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Drip Irrigation

( Article Type: Explanation )

Drip irrigation is a very economical irrigation system, that delivers small quantities of water to crops close to their roots with minimal loss to evaporation or runoff. It consists of thin pipes, which are punctured beneath the shadow of each plant and deliver drops of water rather than a stream or flow of water.

The Israelis who began to grow oranges in the desert with limited water supplies pioneered drip irrigation. Their success in growing the world-renown ‘Jaffa’ oranges has encouraged many others to develop irrigation systems, which deliver minimal quantities of water exactly where they are needed. South Africa is a ‘water deficient’ country, meaning that water is in short supply.

Agriculture and market gardening enterprises need to make more use of drip irrigation both to save money and also to reduce overall water consumption. Some 65% of total water usage in South Africa is consumed by agriculture and conservative estimates suggest that up to 40% of that water may be lost by evaporation due to wasteful field spray irrigation methods. Increased water costs in South Africa over the next two years are likely to put pressure on farmers to change their irrigation methods to more economical and efficient methods.