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Irrigation


Table 4.2: Irrigation methods
Irrigation Method Advantages Disadvantages
Surge Simple, low setup costs, low energy Tendency to over-irrigate, non-uniform distribution
Sprinkle Easier to control High initial costs
Drip High water efficiency, high frequency, precise High initial costs, requires expert management, prone to clogging


The main problem with irrigation is its low efficiency. Table 4.2 summarizes the characteristics of the irrigation methods described in this section; generally, higher efficiency methods cost more and require more expertise. Experiments in the Texas High Plains aquifer region have shown that a move to low pressure sprinklers, low-energy precision application sprinklers, and drip irrigation systems can help farmers raise efficiencies from 60% (the average efficiency for furrow irrigation systems) to 90 or 95%. Farmers in the studies also saw crop yields increase 10-15%. These benefits resulted from reduced evaporation, runoff, and seepage (Postel, 1999, 187).



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Andy Wingo 2001-12-10