Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. The goal is to place water directly into the root zone and minimize evaporation. Drip irrigation systems distribute water through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. Depending on how well designed, installed, maintained, and operated it is, a drip irrigation system can be more efficient than other types of irrigation systems, such as surface irrigation or sprinkler irrigation.
Most large drip irrigation systems employ some type of filter to prevent clogging of the small emitter flow path by small waterborne particles.
Properly designed, installed, and managed, drip irrigation may help achieve water conservation by reducing evaporation and deep drainage when compared to other types of irrigation such as flood or overhead sprinklers since water can be more precisely applied to the plant roots. In addition, drip can eliminate many diseases that are spread through water contact with the foliage. Finally, in regions where water supplies are severely limited, there may be no actual water savings, but rather simply an increase in production while using the same amount of water as before. In very arid regions or on sandy soils, the preferred method is to apply the irrigation water as slowly as possible.
Advantages of Drip Irrigation
- Maximum use of available water.
- No water being available to weeds.
- Maximum crop yield.
- High efficiency in the use of fertilizers.
- Less weed growth and restricts population of potential hosts.
- Low labour and relatively low operation cost.
- No soil erosion.
- Improved infiltration in soil of low intake.
- Ready adjustment to sophisticated automatic control.
- No runoff of fertilizers into ground water.
- Less evaporation losses of water as compared to surface irrigation.
- Improves seed germination.
- Decreased to tillage operations.