Conservation of Water

Water Conservation System

Water being one of the most precious and indispensable resources needs to be conserved. The following strategies can be adopted for conservation of water.


Decreasing run-off losses 

Huge water-loss occurs due to run-off on most of the soils, which can be reduced by allowing most of the water to infiltrate into the soil.   This can be achieved by using contour cultivation, terrace framing, water spreading, chemical treatment or improved water-storage system. 

a) Contour cultivation: on small furrows and ridges across the slopes trap rainwater and  allow more time for infiltration. Terracing constructed on deep soils have large water- storage capacity. On gentle slopes trapped run off is spread over a large area for  better infiltration 

b) Conservation-bench terracing: It involves construction of a series of benches for  catching the runoff water.
c) Water spreading is done by channeling or lagoon-leveling, In channeling, the water  flow is controlled by a series of diversions with vertical intervals. In lagoon leveling,  small depressions are dug in the area so that there is temporary storage water.

d) Chemical wetting agents (Surfactants): These seem to increase the water intake rates  when added to normal irrigated soil. 

e) Surface crop residues, tillage, mulch, animal residues etc. help in reducing run-off by  allowing more time for water to penetrate into the land. 

f) Chemical conditioners like gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) when applied to sodic soils improve soil permeability and reduce run off. Another useful conditioner is  HPAN (hydrolyzed polyacrylonitrile) 

g) Water-storage structures like farm ponds, dug-outs etc. build by individual farmers  can be useful measures for conserving water through reduction of runoff. 

Reducing evaporation losses

This is more relevant in humid regions. Horizontal barriers of asphalt placed below the soil surface increase water availability and increase crop yield by 3540%. This is more effective on sandy soil but less effective on loamy sand soils. A co-polymer of starch and acrylonitrile called ‘super slumper’ has been reported to absorb water up to 1400 times its weight. The chemical has been found to be useful for sandy soils. 

Storing water in soil

Storage of water takes place in the soil root zone in humed regions when the soil is wetted to field capacity. By leaving the soil fallow for one season water can be made available for the crop grown in next season. 

Reducing irrigation losses 

a) Use of lined or covered canals to reduce seepage 
b) Irrigation in early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation losses  
c) Sprinkling irrigation and drip irrigation to conserve water by 30-50%  
d) Growing hybrid crop varieties with less water requirements and tolerance to saline  Water help conserve water. 

Reuse of water

a) Treated wastewater can be used for ferti-irrigation  
b) Using grey water from washings, bath-tubs etc. for watering gardens, washing cars  or paths help in saving fresh water. 

Preventing wastage of water

This can be done in households, commercial buildings and public places.  
a) Closing taps when not in use  
b) Repairing any leakage from pipes  
c) Using small capacity flush in toilets. 

Increasing block pricing

The consumer has to pay a proportionately higher bill with higher use of water. This helps in economic use of water by the consumer 


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