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Irrigation Systems. Rainwater Most farmers in the world depend solely on seasonal rains to water their crops.

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Presentation on theme: "Irrigation Systems. Rainwater Most farmers in the world depend solely on seasonal rains to water their crops."— Presentation transcript:

1 Irrigation Systems

2 Rainwater Most farmers in the world depend solely on seasonal rains to water their crops

3 Rainwater Advantages: Advantages: No labor required No labor required Free Free No technology or equipment required No technology or equipment required Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Not suitable for all crops in all climates Not suitable for all crops in all climates A dry year can severely lessen yields or loose an entire crop A dry year can severely lessen yields or loose an entire crop Bad droughts and lead to little or no income and/or famine Bad droughts and lead to little or no income and/or famine

4 Hand Watering Watering individual plants by hand Watering individual plants by hand Usually involved hauling buckets, watering cans or a hose Usually involved hauling buckets, watering cans or a hose

5 Hand Watering Advantages: Advantages: Minimal and low-tech equipment needed Minimal and low-tech equipment needed Very cheap Very cheap Water applied directly to plants Water applied directly to plants Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Labor intensive Labor intensive Inefficient for watering a large amount of land Inefficient for watering a large amount of land Slow Slow

6 Surface or Flood Irrigation Water moves over and across the land by simple gravity flow Water moves over and across the land by simple gravity flow This has been the most common method of irrigating agricultural land This has been the most common method of irrigating agricultural land

7 Surface or Flood Irrigation Advantages: Advantages: Relatively small investment on low-tech equipment Relatively small investment on low-tech equipment Simple to understand Simple to understand Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Labor intensive Labor intensive High maintenance High maintenance Can lead to water-logging and soil salinity if there is not adequate drainage Can lead to water-logging and soil salinity if there is not adequate drainage Won’t work well on uneven surfaces Won’t work well on uneven surfaces

8 Sprinkler Water is piped in and distributed by overhead high- pressure sprinklers or guns from a central location in the field or from sprinklers on moving platforms Water is piped in and distributed by overhead high- pressure sprinklers or guns from a central location in the field or from sprinklers on moving platforms

9 Sprinkler Advantages: Advantages: Even distribution of water Even distribution of water Unaffected by uneven land surfaces Unaffected by uneven land surfaces Ability to apply fertilizers and herbicides through the system Ability to apply fertilizers and herbicides through the system Less labor required Less labor required Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Can cause crusting of soil surface Can cause crusting of soil surface Strongly affected by windy conditions Strongly affected by windy conditions High maintenance requirements High maintenance requirements Initial investments can be high Initial investments can be high Wet foliage is susceptible to disease Wet foliage is susceptible to disease Up t0 50% of water can be lost to evaporation before plants absorb it Up t0 50% of water can be lost to evaporation before plants absorb it

10 Center Pivot Water is distributed by a system of sprinklers that move on wheeled towers in a circular pattern Water is distributed by a system of sprinklers that move on wheeled towers in a circular pattern This system is common in flat areas of the United States This system is common in flat areas of the United States

11 Center Pivot Advantages: Advantages: Even distribution of water Even distribution of water Ability to apply fertilizers and herbicides through the system Ability to apply fertilizers and herbicides through the system Covers a large area with less sprinkler heads Covers a large area with less sprinkler heads Low labor Low labor Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Can cause crusting of soil surface and soil erosion Can cause crusting of soil surface and soil erosion Strongly affected by windy conditions Strongly affected by windy conditions High maintenance requirements High maintenance requirements Expensive to setup and fix Expensive to setup and fix Technical knowledge of system required Technical knowledge of system required

12 Lateral Move Irrigation Water is distributed from a main hose through a series of pipes, each with a wheel and a set of sprinklers Water is distributed from a main hose through a series of pipes, each with a wheel and a set of sprinklers After an area has been sufficiently watered the system is moved across the field either by hand mechanically After an area has been sufficiently watered the system is moved across the field either by hand mechanically

13 Lateral Move Irrigation Advantages: Advantages: Similar to center pivot irrigation Similar to center pivot irrigation Lower input costs than center pivot Lower input costs than center pivot Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Also similar to center pivot irrigation Also similar to center pivot irrigation Higher labor requirements than center pivot Higher labor requirements than center pivot

14 Drip Irrigation also known as trickle irrigation also known as trickle irrigation Water is delivered near the plants roots, drop by drop Water is delivered near the plants roots, drop by drop

