The Limited Utility of Flood-Water In The Perkerra River Irrigation Scheme, Kenya

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Pereira H.C
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Initial developments of irrigation from the Perkerra River at Marigat were carried out by the African Land Development Board and the Agricultural Department staff, using Kikuyu prison labour without engineering assistance. These trial plots produced fair yields of maize, sorghum, groundnuts and sugar-cane in 1954, and thus supplied much useful food for the maintenance of the large prison camp. They thereby showed the soil to be fertile with no immediate salinity problems. Water distribution was found to be a major difficulty requiring accurate levelling in the setting out of land. The Hydraulic Branch of the Ministry of Works undertook the designing of the canal system for the full 4,000-acre scheme. In addition, the problem of devising an efficient system of water distribution within the fields was passed to the Hydraulic Branch, who invited the cooperation of the Physics Department of E.A.A.F.R.O. in the necessary investigation work. This paper reports results of the first study. which was to find whether heavy waterings could be distributed to make the maximum use of high flood flows, and describes the experiments in progress in the second study, which is of methods for economising in water by matching irrigation to measured water use by the crops.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 23, p. 246-253