The efficient use of irrigation water

Whether we have the soil of our garden flooded with water or the soil forms a crust on its surface and is cracked, in any case, we are doing wrong. Either by excess or by default, in both cases we are not doing things efficiently. In this article today we are going to tell you some concepts related to the efficiency of irrigation in our orchard or garden.



To know the characteristics of an irrigation there are some guidelines or concepts that you will surely know, and that will provide us with data to know how the water is reaching the plants. These terms are very simple and are the flow rate,  the  uniformity and the  characteristics of the soil. These concepts are very simple to know and the rest of the variables are born from them. For example, the flow rate is closely linked to the irrigation pressure and the losses that occur in the installation, either by the parts that make up the set of pipes, or by their length. Although this part does not really interest us if there is enough flow in the most unfavorable part of our line. Irrigation uniformity is very important, as it fully determines irrigation. It is possible that, given our irrigation system (drip, sprinkler, blanket, with rubber, etc.) a lot of water reaches a plant and another that is next to it does not receive anything at all. In that case we would be talking about a very low irrigation uniformity and, in short, problems. As you can see, we have not mentioned exudative irrigation , since in this case it would achieve a very high irrigation uniformity.


Exuding irrigation pipe

Regarding the last point, the characteristics of the soil, although it is not part of the irrigation itself, does have a decisive influence on it. When we talk about the characteristics of the soil we are mentioning some variables such as the type of soil (sandy, clayey, silty), drainage (excessive, limited). As for the latter, I don’t know if you remember that article where we mentioned the solution to poorly drained soils.



It seems logical to think that a newly planted almond tree will not have the same water needs as that same tree after 5 years, right? So why in many cases are irrigation characteristics not modified? At the beginning, in the case of drip irrigation, there are usually several drippers per tree whose number and flow do not change until the end of the crop’s useful life. However, the ideal (but more laborious) is to regulate the irrigation flow and adapt it to the growth of the tree or plant.


We have already taught you several articles where we talked about the properties of the soil, such as improving drainage, knowing the type of soil we have, correcting it in case it has abnormal pH, etc. All this information is vital to be able to regulate irrigation. I give you an example. If you have a land with poor drainage, it is better to irrigate with a low flow for longer than with a higher flow and less time, since the chances of water accumulating on the surface, evaporating or flowing through the slope on the surface. In short, wasted water.

Source: Junta de Andalucía

3.- Know the irrigation needs of crops

A few days ago we made an article where we taught you to calculate the water needs of a crop through its evapotranspiration . Well, rather than teaching you, what we did was show you a tool from the Ministry of Agriculture where the values ​​automatically appeared. You can use this technique, search in bibliographies (in some of our articles on crops, the real irrigation needs are specified), or use calculations like the ones we did to know the  irrigation needs of crops such as peppers, zucchini, aubergine or zucchini . 

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