Manual Irrigation: Its Importance

Al Ardh Alkhadra > Blog > Agriculture > Manual Irrigation: Its Importance

Manual irrigation 3

We all know that irrigation is watering crops, pastures, and plants with water. The water is supplied through pipes, sprinklers, sprays, canals, pumps, and other artificial features. In other words, it is a method of an advanced system of watering the plants to grow. Various types of irrigation exist, but manual irrigation is one of the oldest methods used even today.

It also fulfills the water requirements as they need it as an essential resource for growth. At the same time, water helps give plants the nutrients required for their development and growth. It also helps them achieve high yields by enabling the penetration of roots in dry fields.

Manual irrigation 2

Traditionally, most water for irrigation is sourced from lakes, dams, rivers, wells, ponds, reservoirs, canals, or tube wells, besides other sources. However, the rate and frequency of watering may depend on several factors. Some of them might include the type of crop, types of soil, and also season. It is where the different kinds of irrigation come into the picture. In this article, we primarily focus on manual irrigation, the methods involved, and the importance of such irrigation.

What is Irrigation? 

Irrigation helps plants to get water. Irrigation is also applied to areas that are geographically not friendly to growing crops, such as dry regions. It allows plants to grow in areas where water is scarce. Otherwise not support such growth. 

Manual irrigation 7

In other words, irrigation is a complex watering system that assists plants in growing because it is used as an alternative to rain-fed farming. Irrigation fulfills the water requirements of plants or crops, as water is a vital resource for their growth. In addition, water availability helps plants achieve high yields by enabling the penetration of roots primarily in the dry.

Manual Irrigation

Manual irrigation is one of the various methods of irrigation. It is also known as traditional irrigation. It is when water is distributed across the land through manual labor and watering cans. Meaning no modern methods are used for irrigation.

Manual irrigation 6

It is primarily an ancient method of watering but is still used even today. You can find this method of irrigation, especially in developing countries. It is cheap but very labor-intensive. Moreover, its efficiency is also poor since water distribution to the crops is uneven. Also, there are high chances of water loss.

This method uses manual labor and watering cans to spread water across the farmland. Though it is an ancient method of watering, it is still in use, especially in many developing nations. 

Although it is cheap, this irrigation method requires a lot of labor. Moreover, its efficiency is also poor since water distribution is uneven. You also have significant chances of water loss.

Importance of Manual Irrigation

If automated irrigation systems are not available, then manual irrigation becomes all the more crucial.

Manual irrigation 4

Here we discuss why manual methods can boost crop production and yield better-quality crops.

1. Compensating For When There is no Rainfall

Irrigation occurs when there is insufficient rainfall or uncertainty about when the rain will fall. Without rain or irrigation as an alternative, the crops are adversely affected. Finally, leading to a food shortage or crop/plant failure.

2. Increasing the Amount of Cultivable or Agriculturally Productive Land

Some areas of the world are naturally dry. Irrigation, especially manual irrigation, has been responsible for turning such farmlands into fertile, cultivable lands. 

Manual irrigation 1

Surprisingly, about 18 percent of the world’s cropland is now irrigated. Irrigation is also responsible for bringing the most out of fallow lands, traditionally left idle after harvest, just before the next cultivation season.

3. Helps Meet Food Demands

Expanding irrigated land has made desert ecosystems adopt farming that can boost food demands. Primarily without necessarily having to depend on rain. Such areas usually use groundwater from wells and aquifers. This technique enables them to meet the world’s demand for food. They often produce food crops such as potatoes, cereals, and vegetables.

Manual irrigation 5

Furthermore, regions and countries that practice top-level and large-scale irrigation are best known for exporting food. It automatically helps bring economic advantage to such a region or country.

4. Increased Productivity

Irrigation is all the more essential and is employed when rainfall is insufficient. However, it can be applied at any other time – even when sufficient rainfall can boost crop productivity.

According to a publication in 2016 on climate-smart agriculture, there were some interesting findings. Crop productivity on irrigated land is always higher than in non-irrigated areas, which mainly rely on rainfall.

