Conserving Water with Drip Irrigation

Today it is more important than ever to use water resources wisely and to irrigate intelligently. Drip irrigation has enabled farmers, nurserymen, and landscapers to conserve water for decades.  This is primarily because, in contrast to gravity or sprinkler irrigation, drip irrigation technology applies water slowly and directly to the targeted plant’s root zone.

Drip irrigation makes sense in dry climates

Drip irrigation makes sense in dry climates

Water is conserved in the following ways:

Drip irrigation application uniformity is very high, usually over 90%.
Unlike sprinklers, drip irrigation applies water directly to the soil, eliminating water loss from wind.
Application rates are low so water may be spoon fed to the crop or plant root zone in the exact amounts required (even on a daily or hourly basis).  In contrast, other methods entail higher water application quantities and less frequency.  If young plants need water frequently, much of the water applied is often wasted to deep percolation or runoff.
Low application rates are less likely to run off from heavier soils or sloping terrain.
Drip irrigation does not water non-targeted areas such as furrows and roads in agriculture, between beds, blocks or benches in greenhouses, or hardscape, buildings or roads in landscape.
Drip irrigation easily adapts to odd-shaped planting areas which are difficult to address with sprinklers or gravity irrigation.
Drip irrigation is capable of germinating seeds and setting transplants which eliminates the need for “sprinklering up” and eliminates the resulting waste in the early stages of crop growth.

Many landscapers have also enjoyed significant water and capital investment savings using drip irrigation, while simultaneously improving plant vigor by delivering water and nutrients directly to the plant roots and avoiding unnecessary wetting of plant leaves.

Drip irrigation is the targeted, intelligent application of water, fertilizer, and chemicals that when used properly can provide great benefits such as:

Increased Revenue from Increased Yields
Increased Revenue from Increased Quality
Decreased Water Costs
Decreased Labor Costs
Decreased Energy Costs
Decreased Fertilizer Costs
Decreased Pesticide Costs
Improved Environmental Quality

Source: www.dripirrigation.org

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