Half of the arable land in India is subject to low rainfall and prone to frequent drought. Risk derived from unfavorable weather patterns drives debts and leaves farmers vulnerable to financial and mental disrepair—farmer suicides are not uncommon. Irrigation sourced from canal and groundwater has a limited scope and current pressure on natural resources leaves irrigation practices in India in need of improvement.
The Centre for Environment Concerns introduces SWAR: the world’s first sub-surface drip irrigation system that release moisture when ‘asked’ for by the crop. This underground, gravity-based irrigation system provides moisture to plants at the root level. SWAR enhances soil nutrients, uses harvested or stored water, provides irrigation to low rainfall areas, and in turn, transforms the livelihoods of poor farmers to help them grow more food.
How Does It Work?
SWAR technology consists of low-pressure drip irrigation components like overhead tanks and drip lines, but is extended with adapted and permeable clay pots. Pots are placed at the root zone and connected to drip lines. Water oozes out of the pots and wets the soil and then ‘sweats’ to maintain a favorable soil moisture condition.
This method assures moisture is spread at the plant’s root zone to cultivate vegetables, flowers, fruit and forestry trees using only one fifth of other drip irrigation systems in India. SWAR is automated, but doesn’t require electricity and results in huge water savings.