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Trickle / Drip Irrigation

The Saurashtra region of Gujarat has the lowest rainfall in the state. Due to lack of water, farmers have difficulty producing both high quality crops and a variety in crops.

Trickle or Drip Irrigation was first introduced in Gujarat by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. It was put to test at one of the Sanstha’s centers, Sarangpur, which is located in Saurashtra.

The drip irrigation system consists of low flow watering devices, called emitters (rubber or plastic pipes), that place water directly at the base of the plant. The system has been used successfully in the deserts of Israel.

The system has many advantages:

  • Water is used efficiently by being poured directly at the base of the plant, and not being wasted between the rows.
  • Fertigation is possible through the system.
  • The plant leaves remain dry, thereby reducing fungal problems in sensitive crops.
  • Relatively low pump pressures are required to operate the system.
  • There is low labor requirement to operate these systems, which are easy to automate.

The main advantage of drip irrigation is its ability to deliver the required amount of water to the right place. The drip system carries water through small tubes to tiny emitters, to water only the plant, instead of flailing water through the air or pumping it in open channels.

Testing the system in Sarangpur, the sadhus and volunteers of the Sanstha were able to grow vegetables and fruit normally grown in South Gujarat (a highly fertile region), using less water. The quality of the crop also improved. With high success results, the Sanstha called farmers from surrounding areas to inform and teach them about the new system. The State Government also passed a bill to subsidise the system for farmers.

The system is successfully used today by the Sanstha in Sarangpur, Gadhada, Gondal, Gandhinagar, Nenpur and other centers.

© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith