CHENNAI: AS agricultural activities take a beating due to water scarcity following monsoon failure, an interventional technique devised by a top bureaucrat has been proving helpful to farmers to save water, power and their pockets from draining.
The ‘water conserving rootzone irrigation technique’ innovated by K Satyagopal, currently serving as Commissioner for Revenue Administration (CRA), Tamil Nadu, is a low-cost technology to improve water retention and moisture at deeper layers, resulting in enhancement of growth of plants/trees.
Currently, the technology is being adopted by farmers at certain districts, including Coimbatore, Tirupur, Dharmapuri, Madurai, Virudhunagar and the delta region in the State.
Satyagopal made a presentation of the water conserving technology at the Rabi conference held in Delhi by the Centre recently, explaining the features in order to familiarise the authorities from different parts of the country. The State government has decided to link the newly-devised water conserving method with the existing drip irrigation in order to promote it among farmers.
“Tamil Nadu government has asked the Agriculture and Horticulture departments to link water conserving rootzone irrigation technique with drip irrigation,” Satyagopal said. The new method ensures that water is taken up to two feet depth unlike in conventional method and drip irrigation with surface drips, and the requirement of water is also much less. While in surface drip system evaporation losses are common and rootzone may not get moisture at lower levels, the rootzone irrigation system ensures water percolating into deeper layers through the sand columns and availability of moisture in the rootzone.
Notable among the results of this technique is enhancement of growth of plants/trees ranging from a foot to four feet - even up to six feet in some cases.
Employing the method is very simple as it takes four PVC pipes to be sunk around the pit for planting saplings for creating sand columns, which will have river sand with sieved vermicompost or manure, a combination that has higher water retention rate.
The top bureaucrat, enthusiastic in propagating the new method to the benefit of the farmers, noted that since lesser water is required for the plants, it saves power consumption and cuts the power bill as well. “The quantum of water required is lesser than conventional method. It saves power and in turn, reduces financial burden to farmers,” he said.