Drip/trickle irrigation-experiences and possibilities

Peter Wolff


Tropfbewässerung - Erfahrungen und Möglichkeiten

During its first 25 years of existence drip/trickle irrigation has grown up, reaching a remarkable place among the more sophisticated irrigation technologies around the world. Experience has shown that drip/trickle irrigation can nowadays be used with reasonable hope of success when certain conditions prevail. The most important of these conditions are listed in this Paper.
The first 25 years of use of drip/trickle irrigation in the field have shown clearly that this is a relatively recent irrigation procedure that is still in the development stage and therefore it is not without problems. Although the differences between the individual drip/trickle irrigation procedures and the hardware used are sometimes considerable, and although the manufactures have tried, in some cases very successfully, to solve the problems, it is a fact that difficulties still continue to exist. Among the most important ones are still blockages in the drippers due to chemical, organic and mechanical deposits. The main reason for the worldwide interest in drip/trickle irrigation is the increasing scanty and growing cost of natural resources, in particular water and energy. As a general rule, the drip/trickle irrigation procedures go a long way towards, meeting the desire for a highly efficient low-energy system for the distribution of irrigation water; this is because with drip/trickle irrigation one can achieve much better distribution of the water than is normally possible with conventional irrigation methods and also, at the same time, it makes efficient use of energy.
As an alternative to drip/trickle irrigation other micro irrigation systems have been developed, the most important ones being microjet and micro- sprinkler irrigation. Both methods having some advantage over drip/trickle irrigation under special site conditions only.
At the end of the paper aspects of future developments in micro irrigation are briefly discussed, especially in respect to mobile drip/trickle irrigation systems.

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