Water Supply, Irrigation and Drainage: Water Supply - Form 1 Agriculture Notes

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  • Water is a very important natural resource.
  • It is necessary for both crops and livestock.

Uses of Water in the Farm

  • Cleaning equipment.
  • Irrigation in dry areas.
  • Processing farm produce, for example, coffee.
  • Drinking by livestock and man.
  • Mixing agro-chemicals such as acaricide, fungicides and herbicides.
  • Providing power in water mills to grind grain crops.
  • Cooling engines.
  • Construction work.

Sources of Water in the Farm

Three major sources of water in the farm:

  • Surface water:
    Includes water from; 
    • Rivers,
    • Streams
    • Dams.
  • Ground water:
    Includes water from;
    • Springs,
    • Wells
    • Boreholes.
  • Rain water:
    This is water tapped in various ways such as;
    • Rooftops
    • Rock surface, when it is raining and stored in various ways.

Collection and Storage of Water

  • Dams:
    • These are structures constructed across rivers and channels.
    • They collect and store water for use during the dry season.
  • Weirs:
    • These are structures constructed across rivers to raise the water level for easy pumping.
    • Unlike in the dams water flows over the barrier created across the river.
  • Water Tanks:
    • These are structures made of concrete, stone, metal sheets and plastics.
    • They store water from rain or that which has been pumped from other sources.
    • Tanks should be covered to prevent contamination from dust.

Pumps and Pumping of Water

  • Pumping is the lifting of water from one point to another by use of mechanical force.
  • Water is pumped from the various sources and then conveyed to where it is required for use or storage.

Types of Water Pumps

Used to lift water from its source.

  • Centrifugal pumps
  • Piston or reciprocating pumps
  • Semi-rotary pumps and
  • Hydram

Conveyance of Water

- This is the process of moving water from one point, usually the source or point of storage to where it will be used or stored.


- This is where water is moved through pipes.

- The common types of pipes include:

  • Metal pipes
  • Plastic pipes
  • Hose pipes

Use of Containers:

-  In this case water is drawn and put in containers .

- drums, jerry cans, pots, gourds, tanks and buckets.

- Which are carried by animals, bicycles, human beings and vehicles.


Use of Canals:

- In this case water is conveyed from a high point to a lower one along a gradual slope to avoid soil erosion.

- Water conveyed through this way is mostly used for irrigation and livestock.

Water Treatment

- Raw water contains impurities which may be dissolved, floating or suspended in water.

- These impurities are grouped into three categories, namely:

  • Physical impurities: these are dissolved impurities detected by colour, taste and smell.
  • Chemical impurities: these are dissolved impurities detected by use of chemical analysis.
  • Biological impurities: these are microorganisms in water such as bacteria, viruses and algae.

Importance of Treating Water

  • To kill disease causing microorganisms such as cholera and typhoid bacteria that thrive in dirty water.
  • To remove chemical impurities such as excess fluoride which may be harmful to human beings.
  • To remove smells and bad taste.
  • To remove sediments of solid particles such as soil, sand and sticks.

Methods of Treating Water

  • Aeration: this is the removal of smell and odour from water by fine spraying or bubbling of air.
  • Sedimentation: this is where water is put in large containers so that solid particles such as sand, metal and others can settle at the bottom.
  • Filtration: this is passing water through fine granular materials to remove solid particles and biological substances.
  • Coagulation: addition of chemicals which precipitate impurities and help in softening of hard water.
  • Chlorination: Sterilization to destroy disease causing organisms.
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