15 Drip Irrigation Advantages: Advantages: Ability to irrigate irregularly shaped fields Ability to irrigate irregularly shaped fields Minimal soil erosion Minimal soil erosion Highly efficient and conserves water Highly efficient and conserves water Reduced risk of disease from wet foliage Reduced risk of disease from wet foliage Waters only root zone of plants Waters only root zone of plants Less soil crusting and weeds Less soil crusting and weeds Less water lost to evaporation Less water lost to evaporation

16 Drip Irrigation Disadvantages: Disadvantages: Very expensive investment Very expensive investment Initial setup is labor and time intensive Initial setup is labor and time intensive Post-season cleanup required Post-season cleanup required Uses lots of plastic Uses lots of plastic Can result in seed germination problems Can result in seed germination problems Requires sediment-free water Requires sediment-free water

17 Drip Irrigation Used since ancient times when buried clay pots were filled with water, which would gradually seep into the grass Used since ancient times when buried clay pots were filled with water, which would gradually seep into the grass Modern drip irrigation began its development in Afghanistan in 1886 with clay pipes Modern drip irrigation began its development in Afghanistan in 1886 with clay pipes The advent of modern plastic allowed for vast improvements in tubing The advent of modern plastic allowed for vast improvements in tubing Plastic emitters and modern drip irrigation was developed in Israel by Simcha Blass Plastic emitters and modern drip irrigation was developed in Israel by Simcha Blass

18 Drip Irrigation Drip irrigation is a sustainable solution in many, BUT not all agricultural applications. Drip irrigation is a sustainable solution in many, BUT not all agricultural applications. Ideal for watering landscapes, vegetable crops, orchards and vineyards. Ideal for watering landscapes, vegetable crops, orchards and vineyards. Not ideal for large field crop production such as alfalfa or soybeans. Not ideal for large field crop production such as alfalfa or soybeans. Greatly reduces the overall amount of water used by supplying water only where the plants can use it Greatly reduces the overall amount of water used by supplying water only where the plants can use it

19 What is the Best? Irrigation method used depends on : Irrigation method used depends on : Crop being grown Crop being grown Topography Topography Region Region Climate Climate Water availability Water availability Available money and labor Available money and labor

20 Sustainable Water Practices

21 Don’t Lose to Evaporation When crops are irrigated by overhead sprinklers nearly 50% of the water is lost to evaporation before it is absorbed by the plants. When crops are irrigated by overhead sprinklers nearly 50% of the water is lost to evaporation before it is absorbed by the plants. Even when watered with drip irrigation water evaporates faster than it is absorbed. Even when watered with drip irrigation water evaporates faster than it is absorbed. Evaporation is caused by the sun hitting and heating water molecules. Evaporation is caused by the sun hitting and heating water molecules. Watering plants in the early mornings or late afternoon/evening when the sun is not shining will greatly reduce water lost to evaporation Watering plants in the early mornings or late afternoon/evening when the sun is not shining will greatly reduce water lost to evaporation

22 Mulch Magic Mulch is a protective cover placed over soil to help retain moisture…as well as reduce erosion and suppress weeds. Mulch is a protective cover placed over soil to help retain moisture…as well as reduce erosion and suppress weeds. Mulching provides a more natural environment for plants by mimicking leaves that pile up on the forest floor. Mulching provides a more natural environment for plants by mimicking leaves that pile up on the forest floor. Materials: Materials: Organic mulches include yard clippings, leaves, straw, shredded tree bark, sawdust and compost Organic mulches include yard clippings, leaves, straw, shredded tree bark, sawdust and compost Synthetic mulches such as rubber from recycled tires and plastic sheeting Synthetic mulches such as rubber from recycled tires and plastic sheeting

23 Mulch Magic

24 Swales A Swale is a ditch on the contour of a hillside. A Swale is a ditch on the contour of a hillside. It does not direct water, but rather holds it and allows it to gradually infiltrate the soil down-slope of it. Soil and water run-off are caught in the swale, which becomes a fertile area. Gradual infiltration of water and nutrients in the swale slowly improve soil structure down-slope. It does not direct water, but rather holds it and allows it to gradually infiltrate the soil down-slope of it. Soil and water run-off are caught in the swale, which becomes a fertile area. Gradual infiltration of water and nutrients in the swale slowly improve soil structure down-slope.

25 Swales How a swale works: How a swale works: Swale Plume Swale Plume Swale Plume Swale Plume Example of what can be accomplished with swales: Example of what can be accomplished with swales: Greening the Desert Greening the Desert Greening the Desert Greening the Desert


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