Research and Demonstration Farms
PCRWR has established Research and Demonstration Farms in different agro-climatic zones of the country: Mera Kachori, Peshawar (12 acres); Dingarh (500 acres), Toba Allahyar (100 acres), Hyderwali (200 acres), Naraywala (200 acres), Cholistan; Sariab Road, Quetta (8 acres); Nushki, Balochistan (500 acres); Mithi, Tharparkar (200 acres); Tandojam, Hyderabad (40 acres); Sial Mor, Sargodha (21 acres); and Chak Beli, Gujar Khan (22 acres).
These R&D farms are equipped with farm machineries, meteorological observatories, lysimeter stations etc. The experiments on different irrigation techniques; soil-water plant relationship, soil and water conservation, rangeland/grassland development, watershed management, rainwater harvesting etc. are under implementation in the irrigated, arid and mountainous areas of the country.
PCRWR Research and Demonstration Farm for Rainfed Areas is located at Darkali Kalan, district Rawalpindi at 73.03O E and 33.30O N, 60 km away from Islamabad. It encompasses an area of 175 kanals typically representing the Potohar topography and livelihood. Here, integrated water management research is conducted to improve farm productivity under rainfed conditions. The R&D works trialed there are based upon the philosophy, “keep it simple and stupid”. The interventions carried out at the farm are therefore simple and socially-acceptable and are yielding substantial economic returns. Salient management practices at the farm are: micro-catchments for orchard plants, solar-powered drip system for supplemental irrigation of orchards, solar-powered farmhouse electrification system, rooftop rainwater harvesting and drip bucket irrigation systems for kitchen gardening, slope transverse ploughings for erosion control and runoff entrapments, rainwater harvesting ponds etc.
Micro-catchment is a specially designed area with slope and dikes to increase runoff and concentrate it in planting basins. Maximum amount of runoff gathers near the root zone, infiltrate and stored in soil profile. Micro-catchments may enhance the water availability to the plant 3-4 times of the amount of annual rainfall. A number of fruit trees can be exclusively grown on rainfall, or it significantly reduces the supplemental irrigation requirement. Micro-catchments were developed around citrus, grapes, cactus, plum and other fruit trees at the farm to cut their irrigation requirements.
Solar-powered trickle system for supplemental irrigation
Trickle irrigation is a viable technology for the region, if designed and installed properly. Nevertheless, availability of power source in remote areas is a major hindrance for adoption of trickle system. Small solar-powered pumping unit can solve this problem. A 260 watt solar panel was connected to a 0.33HP submersible pump (DC, 5 GPM) at the farm. The pump was lowered in 40ft deep dugwell to pump water to 150 ft height. For this purpose, three overhead tanks (500 gallons each) have been placed at three different high locations. The system daily operates for 6 hours and is sufficient to fill 2 of the tanks, if required. These tanks are irrigating over 4 acres orchard through low pressure tickle system.
Rooftop rainwater harvesting
A technique in which rainwater is captured from the roof surface and stored in tanks for subsequent uses. Rainwater from the roofs is collected by connecting it’s outlet to storage tanks (300-500 gallons) through pipe. A screen is attached to the outlet to prevent leaves and mud entry. The amount of harnessable water depends upon roof size, rainfall and the uses. The stored water can be used for domestic purposes and small scale gardening. The water harvested from office building is being used for the nursery. Besides, a number of plants are being irrigated from it.
Research and Demonstration Farms
PCRWR established a Research & Demonstration Centre in 2005 comprising land of 21 acres to formulate water conservation strategies for Irrigated Agriculture. The Center is located about 4 km away from Sial interchange on M2 motorway in District Sargodha (see location map). Research activities at the Center are focused to enhance water use efficiency (WUE) by introducing adaptable water conservation techniques. Though, drip and sprinkler irrigation system have proved best WUE and saving of water 50-70 percent but input and maintenance cost is challenge of the farmer. Hence, PCRWR emphasizing on affordable & adaptable best water management techniques like bed and furrow irrigation, zero tillage (sowing of wheat followed by rice) and LASER land leveling by which 20-40 percent of water can be saved in wheat and rice crop