5. Enables Multiple Cropping

In most tropical countries, the rainy season lasts only a few months, making it impossible to grow multiple crops simultaneously. Moreover, their water requirements differ, and over-irrigation spoils crop production. Optimum irrigation makes it possible to produce more than one crop in a specific area at a time. 

6. Manual Methods Are Effective

It is not consistent when plants or crops are watered irregularly and with only a hosepipe. It means they get just one pass. Meaning especially the hard-to-reach areas and those areas that do not experience steady rainfall might need more water. 

A well-designed irrigation system can deliver water even to hard-to-reach areas of the land. Efficient irrigation systems such as drip irrigation are viral these days.

7. Defeating and Efficient Nature

We cannot control when it rains. If it rains during the day and gets warm, evaporation rates will be high. It means the crops and the soil will need to consume more water.

You can set the irrigation systems to sprinkle water early in the morning or night when evaporation levels are low. Even if irrigating manually, you can plan accordingly. This saves on the water used and maximizes the moisture required by the crops, plants, flowers, or even the soil itself.

8. Contribution to Economic Growth

Irrigation ensures food production continues – regardless of the season or climatic condition. It means there are continuous income and employment, thereby reducing poverty. The substantial increase in income achieved through these types of irrigation can help the economy continue to thrive. Moreover, exporting food to other regions can contribute to economic growth.

Different Types of Irrigation:

Surface Irrigation

It is the most popular method of irrigation. The technique employs gravity and the land’s contour to distribute water throughout the field. For example, in surface irrigation, water flows downhill from a higher elevation reaching all the crops downhill.

You can only use it if the location or the ground has enough water and is naturally sloping. Otherwise, you may require a lot of effort. This method uses the furrow system, in which you can utilize channels to carry water down a hill over a paddock where crops or plants are cultivated. These channels are equally spaced for an even distribution of water.

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is a sub-type of localized irrigation, which you may also know as trickle irrigation. It is the delivery of very small water droplets to the roots of a plant.

It is important to understand that it is a profitable method of irrigation because method will reduce water runoff and evaporation. This method is ideal for places that have limited water supplies or high water costs. The best part is that the process is suitable for all types of topography and soils. Note that the pressure required in drip irrigation is generally between 10 to 20 psi.

Sprinkler Irrigation

Sprinklers are used to irrigate in a way that will simulate natural rainfall. Your system should operate in such a way that it will ensure that water is applied consistently. By pumping, you can use overhead high-pressure sprinklers or guns to distribute water from a central location in your field.

If you use a pump, your sprinkler irrigation system will allow water supply at high pressures. Small diameter nozzles are installed in the pipes, which act as sprays. Due to a wide range of discharge capacities, water gets distributed through a system of pipes sprayed into the air. Thus irrigating your field. 

Sub Surface Irrigation

Interestingly, this type of irrigation does not wet the soil’s surface. The method helps to reduce airborne drift and runoff. The water is supplied directly to the ground through capillarity. 

By doing this, the method helps to raise the water table, which makes it easier for crops to get the water they require. The technique often uses underground pipes or tubes or drip tape to supply water to the groups or plants. Its benefit is that it reduces the amount of water loss from evaporation. As a result, it increases crop yields and reduces the occurrence of weeds and diseases.


Manual methods are the methods of irrigation that were used in the earlier years. Even today some small farms in rural areas and developing countries adopt these. Although these methods are cheaper than the modern methods, they are not nearly as efficient. You may extensively require human or animal labor to function. 

Therefore, we see each of these methods is useful in its own specific way. It solely depends on how you are using it and what you are using it on.

Even you may agree that even the best irrigation system may seem to have flaws. Check the soil you are using and whether you have an excellent supply reservoir filled with water. You need to choose the irrigation system which makes it easier for you to take care of your plants.

Read related topics on ground water, sprinkler system, drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigationwater sprinklervegetable farmcruciferous vegetablesplant nursery, tropical fruits, and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *