Impact of water saving irrigation systems on water use, growth and yield of irrigated lowland rice
To meet the growing demand for food and other needs from an increasing population, the rice production in Sri Lanka, which was 3.87 million tonnes in 2008, has to be increased to 4.2 million tonnes by the year 2020. This requirement could be achieved by increasing productivity and/or by increasing the cultivated extent. In 2008, about 77 % and 68 % of the total paddy land extent was cultivated with either partial or full irrigation during the maha and yala seasons, respectively. A considerable extent of paddy land was either not cultivated or cultivated for other crops due to the scarcity of water in the dry and intermediate zones. Furthermore, with increased competition for water for domestic and industrial needs and climate change, there will be further reductions in the availability of water for rice cultivation. Conserving irrigation water would increase the cultivated extent of land while reducing the probability of ate season water-stress in the cultivated rice crop. We studied the impact of different soil water regimes on water use, nutrient uptake, growth and grain yield of 3 – 3½ age lowland rice at the Rice Research and Development Institute, Batalagoda, Ibbagamuwa. There was no significant difference in the grain yield in rice when grown under either saturated or flooded conditions, but the yield decreased significantly with alternate wetting and drying. However, under saturated conditions, the irrigation water requirement was significantly lower than the flooded condition. The lowest irrigation water requirement was recorded with saturated to dry conditions. The irrigation water requirement under flooded conditions, when compared with the saturated condition, increased by 39 % during the yala season. During the maha season, even though the total irrigation requirement was lower, when compared to saturated conditions, four times more irrigation water was required under flooded conditions. There was a significant increase in plant dry matter production and leaf N (nitrogen) under saturated conditions, when compared with conventional flooded conditions. These findings suggest that when soil water is maintained at a saturated level in lowland rice, a considerable amount of irrigation water could be saved without sacrificing grain yield.Length: pp.57-64
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