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Drip irrigation

From Academic Kids

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Irrigation_dripper.jpg
A dripper

Drip irrigation is an irrigation method that applies water slowly to the roots of plants, by depositing the water either on the soil surface or directly to the root zone. Drip irrigation usually employs devices called emitters, which emit the water in a slow stream, and may also use devices called micro-sprinklers, which spray water in a small area.

Subsurface drip irrigation or SDI is the practice of drip irrigation using permanently or temporarily buried dripperline or drip tape. It is becoming more widely used for row crop irrigation especially in areas where water supplies are limited.

Drip irrigation systems may be manually operated or may be operated by a controller with electric or hydraulic valves.

Most large drip irrigation systems employ some type of filter to prevent clogging of the small emitter flowpath. Some residential systems are installed without additional filters since potable water is already filtered at the water treatment plant. Virtually all drip irrigation equipment manufacturers recommend that filters be employed and generally will not honor warranties unless this is done.

Because of the way the water is applied in a drip system, traditional surface applications of fertilizer are ineffective without rainfall or sprinklers. To remedy this, some liquid fertilizers are available that can be applied through the drip system. Fertigation and chemigation (application of pesticides and other chemicals such as chlorine or sulfuric acid) are accomplished with different types of chemical injection equipment such as diaphragm pumps, piston pumps, venturis, or several other methods. The chemicals may be added on a constant basis or at various intervals.

If properly designed, installed, and managed, drip irrigation may help achieve water conservation by reducing evaporation and overirrigation since water can be more precisely applied to the plant roots, when compared to other types of irrigation such as flood or sprinkler irrigation. However, there have been a number of poorly designed and/or managed systems that have been expensive, colossal failures. In addition, in regions where water supplies are severely limited, there may be no actual water savings, but rather an increase in production while using the same amount of water as before.

Drip irrigation is used by farms, commercial greenhouses, and residential gardeners.

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