A Brief History of Drip Irrigation


TO A LOT OF PEOPLE drip irrigation can be confusing or even a little intimidating. Since the beginning DripWorks has always worked to educate our customers of the importance drip irrigation and its use. The following information is a brief history of irrigation and how it’s evolved.


Ancient Drip Irrigation

The origins of irrigation can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who in the 6th millennium BCE developed the technique known as “flood irrigation” by creating a egyptiannetwork of canals to channel water from the Nile to their gardens. There is also evidence of irrigation systems arising in China during the same period and subsequently in the Andes of Peru during the 4th Millennium BCE and parts of ancient India in the 3rd millennium BCE.

Reference to the use of buried porous clay pots that wept water into the surrounding soil goes back thousands of years in Egypt and China, and is considered the first form of drip or trickle irrigation (aka micro-irrigation).


Modern Drip Irrigation

Earthenware Pottery is the art of handicrafts inThailand.

Earthenware Pottery is the art of handicrafts in Thailand.

The roots of modern day drip irrigation (pardon the pun) can be traced to the 1860, when systems of clap pipes were developed in Germany for combination drainage/irrigation systems, and were used soon after in Afghanistan in 1866. In the 1920’s this idea was expanded upon (again in Germany) utilizing a system of perforated clay pipes. The use of plastics after WWII led to the invention of plastic pipes with long flow paths by Austrian Hannis Thill and a decade later to the development of the first plastic emitter by Simcha Blass of Israel.

Though many point to one person or another as the “Father of Drip Irrigation”, it is clear that the road to present day drip irrigation method was built by more than one individual. As Dr. Daniel Hillel, recipient of the 2012 World Food Prize for his role in conceiving and implementing improved methods of food production with “micro-irrigation”, said: “No one person invented drip irrigation.”


Present Day Drip Irrigation

Today there is a huge variety of drip irrigation methods from which to choose: individual emitters and drippers, misters, micro-sprayers, mini-sprinklers, emitter tubing, filterand drip tape. In addition, there is an entire realm of filters, pressure regulators, water timers, fertilizer injectors, tools, and accessories available to help install and maintain a drip irrigation system.

With drought in many parts of the country being a serious issue, drip irrigation has become even more relevant. If you’re looking for a way to take action and reduce your water consumption, there is no quicker way to see results than installing a drip irrigation system.

Since the time of the Egyptians, irrigation has been used to water crops that feed us all. As drip irrigation has evolved, it has become the most popular and efficient way to save water, time, and money.


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