Characteristics of the Four Types of Irrigation Systems

Irrigation systems are fundamental mechanisms to optimize water in agricultural processes and make production more efficient. They're suitable for all types of soil, crops, and budgets.
Characteristics of the Four Types of Irrigation Systems

Last update: 16 September, 2021

Irrigation systems are mechanisms used in agricultural activities to water crops. This technique allows the soil to remain in favorable conditions and prevents wasting water. Find out the four types of irrigation in this article!

These watering systems increase productivity because they moisten the crops at the right times and distribute the water evenly. However, it’s essential to analyze the needs of the plants, the type of soil, and the budget allocated for the infrastructure to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of irrigation

The agricultural sector has developed many innovative systems. Below is a description of the types of irrigation you can install.

1. Drip irrigation system

This irrigation system is a set of pipes installed along the entire length of the land with drippers in front of each plant. This way the water comes out a drop at a time and directly irrigates the roots of the plants.

This system is one of the most water-efficient since it doesn’t moisten all the soil, only specific areas. In addition, it’s automatic so you can focus on other tasks in the meantime.

Another advantage of this type of irrigation is it prevents excess water from accumulating and causing unwanted puddles and evaporation. Likewise, it deters weeds and the drying out of arid soils by providing balanced water levels.

There’s a disadvantage, however. Residues can accumulate in the drip nozzles over time and block the passage of water. This is why you must properly maintain it.

A large greenhouse.
Some extensive crops of certain plants use drip irrigation to save water.

2. Sprinkler irrigation system

This system consists of several sprinklers placed at strategic points and the water reaches the entire crop in the form of rain. Furthermore, this tool has the option of moving in various directions or remaining static. This is to localize irrigation.

Sprinkler irrigation has the advantage of equally spraying every plant. In addition, you can control the water pressure according to the distance you need to cover and the needs of your crops.

Another great feature of sprinkler irrigation is it’s suitable for installation in all types of soils. However, it’s essential to study the quantity and locations of the sprinklers in detail. Mainly to ensure that enough water is reaching every area.

The disadvantage of this system is it requires exhaustive care of the water levels under management. Excessive watering can damage the roots of the plants.

3. Gravity irrigation system

In this type of irrigation, the crops are in rows and there’s a channel in between each one. Thus, the water goes into the ground and slides down this path, and then seeps into the roots of the plants.

The main advantage of gravity irrigation is it doesn’t require the installation of expensive infrastructure. Therefore, people often use it when they need an accessible easy to maintain mechanism. In addition, rainwater can be directly poured into canals and be reused for irrigation. Before starting to use a specific irrigation system, it is essential to

The big disadvantage is it uses more water than other systems as it lacks mechanical automation. Also, flooding is more possible if the terrain is imperfect and doesn’t have adequate drainage. In addition, the absence of technology also requires more intervention from the gardener and they have to work longer hours.

4. Exudation irrigation systems

This irrigation system consists of a porous hose installed along the entire length of the crop. It’s a way for the water to come out little by little in small quantities and penetrate all parts of a plant.

Furthermore, this system must be inside the soil. This is so that the contact with the roots is more direct and the plants grow better.

The great advantage of exudation irrigation is it provides water levels that don’t allow puddling. In addition, the material of the hoses are highly resistant to extreme weather conditions and their location ensures the crop always has the appropriate humidity.

The disadvantage of this type of irrigation is it’s underground and can harbor residues that clog the hoses. Because of this, it’s important to schedule proper maintenance with trained professionals.

The importance of different types of irrigation systems

Irrigation is vital for plants as water nourishes the soil where they grow. Likewise, this resource allows plants to acquire the molecules they need to carry out the photosynthesis process, feed themselves, and flower satisfactorily.

As an additional feature, irrigation is essential for plants not to wilt and maintain a nice color. Water is responsible for balancing the temperature of the environment and coping with factors such as soil acidity.

One of the various irrigation systems.
The sprinkler irrigation systems are more likely to overflood areas.

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Planning is essential when using any type of irrigation systems

You must thoroughly study the dimensions of the land and the needs of your crops before starting to use a specific irrigation system. That way you can successfully program the quantities of water required, the time of application, and the appropriate schedules.

It’s also essential to constantly check the condition of the crops to ensure that water distribution is being equitable. In the same way, rigorous observation allows you to be alert about leaks, pressure changes, and all those mechanical failures that need immediate intervention.

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