What is irrigation and how we use it today - TWL Irrigation (2023)

What is irrigation? The definition that works best for this article is that irrigation is the practice of adding water artificially to land.

Agricultural irrigation takes into account the needs of the crop throughout the "growing season" to meet the total nutrient needs of the crop.

The crop can be anything including wheat varieties and grasses, fruits and vegetables. They all need water to thrive, and when that water isn't available naturally, it has to be supplied artificially, e.g. B. by irrigation.

Irrigation can also be used to keep grass alive and healthy in gardens and on sports fields or golf courses.

The first thing that springs to mind for most people when they hear the word irrigation is a connection to agriculture, so let's start with that.

The science of irrigation in agriculture

The first records of irrigation go back more than 8,000 years. The technology used at that time forms an important basis for modernityagricultural irrigationpractice today.

where everything began

The first irrigation systems were built around 6000 BC. developed in Egypt and Mesopotamia; an area often referred to as "the cradle of civilization". The name "Mesopotamia" means "the land between the rivers", and in this case the rivers in question were the Tigris and Euphrates.

Today this area of ​​land lies mainly in what we now call Iraq. In the mists of time, the inhabitants of this region were the Sumerians. They were the first to invent writing, a system of government and irrigation.

The main types of irrigation

There are basically two main types of irrigation: above ground and below ground. Each of these types, in turn, is divided into several different irrigation methods. So let's take a look at the different irrigation techniques.

surface irrigation

Surface irrigation involves applying water to the surface of the earth using gravity and is the most common form of irrigation.

surface flood irrigation

Also known as flood irrigation, flood irrigation can be explained as an artificial method that intentionally floods the land. It saturates the soil, and the occasional rain that follows is enough to see the crop grow to maturity.

The Egyptians used water from the Nile, which burst its banks several months of the year. They took water from their fields and enabled them to grow crops that would otherwise be impossible.

Around the same time, water from the Euphrates and Tigris was drawn into Mesopotamia through the series of irrigation canals they dug in Mesopotamia, which is considered the first work of hydraulic engineering.

These are the first examples of flood irrigation to be classified as an uncontrolled irrigation system.

surface irrigation elevator

In elevator irrigation, water is raised by mechanical interventions such as pumps, etc. The spring water from wells and pipe wells is transported to feed the plants at a higher level.


Underground irrigation is a method that does not involve wetting the surface of the soil. Water is released underground in an action known as capillarity. This type of irrigation is natural or artificial.

Methodology of underground natural irrigation

Natural underground irrigation occurs in areas close to water sources such as canals, lakes, rivers or wells, through which water seeps into the surrounding soil and naturally nourishes the plants.

Artificial underground irrigation

In its simplest form, this type of irrigation carries water underground through a system of perforated pipes along its length. Water "runs" through the holes, irrigating the root systems of nearby plants. Water can also replenish the water table and help nourish the plants.

flood irrigation

Flood irrigation is still used today. The first application that comes to mind for most people is flooded paddy fields where rice is grown. There are other uses. Wherever the topography is level and flat, flood irrigation can be used to irrigate crops such as small grains such as grain and hay.

Pool and rim irrigation

Flood irrigation is also called pool and rim irrigation. Essentially flat land is surrounded by earthen ramparts to block water leaks. Basin irrigation is generally used to grow trees, with each basin being proportional to the size of the tree.

Boundary irrigation divides the irrigated area into rectangular basins. The water level can be controlled so that it overflows and drains into the nearest bay.

Watershed irrigation can be a very scientific application as farmers use laser leveling and soil leveling. Australian farmers use a "Level Basin Irrigation System" to control water flow and use this method to alternately plant rice and wheat.

Irrigation by furrows and waves

Another variant of flood irritation is furrow irrigation. This is the case when high water is kept within the grooves. Crops are planted on the ridges.

These irrigation methods are used for growing crops such as cotton, corn, and sugar cane, and are also sometimes used in citrus and stone fruit orchards, vineyards, and some tomato orchards.

Another form of furrow irrigation is wave irrigation. The water supply is switched on and off here.

Surface irrigation in action today

Surface irrigation is a common form of irrigation used today by farmers, homeowners, and facilities such as golf courses and parks.

These are the different watering methods that are most commonly used

sprinkler irrigation

Sprinkler irrigation can be used to provide water to plants of almost any size, shape, or field slope. These systems are used in agriculture in four basic ways.

Piping system with manual movement

In this variant, a sprinkler is attached to the end of an aluminum or PVC pipe. The pipe length is usually 30 or 40 feet. Each tube is placed vertically and they are usually installed in a row about 12 meters apart. For this reason, they are referred to as quarterbacks.

