Irrigation techniques to mitigate drought
2019 has seen an increase in drought conditions across Europe with increasing challenges in managing irrigation resources. Drip irrigation allows us to optimise the use of water and thus reduce the impact on our water and energy resources. In the article below we find out how.
The impact of climate changes on our crops
Climate changes together with a lack of adequate infrastructure are increasingly affecting the availability of water on our territories and it is leading to more widespread droughts, especially in the summer period.
In Europe according to the 2019 JRC European Drought Observatory (Edo) report, several regions, from the northeast to the west, have been experiencing drought conditions, in particular Lithuania, central Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, central France and central Spain.
In Spain, the hydrological year 2018-2019 is the 4th driest one of the 21st century, with artificial reservoirs at the minimum. The first to suffer from the drought is agriculture. In 2017, 70% of the harvest was lost due to the lack of rain, and the measures taken to save water are still not particularly appreciated by the population.
Climate projections using specific models show that in the future, an increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation can be expected in these areas.
Extended periods of time when there is few or no rain and the soil dries up together with rivers, aquifers and lakes create water shortages; the drought phenomenon damages the soil so much that it cracks. Prolonged water shortages and a subsequent drying out of the soil are mainly due to a lack of rainfall but also to an incorrect use of the water sources available or in our possession.
A lack of water resources upstream also inevitably leads to cuts in irrigation needs and on a reduction in the water available for crops. How can you optimise the use of water on your crops?
Drip irrigation, an irrigation technique to mitigate droughts
To overcome droughts and other water availability issues, a wide range of technologies have been designed for different crop needs and territories, with various irrigation systems including drip irrigation, one of the most widely used by farmers.
The localised irrigation system is the most efficient compared to other irrigation methods as it allows a considerable saving of water and labour when irrigating. The water is delivered precisely and close to the roots of the plants.
The advantages can be delineated as follows:
– Ease of installation: no digging or other work is required for the installation which would involve additional labour and costs;
– Water efficiency: use of a limited amount of water spread efficiently over the whole crop;
– Maximum yield of crops: localised distribution allows us to get the most out of our plants;
– Economy: by using the available water efficiently and minimizing manual work, operational costs are significantly reduced;
– Environmental sustainability: the reduction in the consumption of materials, together with the possibility of recycling them after use, is an environmentally sustainable choice.
Water and drip irrigation, optimisation of all crops?
Growth processes may differ from plant to plant, from soil to soil, and various types of irrigation systems can be chosen; among all drip irrigation gives us a wide versatility and above all allows us to optimise the use of the water resources at our disposal.
Depending on the soil and on the layout of our plants (find out which DRIPTAPE your crop needs), we can choose a different pitch and therefore a different flow rate of the hose. Many crops such as tomatoes, maize and even rice are converting 100% to drip irrigation, which is the most balanced technique for managing the variables in the field, as well as satisfying nutrition (fertigation) and the various needs of the crop.
Our crops, and the agri-food market, are the driving force behind the Italian economy – it is no coincidence that they represent the primary sector – and for this reason they deserve the use of the best tools to increase productivity and reduce waste, especially in critical conditions such as drought, which can weaken the system and create inequalities.
In conclusion, in the event of water shortages and climatic changes that have a negative impact on our crops, a drip irrigation system can reduce water requirements by around 70%, thus reducing waste and avoiding stagnation and various dispersions, while also increasing the production result of the crop, thus avoiding critical conditions.
The Valducci range offers specific products for drip irrigation