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Manual adjustment of individual wheel positions may be necessary if the system becomes misaligned. Wheel line systems are limited in the amount of water they can carry, and limited in the height of crops that can be irrigated. One useful feature of a lateral move system is that it consists of sections that can be easily disconnected, adapting to field shape as the line is moved. They are most often used for small, rectilinear, or oddly-shaped fields, hilly or mountainous regions, or in regions where labor is inexpensive.

A lawn sprinkler system is permanently installed, as opposed to a hose-end sprinkler, which is portable. Sprinkler systems are installed in residential lawns, in commercial landscapes, for churches and schools, in public parks and cemeteries, and on golf courses. Most of the components of these irrigation systems are hidden under ground, since aesthetics are important in a landscape. A typical lawn sprinkler system will consist of one or more zones, limited in size by the capacity of the water source. Each zone will cover a designated portion of the landscape. Sections of the landscape will usually be divided by microclimate , type of plant material, and type of irrigation equipment.

A landscape irrigation system may also include zones containing drip irrigation, bubblers, or other types of equipment besides sprinklers. Although manual systems are still used, most lawn sprinkler systems may be operated automatically using an irrigation controller , sometimes called a clock or timer. Most automatic systems employ electric solenoid valves. Each zone has one or more of these valves that are wired to the controller. When the controller sends power to the valve, the valve opens, allowing water to flow to the sprinklers in that zone.

Practices of Irrigation & On-farm Water Management: Volume 2 by Hossain Ali | Waterstones

There are two main types of sprinklers used in lawn irrigation, pop-up spray heads and rotors. Spray heads have a fixed spray pattern, while rotors have one or more streams that rotate. Spray heads are used to cover smaller areas, while rotors are used for larger areas.

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Golf course rotors are sometimes so large that a single sprinkler is combined with a valve and called a 'valve in head'. When used in a turf area, the sprinklers are installed with the top of the head flush with the ground surface. When the system is pressurized, the head will pop up out of the ground and water the desired area until the valve closes and shuts off that zone. Once there is no more pressure in the lateral line, the sprinkler head will retract back into the ground. In flower beds or shrub areas, sprinklers may be mounted on above ground risers or even taller pop-up sprinklers may be used and installed flush as in a lawn area.

There are many types of hose-end sprinklers. Many of them are smaller versions of larger agricultural and landscape sprinklers, sized to work with a typical garden hose. Some have a spiked base allowing them to be temporarily stuck in the ground, while others have a sled base designed to be dragged while attached to the hose. Subirrigation has been used for many years in field crops in areas with high water tables. It is a method of artificially raising the water table to allow the soil to be moistened from below the plants' root zone.

Often those systems are located on permanent grasslands in lowlands or river valleys and combined with drainage infrastructure. A system of pumping stations, canals, weirs and gates allows it to increase or decrease the water level in a network of ditches and thereby control the water table. Subirrigation is also used in the commercial greenhouse production, usually for potted plants. Water is delivered from below, absorbed by upwards, and the excess collected for recycling. Typically, a solution of water and nutrients floods a container or flows through a trough for a short period of time, 10—20 minutes, and is then pumped back into a holding tank for reuse.

Sub-irrigation in greenhouses requires fairly sophisticated, expensive equipment and management. Advantages are water and nutrient conservation, and labor savings through reduced system maintenance and automation. It is similar in principle and action to subsurface basin irrigation. Another type of subirrigation is the self-watering container, also known as a sub-irrigated planter. This consists of a planter suspended over a reservoir with some type of wicking material such as a polyester rope.

The water is drawn up the wick through capillary action. Subsurface Textile Irrigation SSTI is a technology designed specifically for subirrigation in all soil textures from desert sands to heavy clays.

What is irrigation?

A typical subsurface textile irrigation system has an impermeable base layer usually polyethylene or polypropylene , a drip line running along that base, a layer of geotextile on top of the drip line and, finally, a narrow impermeable layer on top of the geotextile see diagram. The impermeable layer effectively creates an artificial water table. Irrigation water can come from groundwater extracted from springs or by using wells , from surface water withdrawn from rivers , lakes or reservoirs or from non-conventional sources like treated wastewater , desalinated water , drainage water , or fog collection.

A special form of irrigation using surface water is spate irrigation , also called floodwater harvesting. In case of a flood spate , water is diverted to normally dry river beds wadis using a network of dams, gates and channels and spread over large areas. The moisture stored in the soil will be used thereafter to grow crops.

