Germination of seeds to the process of photosynthesis by which plants prepare their food, every stage of life cycle of the plants, the role of water is the most critical factor.

Water is an excellent solvent. Plants take in their nutrients from soil only in a solution form. It also acts as a reagent in various reactions in plant cells. Water also maintains the plant structure by providing the appropriate pressure to the plant tissues. Soil water thus is essential for the survival of the plants.

Without the proper balance of water in the soil, the plant not only is malnourished but it is also physically weak.

If soil has excess water, the plant roots can rot or deteriorate the development of healthy roots, thus, decreases plant’s ability to take up water and enough oxygen through its roots. It is critical especially at the growing stage of the plant.

Plant needs not only optimum moisture but also a proper balance of water and large quantities of oxygen in soil for respiration. Less than 10% oxygen in soil limits root growth of most plants. Oxygen deficiency is one of the most important environmental factor causing stress, reduced growth, injury and in some cases death of the plants.

When soil does not have enough water, plants get wilted and in extreme cases, Permanent Wilting Point reaches when there is no sufficient water available to the plant for a period of time. A dry environment will pull moisture out of the plant and insufficient water will prevent nutrients from reaching the ends of the plant. Wilting diminishes the plant’s ability to transpire and grow. Permanent wilting may lead to plant death.

By maintaining optimum moisture, plants will get enough water and oxygen from soil and automatically results into better growth and improves quality & quantity of yield. Most importantly it will increase the profit and reduce production cost of the growers. Therefore, need of the hour is that the growers must optimize their water use efficiency.

Practicing traditional method for irrigation causes challenges like drought, excess evaporation, salinization, groundwater depletion and lack of access to water reserves and these factors are getting served in India day by day. 12% of Indian population is already living in “Day Zero” situation. The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report states that by 2030 (hardly 10 years from now), India’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people.

The World Bank predicts that by 2032, around 60 per cent of aquifers in the country will be in a critical state. (Ref. India’s Groundwater Crisis: The Consequences of Unsustainable Pumping Caleb Gorton, Research Assistant, Global Food and Water Crises Research Programme,2015)

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