Irrigation is essential to support agricultural crop growth. Relying on rain is not practical, especially in Kenya where rainfall can be both unreliable and insufficient.
These are 5 of the most common types of irrigation systems:
1. Drip Irrigation Systems: Commonly used in orchards, vineyards and high-value vegetable crops, drip irrigation systems consist of a network of tubes that have small holes or emitters. They can be placed above or below the soil’s surface and slowly drip water into the soil over long periods.
- Uses 30–50% less water than other systems.
- Prevents soil erosion and nutrient runoff.
- Continuous flow allows water to penetrate deep into the soil and down to the roots.
- Controls fungal growth.
- Easy to modify.
2. Sprinkler Irrigation: In sprinkler irrigation systems, water flows through a series of pipes and is delivered in a fine spray to specific areas. Micro sprinklers are particularly effective for tree crops. They also use less water and are cheaper to run.
- Affordable and easy to set up.
- Allows even distribution of water.
- Easy to covers large areas.
- Water at your chosen time of day to minimise evaporation.
3. Centre Pivot Irrigation: A centre pivot irrigation system is self-propelled and works with the use of a central pipe with outlets rotating around a central pivot point. It works like the sprinkler irrigation system, but it is much bigger and is supported by steel or aluminium towers.
- Water is distributed evenly.
- Covers large areas in a short period of time.
- Prevents water runoff.
- Operates at a lower pressure saving energy.
4. Furrow Irrigation Systems: Furrow irrigation is a form of surface irrigation where small parallel channels are created and filled with water. Crops are grown on the ridges between the channels.