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Subsurface irrigation or simply subirrigation method
Subsurface irrigation or simply subirrigation method is the practice of applying water to soils directly under the surface. Moisture reaches the plant roots through capillary action.
The conditions which favour Subsurface irrigation or simply subirrigation method are as follows
(i) Impervious subsoil at a depth of 2 metres or more,
(ii) A very permeable subsoil,
(iii) A permeable loam or sandy loam surface soil,
(iv) Uniform topographic conditions, and
(v) Moderate ground slopes.
In Subsurface irrigation (or simply subirrigation) method, water is distributed in a series of ditches about 0.6 to 0.9 metre deep and 0.3 metre wide having vertical sides. These ditches are spaced 45 to 90 metres apart.
Sometimes, when soil conditions are favourable for the production of cash crops (i.e.,
high-priced crops) on small areas, a pipe distribution system is placed in the soil well below the surface. This method of applying water is known as artificial subirrigation. Soils which permit free lateral movement of water, rapid capillary movement in the root-zone soil, and very slow downward movement of water in the subsoil are very suitable for artificial subirrigation. The cost of such methods is very high. However, the water consumption is as low as one-third of the surface irrigation methods. The yield also improves. Application efficiency generally varies between 30 and 80 per cent.