Handheld sprinkler systems are less expensive to install and easier to maintain than other types of sprinkler systems. However, they are more labor intensive.

Solid Array Sprinkler System

A solid set system is a system in which PVC pipes are laid firmly in the ground. Vertical risers are fitted, each with a sprinkler unit at the top. The distance between each riser can vary from 40 to over 100 feet. This distance is determined by the type and size of the sprinkler.

Center Pivot Irrigation Systems

They have horizontal pipe arms along which sprinkler units are installed. The arm is attached to a central pivot so that it rotates horizontally on its axis, distributing the water in an arc of a circle.

These systems can be made to order depending on the size of the field or area to be irrigated. Early models were water powered, but current units are powered by electric motors.

Irrigation systems with hose reel or mobile pistol

These types of systems have a large sprinkler unit connected to a hose and mounted on a cart. A tractor is used to pull the mobile system across the field, unwind the hose and bring water to the fields.


Drip irrigation supplies water to plants according to the amount of water that a particular plant requires. It is the most popular irrigation system in the world, especially in arid regions where water conservation and efficiency are particularly important.

Delivers water directly to the root zone of plants at the right time and in the right amount, making it easy to improve crop yields while saving energy, fertilizer and water.

Water and nutrients are distributed throughout the growing area using small-diameter pipes with precisely engineered drip points distributed along their length. Each dripper delivers water or water plus nutrients etc evenly along the entire length, encouraging higher quality and quantity crops.

Drip irrigation can be tailored to the task, whether you're watering an entire field, multiple fields, or a vegetable garden.

The home gardener and drip irrigation

Drip irrigation is by far the mostbest methodWatering the plants in the garden of a house. It's relatively inexpensive, but even so, gardeners will recoup much of the initial cost in reduced water bills for years to come. The principles of drip irrigation for the garden are very similar to those used in agriculture, albeit on a much smaller scale, of course.

porous tube

There is another option for the home gardener that deserves aeration and that is what is known as porous tube irrigation.

Porous tubing is completely porous throughout its length. This means water can be filtered exactly where it is needed after the pipes have been carefully placed. Installation can be on the surface of the soil or under any mulch or directly underground.

Considering that the purpose of the exercise is to get the irrigation water to the root system of the plants, these placements, especially the underground option, are perfect. While drip feeding at or just above the surface already minimizes wastage of irrigation water through evaporation, underground placement eliminates this entirely, making it the best possible solution.

A porous pipe irrigation system is ideal. Delivers a smooth, precise amount of vital irrigation water for raised bed areas, vegetable gardens and gardens (including allotments), domes and greenhouses. It also has the benefit of being incredibly easy to install.

golf course irrigation

When it comes to golf course irrigation, it goes without saying that flood irrigation would be woefully inadequate. But also drip irrigation, designed for restricted areas.

Club greens and fairways are large turf areas, so drip irrigation is out of the question. It must be an area irrigation.

The precise and individual nature of golf courses means a unique set of course-by-course layouts. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about 9 or 18 holes.

The land area affected is significant and will likely include hillsides. Then of course there are the different elements of this terrain and the use that is bestowed on it: fairways, greens and tees.

Probably each element has its own characteristics and watering needs. To be successful. A suitable irrigation system must ensure ample watering and for this it requires:

  • ongoing maintenance
  • Land Management/Green Warden.

The actual design of the sprinkler irrigation system requires and takes into account:

  • Your own unique watering needs
  • Careful placement of the emitters (using the valve on the main rotors)
  • shut-off or shut-off valves
  • water source
  • Main/Bypass Pipes
  • Placement of point elevations (where terrain varies)
  • pipe sizing
  • Arrangement of the flow zone
  • Troubleshooting layouts

Even here in England, where it always seems to be raining more than expected, it is impossible to predict in the long term when it will rain and how heavy the downpour will be. We just can't let Mother Nature do the work.

software customization

Only timely watering can prevent the grass from withering and losing its strength. But the key here is control. This is why it is so important to properly design your irrigation system, placing sprinklers in the ideal locations and most importantly, having the right software with an easy-to-use interface to manage irrigation down to the last drop.

Ultimately, the irrigation system you install is just as important to golf course maintenance as the lawn mowers you use to cut the fairways, greens and tees.




Flood and Furrow Irrigation | World Agriculture (agrotechnomarket.com)

What is surface irrigation? How It Works, Types: Civil Engineering (civiltoday.com)

6 Types of Irrigation Systems Used in Farming Around the World (farmpractices.com)




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