Food is one of the basic necessities for sustenance but feeding the whole of humanity is challenging. Countries like India, which are heavily dependent on monsoons, are bearing the brunt of global warming and climate change, the effects of which are now visible on crop yields. Irregular monsoons, contaminated water, and rapid use of groundwater have added to the crisis. Irrigation plays an important role in improving the quality of the crop being sown. But its need varies from season to season. Irrigation engineering was introduced, to overcome the challenge. In this article, we will discuss the details like eligibility criteria and career prospects related to this particular branch of engineering
Irrigation Engineering: What is Irrigation?
Simply put, irrigation is the process of artificially supplying water from natural resources to water-scarce areas for growing crops. And this process can be carried out in 3 ways:
Surface Irrigation: In this process, water from the supply channel flows across the area due to gravity and then seeps down to the roots.
Sub-irrigation: This method is used in areas where the water level is high and there is porous topsoil that absorbs moisture slowly. Ditches are dug along the sides of the fields not only to monitor the water level but also to refill the water supply when it is low.
Overhead Irrigation: These irrigation systems resemble natural waterfalls. Considered to be one of the most modern and advanced forms of irrigation, these systems use conveyor pipes, pumping units, and sprinkler mechanisms to divert water.
Advantages of Irrigation Engineering:
- Crop yield
- Famine protection
- Farmers’ prosperity
- Improving cash crops
- Domestic and industrial water supply
- Development of fisheries
Irrigation Engineering: Prerequisites
To pursue this sub-branch of civil engineering at the undergraduate level, students have to fulfill certain eligibility criteria. The prerequisites for studying Irrigation Engineering are mentioned below:
- Students must have passed Senior Secondary School with Science stream subjects from a recognized board.
- Applicants must have secured 50% marks in aggregate in their 10+2 examination. Students with Biology as a part of their 12th subject are usually preferred.
- Candidates must have a valid IELTS or TOEFL scorecard.
- Students will also have to appear for the entrance exams of the universities that conduct their exams.
- Applicants will also need to submit a statement of purpose (SOP), an essay, a recommendation letter, and an updated CV or resume with the application form to the respective universities.
The curriculum of Irrigation Engineering at the undergraduate level is designed to equip students with the technology and skills required to build a strong career in agriculture and irrigation. Some of the topics taught in this course are given below:
- Greenhouse technology
- Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
- Post-harvest engineering
- Watershed planning and management
- Minor Irrigation and Command Area Development
- Wells and pumps
- Farm Power Machinery and Equipment
- Production technology of agricultural machinery
- Micro irrigation system design
Scope of Irrigation Engineering
Irrigation engineering is a very broad activity within the discipline of civil engineering. Irrigation engineering is in charge of organizing, planning, and maintaining irrigation systems to transport and distribute water to residential and agricultural locations. And irrigation engineering tasks may include overseeing the removal of water from dams, canals, and rivers, as well as the installation of pipes, sprinklers, and other irrigation equipment. In order to maximize water use for lawns and agricultural crops, fieldwork is carried out to assess the terrain, soil, and climatic factors. Computers are often used for modeling approaches, planning irrigation system blueprints, and submitting them to subcontractors for installation technicians.
Irrigation engineering focuses on creating irrigation systems that prioritize water sustainability and handle the recurring difficulties of drought and national water shortages. Researching water recycling techniques and creating new strategies to reduce water seepage and evaporation loss can come under the purview of irrigation engineering.
Irrigation engineering is often used in cotton, dairy, and agricultural operations in rural areas. Other projects included the construction of irrigation systems for office buildings and homes by the residential and commercial sectors.
Irrigation Engineering: Job Profile
Irrigation engineering graduates are required in industries like canal construction, agriculture sector, irrigation department, construction industry, agricultural farm, and educational institutions. The knowledge gained through the degree program introduces the students to various skills thus making them eligible for various roles. With further specialization, graduates can work in various job profiles. Some of which are mentioned below:
- Senior Irrigation Design Engineer
- Assistant seed production specialist
- Civil Engineer and Irrigation Engineer
- Senior Irrigation Design Engineer
- Agricultural project engineer
- Site engineer
- Agricultural Irrigation Consultant
- Tendering Engineer and Tendering Manager
Apart from this, you can also do a course in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. It provides information on the development, testing, design, manufacture, maintenance, and operation of aircraft, military aircraft, space aircraft, missiles, satellites, etc.