Contingency irrigation

Contingency Irrigation

What is contingency irrigation?

Contingency irrigation is a type of irrigation which is also known as live saving irrigation. Physical appearance of a plant, moisture availability in soil, stage of the plant, etc., are the defining factors for applying contingency irrigation.

Also read: Drip irrigation government scheme

(1). Importance

  • Efficient use of water.
  • Maximum crop production.
  • Low crop-weed competition.

1.1: Efficient use of water


  1. We don’t have enough water for irrigation.
  2. We have enough water for only one irrigation.

Considering the option 01 and 02, we have to use it effectively at the right time to get maximum crop production.

1.2: Maximum crop production

No watering at the right time means no maximum crop production. For example, if we have only two irrigation for wheat, then we have apply it at crown root initiation stage and tillering stage. This will insure the maximum crop production from the current crop.

1.3: Low crop-weed competition

Deficiency of water for a majority of crop season will see no or the minimum attack of weed crop. Suppose, the most critical stage of a crop is its vegetative stage, then we will provide a life saving water at this stage. Much of the water will be used by plants due to low crop-weed competition.

Also read: MCQ on soil and water conservation

(2). Some known situations

  • Low rainfall areas.
  • Desert areas.
  • Dryland agriculture.
  • Research works.

(3). Best time to perform it?

  • When plants show the symptoms of wilting.
  • Critical stage of plant.
  • Soil moisture.

3.1: When plants show the symptoms of wilting

Wilting is a stage where plants start to show the symptom of drying leaves and lost vigour.


We took 10 mango seedling of one month.

Day of first watering: At the time of transplanting.

Day of second watering: 7 days after watering.

Day of third watering: 14 days after transplanting.

Day of fourth watering: 21 days after transplanting.

Result: Plants start showing the symptoms of within 7 days. Just after the second irrigation, plants regained their normal condition. Hence, wilting is a point where we have to apply a life saving irrigation.

3.2: Critical stage of plant

What is the critical stage of a plant?

Critical stage of a plant is that stage where plant requires at least on irrigation. For example, in wheat, CRI or crown root intiation is critical stage. If there is no water for critical stage, then this will result in disaster.

3.3: Soil moisture

  • No watering is necessary when soil is saturated.
  • Watering is very necessary when soil starts to crack.
  • At least one watering is necessary if there is no adhesion among the soil particles.

(4). Which is best system?

  • Drip irrigation.
  • Site watering.

4.1: Drip irrigation

  • Vegetable crops.
  • Fruit crops.
  • Spice crops.

4.2: Site watering

  • Flower plants.
  • Pot vegetable farming.

(5). Examples of contingency irrigation

Wheat: Crown root initiation

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