Water Conservation in Agriculture

In principle, water conservation is the use of water that falls to the ground to be as efficient as possible and the right timing of the flow, so that there is no flooding in the rainy season and vice versa in the dry season there will be enough water. Several ways can be done for water conservation, namely increasing the utilization of two hydrological components including surface water and ground water, and increasing the efficiency of irrigation water use.

Water conservation can be carried out on several aspects, one of which is water conservation for agriculture. Water conservation for agriculture has three purposes namely to improve the availability of rainwater, surface runoff or  irrigation water for agriculture, to reduce and to keep water. Agricultural water conservation strategies are directed at seeking to increase water reserves in the plant root zone by controlling surface runoff that is usually damaging by harvesting surface runoff, increasing infiltration and reducing evaporation. Agus et al. (2002) suggested that there are two approaches that can be taken to make efficient use of water, namely through the selection of plants that are appropriate to climate conditions and through water conservation techniques (such as the use of mulch, gulud and techniques without tillage). An important aspect that needs to be considered is that as much rain as possible seeps into the ground to be retained as much as possible in the basin or valley areas, so that it can be used as a water source for irrigation in the dry season or in the short period when needed by plants in the rainy season. 

According to Troeh et al. (1991), water conservation strategies include management methods to reduce surface runoff, reduce evaporation, reduce percolation and prevent unnecessary water loss from storage areas. Thus the action of water conservation can be directed to: (a) reducing the amount of surface runoff through increasing infiltration, increasing the content of organic matter, or by increasing water storage at the soil surface and in the soil, for example through increasing surface roughness (with tillage), infiltration channels, making “rorak”, infiltration wells , “kedung”, “situ”, “embung”, and others; (b) slowing the surface runoff through vegetative means, reducing land slope and shortening slopes; (c) maintenance of water resources (conservation of water resources); and (d) rain harvest.

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