What is an irrigation system? (with photos)

Irrigation systems are commonly used in commercial landscaping.

An irrigation system is a method of delivering water to an area where it is needed but is not normally present in the required amounts. It is generally used for agriculture and landscaping purposes. Irrigation effectiveness is determined by a number of different factors, including the type of distribution system and the conditions at the time of its use.

PVC pipes are often used in irrigation systems.

The key to an effective irrigation system is getting as much water into the plants or soil as possible. While it might seem like an easy thing to do, it’s not. In fact, water loss from these systems can be as high as 50% in some cases. The reason for this is simple: evaporation.

When water is sprayed over a great distance, it starts to separate from a steady stream and eventually becomes tiny droplets or even a mist. On hot, sunny days, much of this water never reaches the ground. This phenomenon is easily seen, especially when the sun is low on the horizon and hits the water. Some of the water can be clearly seen rising, not falling.

Water pumps can be used to irrigate crops.

The key to an effective irrigation system is keeping water as close as possible to where it is needed. Many systems are effective at doing this and therefore have water efficiency ratings of 90% or higher. A low-energy precision application center pivot system, for example, has lines hanging from huge arms that spray water from a level just above the height of the plant. Drip irrigation takes water through pipes, usually PVC, perforated with holes. The water then drips through strategically placed holes in areas where it is needed, reducing evaporative loss.

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For anyone who needs to use a sprinkler system, there are other ways that can help improve efficiency and save water. For example, spraying during hours when the sun is low helps to dramatically increase efficiency. It also opens up the area for daytime fun and use. Making sure the system does not turn on automatically during periods of adequate rainfall can also help conserve water.

No matter which irrigation system you choose, there are always ways to cut costs and conserve resources. In some areas, especially where water is scarce, this is not just an option but a requirement by law. In the end, finding efficient ways to irrigate is not only good for the environment, but also for an individual’s financial resources.

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