The rainfall of our country is dependent on the monsoons. Rainfall controls our agriculture. But the agriculture of our country is said to be, “the gambling of the monsoon” as the monsoon rainfalls are uncertain, irregular and uneven or unequal.
So irrigation is essential for agriculture. The following are the primary reasons of irrigation in our country.
(1) About 80 per cent of the total annual rainfall of India occurs in four months, i.e. from mid-June to mid-October. So it is essential to provide irrigation for production of crops etc, during the rest of the eight months.
(2) The monsoons are uncertain. So irrigation is necessary to protect crops from drought as a result of uncertain rainfall.
(3) It does not rain equally in all parts of the country. So irrigation is necessary for agriculture in less rainfall areas.
(4) Soils of some areas are sandy and loamy and therefore porous for which a major portion of rainwater sinks down very quickly. So, sandy and loamy soils can’t retain water like the alluvial soil and the black soil. That is why irrigation is essential for farming in the areas having, sandy and loamy soils.
(5) The rain-water flows down very quickly along the slopes of hillsides. So irrigation is necessary to grow crops in such areas.
(6) India is an agricultural and populous country. About 70 per cent of people depend on agriculture. In order to grow food-crops and agricultural products in large quantities to feed the growing millions, intensive farming and rotation of crops are essential. Extensive irrigation is, therefore, necessary for more production.
When our country got freedom, there was provision of irrigation only in 17 per cent of the total farm lands. More attention was paid to irrigation in order to make the country self-sufficient in production of food-crops, as a result of which about 37 per cent of the total farm lands have been provided with irrigational facility by now.