Farming systems and how to optimise the use of water resources

Globally, the availability of adequate supplies of fresh water has been recognised as a major impediment to growth in agricultural industries. In Indonesia, production of rice is a major user of water. Without adequate supplies, production is limited. The challenge in many regions is to effectively manage the use of available water resources.

Traditionally, the hilly lands have relied on the centuries-old technology of step farming – creating useable lands out of the hilly terrain. This technique illustrates that the concept of sustainable land management is often a recognition of “what has been done in the past”. The traditional methods of “innovative use of land”. The current issue, however, is how to build on these traditional means to increase yields.

Whilst countries such as Indonesia are blessed with high rainfall, the problem is often how to effectively harvest this rainfall into usable water.

Innovation for optimised resources usage

The need for innovative ideas has resulted in a series of solutions being created to deal with the variety of installations. Previously, open ditch irrigation had been used to move water around the farms and regions, but this has now given way to more refined solutions of lined irrigation trenches. The use of permanent linings has improved the efficiency of the trenches and provides more useable water to where it is most needed.

The development of new materials has also given rise to the use of flexible pipe irrigation. The flexible pipe system is easy to store, easy to use in all terrains and can result in a highly efficient use of water – due to the flexible nature of the installation. It has proven to be ideal for rice farming areas.

Through greater opportunities and the requirement for improved yields, remote areas farmers have also had greater access to irrigation systems such as “centre pivot irrigation system. Whilst this technology has been widely available in some areas, in the poorer more remote areas, it has not been readily accessible. The availability of this technology has resulted in increased yield and again illustrates that the incorporation of sustainable principles has achieved greater opportunity for the security of food resources.

Written by Sam Ndoyo – Management Consultant at ATsolve.