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  • Water is a very important natural resource.
  • It is necessary for both crops and livestock.

Uses of water in the farm

  • Cleaning equipment.

  • Irrigation in dry areas.
  • Processing farm produce, for example, coffee.
  • Drinking by livestock and man.
  • Mixing agro-chemicals such as acaricide, fungicides and herbicides.
  • Providing power in water mills to grind grain crops.
  • Cooling engines.
  • Construction work.


Sources of Water in the Farm

Three major sources of water in the farm:

  •  Surface water:

Includes water from;

  • Rivers,
  • Streams
  • Dams.
  •  Ground water:

Includes water from;

  • Springs,
  • Wells
  • Boreholes.
  • Rain water:

This is water tapped in various ways such as;

  • Rooftops
  • Rock surface, when it is raining and stored in various ways.


Collection and Storage of Water

  • Dams:
    • These are structures constructed across rivers and channels.
    • They collect and store water for use during the dry season.
  • Weirs:
    • These are structures constructed across rivers to raise the water level for easy pumping.
    • Unlike in the dams water flows over the barrier created across the river.
  • Water Tanks:
    • These are structures made of concrete, stone, metal sheets and plastics.
    • They store water from rain or that which has been pumped from other sources.
    • Tanks should be covered to prevent contamination from dust.


Pumps and Pumping of Water

  • Pumping is the lifting of water from one point to another by use of mechanical force.
  • Water is pumped from the various sources and then conveyed to where it is required for use or storage.

Types of Water Pumps

Used to lift water from its source.
  • Centrifugal pumps
  • Piston or reciprocating pumps
  • Semi-rotary pumps and
  • Hydram

Conveyance of Water

  • This is the process of moving water from one point, usually the source or point of storage to where it will be used or stored.
    • Piping
      • This is where water is moved through pipes.

The common types of pipes include:

  • Metal pipes
  • Plastic pipes
  • Hose pipes
  • Use of Containers:
    • In this case water is drawn and put in containers .
    • drums, jerry cans, pots, gourds, tanks and buckets .
    • Which are carried by animals, bicycles, human beings and vehicles.
  • Use of Canals:
    • In this case water is conveyed from a high point to a lower one along a gradual slope to avoid soil erosion.
    • Water conveyed through this way is mostly used for irrigation and livestock.

Water Treatment

  • Raw water contains impurities which may be dissolved, floating or suspended in water.

These impurities are grouped into three categories, namely:

  • Physical impurities: these are dissolved impurities detected by colour, taste and smell.
  • Chemical impurities: these are dissolved impurities detected by use of chemical analysis.
  • Biological impurities: these are microorganisms in water such as bacteria, viruses and algae.


Importance of Treating Water

  • To kill disease causing microorganisms such as cholera and typhoid bacteria that thrive in dirty water.
  • To remove chemical impurities such as excess fluoride which may be harmful to human beings.
  • To remove smells and bad taste.
  • To remove sediments of solid particles such as soil, sand and sticks.

Methods of Treating Water

  • Aeration: this is the removal of smell and odour from water by fine spraying or bubbling of air.
  • Sedimentation: this is where water is put in large containers so that solid particles such as sand, metal and others can settle at the bottom.
  • Filtration: this is passing water through fine granular materials to remove solid particles and biological substances.
  • Coagulation: addition of chemicals which precipitate impurities and help in softening of hard water.
  • Chlorination: Sterilization to destroy disease causing organisms.



  • It is the artificial application of water to crops in dry areas or where water is not enough.
  • It is one of the methods of land reclamation in case of arid and semi arid areas.

Factors to Consider in Identifying and Assessing the Potential of Land for Irrigation Development

  • Topography of the land
  • Soil type
  • Type of crop to be grown
  • Water availability
  • Human factors such as skill, capital availability and economic activities.

Types of Irrigation

  • Surface irrigation:
  • This includes flood irrigation and basin irrigation.
  • It is used in flat areas.
  • The problem with this method is loss of water through seepage.
  • It also increases soil salinity.
  • Sub-surface Irrigation:
    • This involves the use of porous pipes or perforated pipes.
    • It is used in slopy areas and where water is inadequate.
      • Overhead or Sprinkler Irrigation:
      • It is used in any area which is not steep.
  • Drip or Trickle Irrigation:
    • It is used where water is little and in relatively sloppy and flat areas.




  • This is a method of removing excess water or lowering the water table from a marshy waterlogged land.
  • It is also a method of land reclamation.

Importance of Drainage as a Method of Land Reclamation

  • To increase soil aeration.
  • To raise soil temperature.
  • To increase microbial activities in the soil.
  • To reduce toxic substances from the soil.
  • To increase soil volume for exploitation by plant roots.

Methods of Drainage

  • Use of open ditches.
  • Use of underground drain pipes.
  • French drains.
  • Cambered beds.
  • Pumping out water from the soil.
  • Planting tree species which absorb a lot of water for example eucalyptus.

Water Pollution

  • This is the process by which harmful substances get into the water.
  • The harmful substance is referred to as a pollutant.


Agricultural practices which pollute water include:

  • Use of inorganic fertilizers.
  • Use of pesticides.
  • Poor cultivation practices such as over cultivation, cultivating along the river banks.
  • Overgrazing which leads to erosion of soil thus causing siltation in water sources.


Methods of Preventing Water Pollution

  • Soil conservation measures which minimize soil losses through erosion.
  • Fencing off the water sources.
  • Adopting organic farming practices for example controlling pests and weed using nonchemical techniques.
  • Planting grass along river banks to minimize siltation in rivers.
  • Proper disposal of empty chemical containers.


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EcoleBooks | Agriculture Form 1 - Water Supply, Irrigation and Drainage


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