Irrigation is, simply put, the process of artificially applying water to land or soil. Sometimes an area of land will not naturally receive the amount of water it needs to serve a purpose. In such a case, extra water must be added by some other means. Irrigation is a widespread technique used in various different processes: It is used to assist in the growing of crops or maintain landscapes; it is used to suppress dust and weeds; and it is even used in the mining process.
Irrigation is has been around for about as long as agriculture has. It existed in Mesopotamia, was a big reason why the Egyptian and Roman Empires flourished, and exists today every time a sprinkler turns on and waters a lawn.
TYPES OF IRRIGATION
There are various methods of irrigation that collect and distribute water in different ways. The one common theme is the attempt to distribute the water evenly throughout a target area.
Surface Irrigation (also called “Flood Irrigation”)
This is the most common form of agricultural irrigation historically. The Ancient Egyptians used this process at the banks of the Nile. The idea is to flood the area where a crop grows, at a level where the water can seep into the soil, but not so much that it drowns the crop. Another example of this is in rice paddies.
In this type of system, water moves through a pipes and is applied in a set pattern. An example of this is drip irrigation, where water is dripped slowly into the roots of a growing plant. This method tends to be the most efficient, as runoff and evaporation are greatly minimized.
In this type of system, water is distributed using sprinklers, sprays, or water guns. Sprinklers may be stationary or moving, and may have rotators that allow them to move in a circle or semi-circle. One common
method of sprinkler irrigation used in modern agriculture is a central pivot system, a series of
sprinklers connected to a rotating pivot that can water a large, circular area.
In this system, fields with high water tables have these tables artificially raised, allowing irrigation to take place through the bottom of the roots. This process if often mimicked in advanced greenhouses, an expensive process but a beneficial one as it uses a minimum of water, nutrients and labor.
Condensed Water Irrigation
In places with high humidity, cold surfaces can be used to collect moisture from the air and direct it to the area where water is needed.
Nothing too complicated here, this is where an area is irrigated through physical labor, often using watering buckets or cans.
A modern irrigation system could use two or even more of these methods to water an area.
Good luck and stay prepared!