Potential of low-cost subsurface irrigation system in boosting food production in high water scarcity regions
Keywords:subsurface Irrigation, Pitcher, Pipe, water use efficiency, dry lands
AbstractImprovement of agricultural practices under limited water availability is a key solution for arid and semi-arid areas food shortage problems. Pressurized irrigation technologies have made great improvement in the field water use efficiencies; however, the construction cost of these systems was usually beyond the dryland small-farmer means. Low cost porous material was used for maize water supply under typical dry environment. Field experiments were conducted to evaluate the influence of subsurface irrigation systems made of locally produced clay pots and clay pipes on growth, yield and water use efficiency of maize (Zea mays L.) in the dryland of Sudan. Clay pots release point source water to the surrounding soil as emitters whereas clay pipes are envisaged as subsurface buried porous tubing. The maize yield obtained from plots having subsurface clay pipes irrigation system was significantly higher (30%) than the maize grown under surface irrigation system. The experiments proved that the clay pipe and pitcher irrigation method is a water saving technology, which optimizes yields per unit of water used when compared to surface irrigation method. Also the clay pipes and pitcher are conservation irrigation systems, which save about 96.58 and 95.46% of water used for irrigation respectively when compared to the surface irrigation system.
I-Land and Water Engineering