Agricultural irrigation accounts for a great deal of the water used in the world today, with some areas of the United States using up to 90 percent of available water for farm irrigation systems. As water resources become less dependable or available in many areas, the prevention of water loss is an important topic the agricultural community must consider. To reduce water waste, farm irrigation system services are looking at a variety of ways to improve methods and types of irrigation systems to make it more efficient.
Water Loss During Crop Irrigation
Many farm irrigation systems result in extensive water loss, with crops not getting the amount of water needed to grow. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as: leakage and ground absorption in irrigation channels; water running downhill or pooling in fields that are not level; failing to uniformly irrigate; failure to monitor water storage and transport systems for leaks; and excess water seeping into the soil further than plant roots and eventually passing into groundwater reservoirs.
In each of these circumstances, water has not benefited crops and has instead been wasted. This often happens because it is difficult to tell exactly how much water is actually required to satisfy irrigation needs, without watering too little or too much.
Improving Water Loss Prevention Technology
To reduce water loss during storage and transport as well as in the fields, farm irrigation system services are looking at new technology that is becoming available in agricultural irrigation:
- Laser-Guided Land Leveling - While this method is not new, it is one that farm owners can use to reduce water consumption and waste, conserve water resources, and ensure water gets where needed. Removing hills and valleys allows sprinkler irrigation systems to work efficiently and avoid water pooling or run-off into fields. Flat fields allow for efficient irrigation as well as proper estimation of the amount of water required to uniformly reach roots without any wastage.
- Remote Sensing - Staying apprised of water sources and their contents is important to make necessary water allocation decisions. It is also essential to monitor water storage levels to detect leaks and other losses. Reservoirs and canals are controlled in the same way, with remote sensing systems to monitor water levels and control water outlets, and where water is diverted. This technology is becoming more affordable for farming operations.
- Satellite Imagery - There are available farm irrigation data services that use satellite imagery of irrigated fields to help determine moisture levels better than many other methods. Farmers can monitor how much water is being used to determine proper moisture levels and thus make wiser irrigation decisions. With a clearer view of which fields need more or less water, farming operations using these systems have less water consumption and crop failure. There are programs available in the U.S. where farmland anywhere in the world can be viewed through special satellite imagery.
- Drone Imagery - The most recent innovation to monitor moisture via satellite imagery has been with the use of drones. It could make this sort of monitoring more affordable and convenient for all who use farm irrigation systems. By using scientific imagery shot from drones, agricultural operations will have the same ability to determine how their water is being used and how to better use it to avoid waste.
There is no denying the fact that water conservation is an important topic, one that all farm irrigation system services must consider in the development of viable methods that will prevent water loss through irrigation systems. Efficient water management grows in importance every day. With newer technology on the horizon that will be more available to farms everywhere, the hope is that the use of farm irrigation systems can be improved to provide the efficient irrigation systems that help save our precious water resources!