Irrigation is the artificial supply of water to support plant growth in areas that have insufficient rainfall. Irrigation is either permanent or temporary, and it is carried out in areas that have insufficient rainfall and where flooding is common.
Under irrigation, the extra amount of water needed to depend on the type of crop grown, the prevailing temperature and humidity, the kind of soil, and other conditions in the area.
The following are advantages of irrigation:
- The supply of water by irrigation is regular and reliable, whereas rainfall is often seasonal or unpredictable.
- Under irrigation, cultivation can be done all year round and not during the rainy season
- In desert areas, the constant flow of irrigation water through the soil helps to reduce the salinity of the soil.
- Modern multi-purpose dams not only support irrigation but also help to control floods, generate hydroelectricity, and improve the navigability of rivers.
- Irrigation water supplied by rivers during flooding time carries much silt which add to soil fertility and hence increases crop yield.