Spate irrigation areas are in particular located in semi-arid or arid, mountainous regions. While floodwater harvesting belongs to the accepted irrigation methods, rainwater harvesting is usually not considered as a form of irrigation. Rainwater harvesting is the collection of runoff water from roofs or unused land and the concentration of this. Increasingly, agriculture uses untreated wastewater as a source of irrigation water. Cities provide lucrative markets for fresh produce, so are attractive to farmers.

However, because agriculture has to compete for increasingly scarce water resources with industry and municipal users see Water scarcity below , there is often no alternative for farmers but to use water polluted with urban waste, including sewage, directly to water their crops. Significant health hazards can result from using water loaded with pathogens in this way, especially if people eat raw vegetables that have been irrigated with the polluted water. The International Water Management Institute has worked in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mexico and other countries on various projects aimed at assessing and reducing risks of wastewater irrigation.

They advocate a 'multiple-barrier' approach to wastewater use, where farmers are encouraged to adopt various risk-reducing behaviours. These include ceasing irrigation a few days before harvesting to allow pathogens to die off in the sunlight, applying water carefully so it does not contaminate leaves likely to be eaten raw, cleaning vegetables with disinfectant or allowing fecal sludge used in farming to dry before being used as a human manure. In countries where humid air sweeps through at night, water can be obtained by condensation onto cold surfaces. This is practiced in the vineyards at Lanzarote using stones to condense water.

Fog collectors are also made of canvas or foil sheets. Using condensate from air conditioning units as a water source is also becoming more popular in large urban areas.


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Modern irrigation methods are efficient enough to supply the entire field uniformly with water, so that each plant has the amount of water it needs, neither too much nor too little. Until s, the common perception was that water was an infinite resource. At that time, there were fewer than half the current number of people on the planet.

People were not as wealthy as today, consumed fewer calories and ate less meat , so less water was needed to produce their food. They required a third of the volume of water we presently take from rivers. Today, the competition for water resources is much more intense.


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  • This is because there are now more than seven billion people on the planet, their consumption of water-thirsty meat and vegetables is rising, and there is increasing competition for water from industry , urbanisation and biofuel crops. To avoid a global water crisis , farmers will have to strive to increase productivity to meet growing demands for food , while industry and cities find ways to use water more efficiently. Successful agriculture is dependent upon farmers having sufficient access to water.

    However, water scarcity is already a critical constraint to farming in many parts of the world. With regards to agriculture, the World Bank targets food production and water management as an increasingly global issue that is fostering a growing debate. Arid regions frequently suffer from physical water scarcity. It also occurs where water seems abundant but where resources are over-committed. This can happen where there is overdevelopment of hydraulic infrastructure, usually for irrigation. Symptoms of physical water scarcity include environmental degradation and declining groundwater.

    Economic scarcity, meanwhile, is caused by a lack of investment in water or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand for water. Symptoms of economic water scarcity include a lack of infrastructure, with people often having to fetch water from rivers for domestic and agricultural uses.

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    Irrigation schemes involve solving numerous engineering and economic problems while minimizing negative environmental impact. A study found that countries whose agriculture depended on irrigation are more likely to be autocratic than other countries. The authors of the study "argue that the effect has historical origins: irrigation allowed landed elites in arid areas to monopolize water and arable land. This made elites more powerful and better able to oppose democratization. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about irrigation for agriculture and landscapes.

    For other uses, see Irrigation disambiguation. Main article: Sri Lankan irrigation network. Main article: Hohokam. Main article: Surface irrigation. Main article: Micro-irrigation. Main article: Drip irrigation. Further information: Irrigation sprinkler. Main article: Center pivot irrigation. Main article: Subsurface textile irrigation.

    Main article: Environmental impact of irrigation. Agriculture and Agronomy portal. Frost protection: fundamentals, practice, and economics. Volume 1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Roberts; J. Hill; S. Scardaci; G. Archived from the original on Retrieved The Domestication and Exploitation of Plants and Animals. In Hall, A. Agriculture in Semi-Arid Environments. Ecological Studies. The Basis of Civilization--water Science? International Association of Hydrological Science. Minnesota State University "e-museum". The Sumerian World. Routledge Worlds.

    Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge. London: Routledge published Britannica Concise. Mokhtar Ancient civilizations of Africa. Retrieved — via Books. Various Authors; Edited By: R. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Globally Important Agriculture Heritage Systems. UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

    Taipei: Caves Books Ltd. Pages — Woongjin Publishing Co. Hoogeveen, P. Feick, and K. Frenken Bonn, Germany.

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    The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 23 May City of Tempe, Arizona. Retrieved 29 July Drain Eng. The Fence Post Magazine.