhancing conservation and sustainability.

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For agricultural development to be sustainable it is not enough that it functions satisfactorily in terms of economics or engineering — it must also ‘fit’ socially and environmentally, satisfy local and, where necessary, wider market needs and be adaptive to future changes (Brklacich et al, 1991; Altieri, 1995). Good land husbandry combines sustainability with profitability (Hudson et al, 1993, p225), and to get it requires cooperation between, and overall coordination of, farmers, government bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research bodies, extension agencies, and funding agencies.

Reij (1991, p6) suggested the shift from harvesting to holding moisture in situe occurs where precipitation is greater than about 500 millimetres per year. (3) Low precipitation SWC (mean annual precipitation 300 to 700 millimetres per year). The objective is to capture and concentrate runoff (runoff harvesting practices are usually undertaken where rainfall is between 100 and 700 millimetres per year), and to transfer it to a site where soil can be conserved (FAO, 1988). It may also help to grow drought-tolerant crops, trees or forage and to adopt practices such as mulching.

Hudson (1987, p49) suggested SWC should be divided into, internal — where runoff is stored and used more or less at the site where the structures are built and crops planted; and external — runoff is diverted to some, perhaps quite distant, point (demanding careful control of potentially damaging channelled flows). 1). Techniques must often be flexible. For example, it may be necessary to selectively trap soil or debris in runoff to maintain or enhance fertility, rather than to stop all movement of debris; control of runoff designed to collect gentle flows may need to withstand occasional intense floods; and moisture collection and conservation must be balanced against risks of waterlogging.

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