Turkmenistan’s agricultural sector takes big step forward in water efficiency

The authorities of Turkmenistan are widely implementing technology solutions to protect the environment.

Turkmenistan pays great attention to addressing water management issues. To date, the country has fully recognised the environmental benefits of drip irrigation, sprinkling and other water conservation technologies that have successfully proven themselves in Turkmenistan’s agricultural sector. An analyst for Central Asia Vadim Shagiakhmedov commented on this issue in an interview with CentralAsia.news.

The full-scale and proper application of effective water management methods is essential for economic development of the country. The Programme «Revival of the new epoch of the powerful state: National Social and Economic Development Programme of Turkmenistan for 2022-2052» envisages introducing innovative water-saving technologies into the industry, minimising water usage per unit of product, improving irrigation efficiency and land condition, growing salt-tolerant crops, using saline soils and protecting the environment.

Water conservation methods have specific characteristics which are determined by the physical and geographical conditions of the area. Drip irrigation is used for crops that require no tillage. The topsoil is not loosened regularly. Salinization occurs when dissolved salts in groundwater tables rise to the soil surface. Drip irrigation washes away salts from the topmost layer of soil.

The farther the tap is from the watering site, the less water pressure. This leads to the accumulation of harmful elements in a poorly irrigated area. Even a little rain can transfer these substances to the root system and damage the crop. To avoid such a situation, drip irrigation should run during rainy seasons to let salts leach from the crop root zone into the lower soil layers.

This type of irrigation transports nutrients along with water. Drip irrigation is especially good in orchards and vineyards because the main roots are always located closer to the moist soil layers from which they receive nutrients. The soil in such areas is quickly depleted and needs additional nutrients. Such farms require a lot of fertilizers.

Drip irrigation of agricultural crops has several advantages. This method allows applying fertilizers along with water. It reduces technology costs and enhances the effect of fertilizers on crop production. Carbon dioxide that releases from the soil boosts nutrient metabolism in crops.

Sprinkler irrigation is used for small grains and forage crops, giving due consideration to weather conditions. It is best to water crops in cool weather, at night or during the day with light winds. Crops use moisture only in the quantity they need for growth. This method allows avoiding water losses due to filtration. The research results have shown that sprinkling provides efficient watering not only for cultivars, but also for desert plants.

Tenants and landlords, like all citizens of the country, efficiently and effectively use water, each drop of which is worth its weight in gold. One of the main aspects of water efficiency in agriculture is to reduce the amount of moisture leaving irrigation systems and lands. For these purposes, water losses caused by leaks in pipes and drains need to be reduced.

In Turkmenistan, specialists and land users ensured the proper functioning of water outlets and water control facilities, facilitated unimpeded water flow and removed weeds from the slopes. This prevented standing water from accumulating and let it flow at a sufficient speed and quickly reach agricultural lands, as well as reduced water losses.

Sprinkler irrigation is another reliable way to conserve agricultural water. It is best adapted to growing cotton. Water consumption is reduced by 30 percent when watering each furrow rather than all at once. Water productivity increases by 70 percent.

Using sprinklers prevents weeds from growing between rows, which makes it easy to clean them, saves costs and increases labour productivity. One of the main methods to save water and increase productivity is night irrigation. At this time of day, the temperatures of the soil and moisture supplied to the fields drops. As a result, the absorption efficiency increases by about 20 percent compared to daytime.

Thorough and timely agrotechnical treatment of crops has a positive effect on efficient water use. Loosening and softening the topsoil can slow down evaporation and contribute to saving water during the summer season.

Compared to traditional irrigation, drip irrigation saves on average 60 percent, and sprinkler irrigation saves up to 30 percent of moisture. High productivity, the long-term use of facilities, the proper functionality of collector and drainage systems, improved water resources management and environmental protection can be ensured through optimising traditional methods of irrigation and modernizing facilities.

Local water-soluble fertilizers make irrigation water more useful. It is very important to use it during the flowering and harvesting periods and therefore, meet the growing demand for water and nutrients. To do this, farmers dig a hole along the path of water flow next to the agricultural field and fill it with fertilizers.

Turkmen agronomists prevent the spread of weed seeds following along with the flow of water across the field. For these purposes, they allow the nutrient mixture to decompose. They install a filter where the furrow starts to prevent blockages and curb impurities remaining on the water surface.

11 06 2024, 14:42
Photo source: orient.tm

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