Why Do People Prioritise Drip Irrigation?
This procedure is a non-pressurised method of delivering water to the root systems of plants. The water is delivered in a controlled manner, directly to the root system of plants in a way that mimics nature. As such, the drip irrigation system is becoming more popular as they save time and money while being environmentally friendly. For example, installing a system only takes an hour, whereas traditional sprinkler systems can take up to 8 hours. In addition, because water is less often wasted due to evaporation or runoff, it saves money on both the initial installation cost and the operating costs of supplying water for irrigation.
Reduced Water Use
Traditional flood irrigation wastes up to half of the water used. In addition, because the roots of plants are submerged when using traditional irrigation, water is lost due to evaporation and runoff. Conversely, drip watering allows for much less water usage because the entire root system remains. This water-saving advantage is becoming more critical as groundwater aquifers are depleted in many regions. Furthermore, the method uses only 5%-10% of the energy required to pump and move the same amount of water with a centre pivot sprinkler system.
Improved Plant Health
Because rainwater is used for irrigation, plants can more effectively regulate their internal moisture levels. In other words, the plants can water themselves without any external assistance. Environmental conditions such as uneven rainfall and temperature fluctuations also contribute significantly to the health of a plant. And using no outside water means a plant can restore its moisture.
Improved Soil Health
Water that becomes soluble by evaporation allows nutrients to wash down into the soil through rain or fog. At the same time, traditional irrigation methods rely on the uptake of nutrients from plants by the leaves themselves, which has not been effective in many cases. And with drip watering, nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus are directly delivered to the roots of plants by feeding into the root zone. And because nutrients are less likely to be washed away, they are more readily available when needed in the soil.
The drip method also allows farmers to minimise damage caused by fertiliser runoff into streams and rivers, which has become a significant problem in many countries where fertilisers are used in large quantities. In addition, its use increases plant growth and reduces plant stress with fewer water and fertiliser inputs compared with traditional flood or furrow irrigation techniques.
Efficient Use of Fertilisers
In a traditional irrigation system, as much as 50% of the fertiliser is lost to drainage due to the decreased absorbing power of the soil. But with drip watering, fertilisers are placed directly into the root zone, where people will more readily use them. And since only minimal amounts of water are used with drip watering, there is less chance of seepage into deeper soil layers and less overall fertiliser use required. In addition, in drip irrigation, plants absorb water faster than through-the-soil irrigation or sprinklers; this faster intake can result in younger, smaller fruit that is often sweeter and less acidic.
Drip Systems are Flexible
It is the most efficient and environmentally friendly watering method but can be used in almost any type of plant or setup. It can be easily adapted to suit local conditions and soil types and is an ideal method for use on a small scale or by farmers with a limited water supply.
The only restriction is that people must install a network of drip emitters in conjunction with the irrigation system before planting, but this process does not take more than an hour to complete. Provided these conditions are met, these systems are easy to install on a large scale. They can help reduce the overall growth time by up to 50% and increase fruit trees yield in many cases.
It has many benefits and is quickly becoming an efficient water supply for agriculture. It is a cost-effective method with many advantages over traditional methods and can be used on a large scale. Moreover, it reduces the amount of water wasted, which leads to a reduced water bill and reduces the need for chemicals and fertilisers.