FOUR MASSIVE SHOOT-UP WATER LOSSES IN AGRICULTURE
- Evaporation: Loss of water from the soil surface when sunlight directly strikes the soil.
- Evaporation: Loss of water from plants’ surface when light strikes directly on plants.
- Loss of water due to surface runoff.
- Loss of water due to seepage and percolation.
- Let’s have a look at these and some ways we can slow these losses.
The key to reducing evaporation is to reduce exposure of wet soil to the atmosphere. The two factors to consider are the amount of wet soil surface which is exposed and the duration of exposure. So for example drip irrigation wets only a small portion of the soil surface but sprinklers wet the whole surface. Subsurface drip can result in little or no wet surface soil. The amount of wet soil exposed can be minimized by using regular additions of organic matter and vertical/horizontal mulches.
Keeping plants cool in hot weather and suspended clothes over low-growing plants, use of windbreaks, hedges, netting, and the growing of narrow-leaf crops will minimize the loss of water from plant parts. Use of sprawler crops like squash that carpet the soil to keep it cool by protecting the soil from preying summer sunshine rays.
It is very hard to witness water washing straight off the earth’s top during strong and violent rains and it is more heartbreaking when it happens after a long week of drought. The use of cover crops, intercropping, and land leveling are the key factors in reducing water runoff.
Soils having a high content of sand particles present different and opposite behavior as compared to clayey soils. Sandy soils drain water more immediately than clayey soil. The remedy is very simple. Use enough organic matter to improve soil structure and texture. Adding organic matter and improving soil structure will ultimately improve the water holding capacity of the soil.