More Crop Per Drop

June 28, 2013

Drip hoses in citrus plantation (2)

Photographer: Menashe Davidson
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson

Seventy percent of the world's freshwater is used for irrigation. Rain-fed and irrigated agriculture play a key role in ensuring food security for everyone. Clearly, it's an enormous challenge to provide enough water for global food production, especially in those regions and countries where water is already scarce.

With drip irrigation methodologies, water isn't wasted through wetting unnecessary land, evaporation, wind overspray, or surface run-off. Plus, water is applied directly to the plant's root zone, thus optimizing water usage while enhancing plant productivity and avoiding plant drought stresses. The first innovative drip irrigation was introduced in Israel in 1965. As shown above, a young citrus plantation in Tira, Israel is being irrigated by recycled water. Emmiter in work (3)There's just one plastic hose (0.8 in or 20 mm diameter) per row of trees. Since the application of the water requires low water pressure (less energy), the pipe walls can be made thinner (cheaper), and since the total output of water per land unit is small, the main pipes supplying the water can be of a smaller diameter -- again, less costly. Thus, in arid and semi-arid areas, drip irrigation is an affordable innovation that boosts agricultural development and meets the increasing demand on already scarce water resources -- farmers can now grow more for less since there's more crop per drop. Photo taken on May 12, 2013.

Photo details: Top - Camera Model: NIKON D80; Focal Length: 35.0mm (35mm equivalent: 52mm); Aperture: f/16.0; Exposure Time: 0.0063 s (1/160); ISO equiv: 200. Inset - Same except: Focal Length: 105.0mm (35mm equivalent: 157mm); Aperture: f/10.0; Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500); ISO equiv: 1000.