Agriculture World

Most Innovative Irrigation Systems Applied in Agriculture

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

In a way crops are the thirstiest living beings since they require water for every bio-chemical process. We all know that rainfall is unpredictable; therefore through irrigation the crop thirst gets fulfilled. Hence as scarcity of water continues to grow, producers have started taking water availability and quality issues on a serious note. Due to increasing worth of water, producers’ mindset is shifting towards the idea of profit per drop. This in turn creates the need to focus on precise irrigation management, and having further transparency about the value addition the water contributes in the field.

Through, research and development it is established that information regarding the quantity of water needed is very important now. For every crop, water requirements vary at different growing stages. While limited quantity reduces the yields, excess water causes drowning or heavy damage to the crop. Therefore Agricultural water use has become quite a critical issue worldwide. In most cases investment in technological improvements has raised cost of irrigation without getting the full potential benefits of water efficiency. Farmers in general are still unaware about adequate means and incentives to know crops’ water use, actual irrigation applications, crops’ yield response to different water management practices etc. Here comes the role of innovating irrigation practices as it provides tools and resources that will benefits the growers/farmers/producers in improving over water efficiency constantly, so as to protect natural resources and ultimate enhancing their profitability. Innovative irrigation practices can not only enhance water efficiency and increase economic advantage for farmers, but also lower environmental burdens. Water-efficient methods and better irrigation schedules can also help in integrating water and nutrient management. All this leads to minimize leaching problems and agrochemical wastage.

Lots of innovations have been seen in irrigation methods/systems till now.

The most innovative irrigation systems are discussed below:

1. Irrigation programmers

These are basically management teams that are beneficial in optimizing the time and the area of ​​irrigation in crops, and saving more quantity of water. Under this, facility of automating the frequency and duration of irrigation is available. Two types of programmers are analog and digital irrigation programmers. Analogs are easier to use and also cost effective. Digital programmers are costly yet have the advantage of having more functions than analogs.

2. Solar irrigation

Solar irrigation uses the sun’s energy to power a pump which supplies water to boost crop’s growth. The pumps are used for the transport of the water are equipped with solar cells. The solar energy, which is absorbed by the cells, is then converted into electrical energy via a generator. The generator finally feeds an electric motor driving the pump. Most of the traditional pump systems mainly work either with a diesel engine or with the local power grid.

3. Sprinkler irrigation system

Sprinkler irrigation systems are involved in collecting water from a well or even from a river or reservoir, directly. It can be used on hilly terrain, and distributes water very smoothly. Conservation of water, or water saving is greater than that of other systems. Sprinkler irrigation can be divided further as

A. Conventional systems are the first irrigation systems developed in sprinkler irrigation, and comprise of

  • Fixed systems: the sprinklers are placed in the established frame, and the pipe system can be buried or superficial, leaving as a protruding part and with the appropriate height the stem where the sprinkler will be incorporated.

  • Semifixed: they are essentially systems and convenient to use as they can be moved one area to another manually or mechanized by rapid disassembling of the system, and assembling later.

  • Automechanized systems: they are automotive systems, having installed electric motors or hydraulic systems which ensure water to move along the irrigation surface. Within these systems are the pivoting systems of irrigation, lateral displacement systems (irrigation carts) and other watering machines.

B. Irrigation system by micro-sprinkler: It is another form of sprinkler irrigation. It distributes smaller droplets, allowing higher rate of water savings. It has a wider application in irrigating horticultural crops, flowers, greenhouses or nurseries… etc.


4. Drip irrigation system

This system is used generally in arid areas since it facilitates better rate of saving of water as well as fertilizers. The water through it is infiltrated towards the roots of the plants through a network of drippers. This innovative system was developed way back in 1930.

5. Underground drainage in agricultural land

It is usually used in those agricultural fields which have a higher percentage of humidity or where groundwater levels are too high for supporting crop growth. Under this system main aim is to lower the depth of the water table, which is the upper layer of an aquifer, for enhancing uninterrupted flow of water to the soil.

6. Multi-door irrigation system

It is a sort of multicomputer irrigation system that conducts the water and distributes it over the land in order to reduce water consumption while irrigating the fields. This is the least used as compared with all other innovative irrigation systems mentioned.

7. Airdrop Irrigation:

It is one of the latest innovations in irrigation and usually incorporates both natural and man-made materials. Universally, it is based, besides the plants, on the pergolas (pergolas are spaces between gardens; they can link pavilions and make canopies on the doors of buildings, on terraces or pools). Credit goes to Young Melbourne-based inventor Edward Linacre who won the 2011 James Dyson Award, for his Airdrop irrigation concept. This system collects water from thin air, and overall a very innovative irrigation system that pushes through a turbine to a water reservoir that is located in the subsoil. On the way, the air cools and condenses before reaching the tank, and once the water enters the tank, it is then pumped and directed to the drip irrigation system providing water to the plant. This system is based on the condensation of water.

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