Drip Irrigation and the Food Supply

by GuestPoster on February 15, 2011

Having adequate food sources is often one of the top priorities of a nation. People are generally content when they have access to food and shelter and it is not uncommon for nations lacking in these two basic supplies to experience riots and other public demonstrations of objection. Food shortages were directly linked to uprisings in colonial towns and were often the determining factor of success when conducting a siege. However, directly linked to being able to provide an adequate food supply is the ability to sufficiently water crops and optimize growth of needed crops.

During times of war and exploration it is common to deal with food shortages and they are somewhat expected under such circumstances. In contrast though, drought is another factor which can cause crop failure and this does not usually have the backing of patriotism or valor to sustain people who are facing food shortages. In areas which experience dry desert like conditions each year, drip irrigation is considered one of the best irrigation methods to use for garden areas and crops which do not require plowing or heavy machinery.

The most common crop which is suited to drip irrigation methods is fields of fruit trees. Since it often takes years for fruit trees to become established and begin producing higher volumes of produce, farmers are often careful to monitor their growth and placement in great detail. Once fruit trees are planted the area surrounding their root systems is predictable and stationary, so the piping used in drip irrigation systems can be installed with little disturbance. This would not work with field crops such as wheat or barley since the dirt in these areas needs to be furrowed and turned regularly each season and often requires the use of heavy machinery that would destroy drip irrigation networks.

These systems are also ideal for garden areas. For many gardeners, the idea of spending hours bent over pulling weeds is deplorable since it often results in sore muscles and joints. When a garden drip irrigation system is used, the hoses can be arranged along specific pathways which prevents other areas from being watered. Without the water, these other areas require much less weeding and can greatly reduce the time spent in upkeep for a garden area. Traditionally, the drip lines in a fruit orchard are a soft permeable sponge material which allows the water to seep out slowly over very specific areas. These soft line systems are often installed in a more permanent manner and are almost never disturbed unless a repair to a line is made. With a garden though, it is necessary to till the soil once or twice a year which makes soft lines impractical.

Instead, PVC pipe is often used with joint attachments that can be taken on and off as the furrows are dug each year. This would be too complicated of a procedure for a larger field of crops, but on a small scale, proves little hassle. Some of the benefits of a drip line irrigation system are water conservation and very localized watering. As a farmer, having an adequate water supply is essential and great care is often taken to make sure each plant is receiving sufficient amounts for growth. Being able to install the systems directly over the root systems of the plants is the best way to assure this.

Plus, since the drip irrigation uses slow seepage of water techniques, there is little runoff and even less evaporation, yet over time, the moisture is able to rich the needed depth of the root systems. As can be seen, adequate watering is just as an important consideration for food resources as the actual plants and soil which benefit from its presence.

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