Drip irrigation refers to a system where water is frequently applied directly on the root zone of a crop. The concept behind this system is to water the root zone only instead of the whole surface of the field. This helps in optimizing the water content at the root zone of the crop.
In this system, the application of water is done under pressure. Water is then dripped a drop at a time via the small emitters. This irrigation can also be done by spraying a fine mist of water over a surface of the field or by bubbling water into the soil through small streamlets.
Drip systems only irrigate a small portion of the soil. Despite this, the wetted soil amount is dependent on the characteristics of the soil, the number as well as the spacing of emitters, discharge rate and the length of the period of irrigation.
This system of irrigation is among the most efficient irrigation system types. It’s efficiency in terms of applied and the water that is lost ranges from 75 to 90%. This high efficiency of this system is brought about by two major factors:
• The application of water is done on the root zone of the crop, a place where it is readily absorbed by the roots.
• Application of water in a drop wise manner enables the soil to soak it before it is lost to the atmosphere by evaporation.
Despite the fact that drip system is a good solution for smart irrigation, implementing it is not easy and it may take some time. The farmer is required to understand the field properties as well as the crop needs for proper water management.
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Victor Mwangi -Author.