Scientific research

Contour irrigation

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Irrigation by furrows cut with small slope to the land horizontals (contour irrigation) reduces risk of soil erosion by reducing the speed of water flow in irrigation furrows.

Brief summary of technology:

Prior to making of contour furrows it is necessary to draw or designate the contour lines with a defined slope with landmarks using geodetic devices or simple tools (protractor, A-shaped frame).

The irrigation network for contour irrigation consists of a distribution plastic tray with openings in the bottom of the tray for water supply into each furrow.

Before installation of the plastic tray, contour irrigation furrows are cut. After making of contour irrigation furrows the distribution plastic trays with bottom openings for water supply into each furrow are set. The tray is established in the area of the highest slope, and water supply from an irrigation source into the tray is regulated by a simple flat gate.

During an irrigation event, water is supplied into a plastic tray and from regulating openings in the bottom of the tray flows into the irrigation contour furrows. Duration of water supply is regulated according to a irrigation regime of the corresponding crop.

The contour irrigation was applied for irrigation of corn and soya crops on the areas with a slope of more than 25% (0.25). Sowing of soya was carried out by a bed seeder.

Location: „Kenenbay“ farm, Sokuluk district, Chuy province.

Area of technology application: 3.5 ha.

Stage of intervention: coping with erosion.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Soil erosion is one of the main causes of destruction of a fertile soil layer. It occurs mainly because of the socalled "agroindustrial" agriculture: soils are plowed in large areas, following which the fertile layer is subject to wind or water erosion.

Main technical features of technology:

Managing of dissipating surface runoff / reduction of speed of water flow.

Type of land use Conservation measures

Irrigated arable land.

Production of annual crops - Во(Ca).

Agronomic and irrigation methods.



Average annual rainfall: 200-300 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 500-1000 m.

Landscape: mountain and foothill slopes.

Slope (%):>25% (hilly).

Soil fertility: very low.

Humus content in arable horizon: 2.5% (moderate).

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: moderate.

Anthropogenic environment

Size of land area (ha): 2-5 ha.

Landholder: small/middle sized, mixed.

Land ownership: 75% of arable land is individual and 25% - state.

Water use rights: through WUAs and organizations responsible for management of irrigation systems on relevant payment.

Market orientation: subsistence farming (self sufficiency), free market.


Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- reduces irrigational erosion to 70%;

- preserves soil fertility.

Main disadvantages:

- additional costs of purchase and installation of plastic trays;

- additional works for cutting of furrows along a contour.

Acceptance/adoption of technology: a trend of increase of implementation of this technology is observed.

Reference(s): Reports of ICARDA/CACILM and of the Kyrgyz Scientific Research Institute of irrigation.

Name of person(s) collected this description: A. Naloychenko, leading research associate;

A. Atakanov, head of lab of irrigation and soil - erosive research. Kyrgyz Scientific Research Institute of Irrigation.

Address: 4А, Toktonaliyev str., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Tel.: +996 (312) 541 171.





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