Irrigation is the artificial way of using water to the soil. This is used for assisting the growth of crops. But before we discuss the types of irrigation systems, let’s discuss the main ways the farmers use agricultural water to cultivate their crops.
The first way is rain-farming. This is the natural way of applying the water to the soil through direct rainfall. This is beneficial when it comes to reducing the contamination of foods, but not efficient if rainfall is reduced.
The second way is through irrigation systems. This is done through various systems of pumps, tubes and sprays. It is efficient when if the place is experiencing dry season or drought. The types of irrigation systems will then be discussed further.
1. Surface Irrigation
In this method, the water moves across the surface of the land by simple gravity flow. This is to wet and infiltrate the soil. Surface irrigation is divided into border strip, furrow and basin irrigation. It’s also popular going by the name of flood irrigation because most of the time it results to flooding.
2. Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation is also called trickle irrigation. The water is delivered near the plant’s root zone, drop by drop. We can say that among the different types of irrigation, this is the most efficient. If you can manage this system properly, the water runoff and evaporation are minimized. Most of the time, plastic mulch is combined so the evaporation is further reduced. You can also use this type of irrigation as a means of delivering the fertilizer. The process might already be familiar to you, it’s called fertigation.
3. Manual Irrigation
This irrigation system is mostly used on periurban agriculture and rural areas. It uses watering cans to become an efficient method. This kind of system has low requirements when it comes to technical equipment and infrastructure, but it needs high labour inputs.
4. Centre-Pivot Irrigation
This system uses a self-propelled system in which a single pipeline is supported by a row of mobile towers. These towers are suspended 2 to 4 meters above the ground. Once the water is pumped into the central pipe, the towers will rotate slowly around the pivot point. The large circular area is then irrigated. The sprinkler nozzles are then mounted from the pipeline, then it distributes water once the pipeline rotates.
5. Sprinkler System
This is a system based on sprays or guns and overhead sprinklers which are installed on permanent risers. The system can also be buried underground, and the sprinkles will rise once the water pressure ruses. This is a popular type of irrigation system used on parks and homes.
6. Rotary System
Rotary system is used for large areas. The sprinklers can reach distances over 100 feet. A mechanical driven sprinkler is installed, and it moves in a circular motion. The system will then water a large area with small amounts of water. It keeps on working like this for a long period of time.