What Is an Irrigation System?

by Aloysius Aucoin

An irrigation system is a way to artificially bring water to a piece of land that doesn’t usually have a steady or good source of water. Often it is used to help the growing of agricultural crops.

An irrigation system is a way to artificially bring water to a piece of land that doesn’t usually have a steady or good source of water. Often it is used to help the growing of agricultural crops, keeping up different landscapes, and helping vegetation grow in ground that has been disturbed and is in a dry area that does not have a good amount of rainfall. An irrigation system can also help crops in other ways than just watering them. It can help protect the plants against frost, help prevent soil consolidation, and help suppress weed growth in grain fields. An irrigation system can also be used to suppress dust in an area, help with the disposal of sewage, and for mining.

There has been evidence of using an irrigation system by the Ancient Egyptians and the Ancient Nubians. Of course, these apparatuses were much more primitive than the ones we have now. But they were still effective. For instance, the Ancient Egyptians practiced a type of water inundation. They used the flooding of the Nile River to bring a lot of water and fertile soil to the lands around the Nile. They held the water in dykes until the fertile sediment had settled to the ground. Then they allowed the water to go back to the watercourse. This fertile sediment would then help their crops grow. One pharaoh, Amenemhet III, in about 1800 BCE even used a natural lake, the Faiyum Oasis, to store surplus water to use during the dry seasons. This lake was usually much bigger after the flooding of the Nile, and was a good place to then take that water from.

The Ancient Nubians created a different form of water distribution by using a device that was similar to a waterwheel. They called it a sakia. Like the Ancient Egyptians, their system depended on the flood waters that would race down the Nile River. They would also use their technique with other rivers in what is not the Sudan. And in sub-Saharan Africa these different techniques were also based on flooding during the wet season and water harvesting around the Niger River.

There is evidence that terrace irrigation in pre-Columbian America, early Syria India, and China existed in those countries. In the Andes Mountains in Peru, there have been remains found of three different canals that have been radiocarbon dated and found to have existed from the fourth millennium BCE, the third millennium BCE, and the ninth century CE. In the New World, these are some of the oldest evidence of the use of these kinds of techniques. There were even possible traces of a fifth millennium BCE canal found underneath the fourth millennium canal.

Now, in modern civilization, we are able to use much more sophisticated techniquesHealth Fitness Articles, because of the invention and use of diesel and electric motors. This makes it much easier and opens up more and more areas of land to use these techniques for all of their various reasons.

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