Irrigation is the method in which a controlled amount of water is supplied to plants at regular intervals for agriculture. The various types of irrigation come with their own advantages and disadvantages. In simple words, it is when people supply water to plants to help them grow when there is not enough rain. Irrigation water can be pumped from rivers, lakes and wells or allowed to flow to the fields by the force of gravity along pipes or open canals.

Types of Irrigation

1- Drip irrigation

Of the many types of irrigation systems that currently exist, drip irrigation systems are arguably the most popular, for several reasons. Drip irrigation, in a nutshell, is the process of lacing your garden area with irrigation lines that feed into the root systems of your plants, “dripping” water into them gradually. This is a most efficient system because it allows you to directly hydrate your plants without having to water the surface.


Because drip systems feed directly into the roots, they are much more efficient in their net water usage. With surface watering systems, you have to use much more water, because a lot of the water you use doesn’t even make it to the soil. This is useful for hydrating the exterior of your plants, but ultimately the roots have the most dire need for hydration. In order to penetrate the soil and seep into the roots, you’ll have to use much more water than you would with a drip irrigation system.

The Advantages of Drip Irrigation

Reduces Weed Growth: One very notable advantage with drip irrigation is that it’s specifically laced through the plants that you want to water, and due to the nature of the system, it’s hard for that water to stray very far. This means that rogue weeds in your soil won’t benefit from this watering system, ultimately reducing the overall number.

Efficient Water Usage: In terms of efficiently using water, there’s not even a contest here. Drip irrigation is by far the best use of water. Not only does it use much less, the water that it does use is less prone to evaporation.

Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation

Requires Precise Installation: Drip irrigation is remarkably effective at what it does, but only when installed with expert precision. Unfortunately, an improperly installed drip system can easily create drought conditions, prompting your plants to grow shallow instead of deep. This is obviously the opposite of the intended effect, so it’s good to make sure you have professional help when you’re setting up your drip irrigation system.

Requires Maintenance: The other drawback behind drip irrigation systems is that it requires more maintenance than other sprinkler systems. Drip irrigation equipment is vulnerable to several problems, such as debris, mineral buildup, and physical trauma from external forces such as lawnmowers. That’s why we offer an extensive variety of drip irrigation components; you’ll never want to find yourself with a broken system.

2- Sprinkler irrigation

Sprinkler irrigation is more or less the opposite of drip irrigation. Instead of supplying water directly to the roots, the water is supplied overhead, usually in the form of downpour provided by sprinklers. While there are an incredible variety of different sprinkler types.

Advantages of Sprinkler Irrigation

Can Cover Large Areas: Sprinklers are probably the most cost-effective way to cover large swaths of land, making them a great choice for farmers who have acres upon acres of plants to water.

Can Be Used Anywhere: Sprinkler irrigation is the most versatile form of irrigation. Drip irrigation is difficult to maintain over large open spaces, while surface irrigation relies on the slope of the land and gravity to do its work. Sprinklers, on the other hand, can be used just about anywhere.

Disadvantages of Sprinkler Irrigation

Expensive Upfront Cost: Sprinkler irrigation systems are the most expensive when it comes to initial installation. While the general cost gets dramatically lower once they’re running, expect to pay a hefty price to set up your system in full.

Susceptible to Wind: The biggest drawback for sprinklers is that the wind can scatter their spray all about, providing for inconsistent watering. While this is a minor annoyance every once in a while, it can be a serious problem for anyone who lives in an excessively windy area.

3- Surface irrigation

If drip irrigation waters the roots of your plants, and sprinkler irrigation waters from above, then surface irrigation is somewhere in between. While there are various different forms of surface irrigation, it suffices to say that they take advantage of gravity and the shape of the land to “flood” the soil. Imagine a very gradual slope — if you pour water on it, it will trickle down, even if the slope is negligible. This is the concept behind surface irrigation — gently pouring water onto the ground, and allowing it to naturally distribute itself across your soil.

Advantages of Surface Irrigation

Easiest and Cheapest: Surface irrigation is the most ancient irrigation technique and doesn’t require sophisticated technology to work. While modern hands have greatly improved the process, providing for advanced technology that refines surface irrigation to a tee, the bottom line is that you have a lot of variety, and if you want something that’s cheap and easy, you have that option.

Best Utilization of Rain Water: With surface irrigation systems, you’ve generally made changes to your land to provide for it. It really just comes down to shaping your property in a way to where natural water flow reliably irrigates your plants. For that reason, surface irrigation plots are very effective at utilizing rainwater; the land has already been optimized for water flow.

Disadvantages of Surface Irrigation

Dependent on Your Terrain: For surface irrigation to work, you have to make your terrain accommodate for it, whether it’s by creating furrows to channel the water through, or depending on a slight natural slope to let gravity do its work. Unexpected changes or disturbances in your land could disrupt the effectiveness of this irrigation.

Waterlogging: One risk that surface irrigation has is channeling too much water into your crops, which can drown the roots and be counterproductive. Care has to be taken to ensure that your surface irrigation system doesn’t overwhelm your plants with water.

4- Micro-irrigation

Micro-irrigation, sometimes called localized irrigation, low volume irrigation, or trickle irrigation is a system where water is distributed under low pressure through a piped network, in a pre-determined pattern, and applied as a small discharge to each plant or adjacent to it. Traditional drip irrigation using individual emitters, subsurface drip irrigation (SDI), micro-spray or micro-sprinkler irrigation, and mini-bubbler irrigation all belong to this category of irrigation methods.

Advantages of micro-irrigation  

1-They provide a high degree of water application uniformity, often the highest of all irrigation systems in use.
2- They allow excellent control of the amountand timing of irrigation. Small, frequent irrigations (often daily with drip irrigation) can be applied to match the tree’s water needs. Runoff is minimized because of the application rates, and deep percolation losses can also be minimized if the correct amount of water is applied. The frequent
irrigation provides an excellent soil water condition for optimal tree performance.
3- They can easily irrigate irregular terrain.
4- Weed growth is minimized since only a portion of the orchard floor is wetted.

Disadvantages of micro-irrigation
1- High initial cost of the systems.

2- Excellent management is needed to maintain the system since clogging of the emitters by physical particles, organic materials, and/or chemical precipitates may occur.
3-The irrigation water must be pressurized, resulting in energy costs. The required pressures are generally less than those needed for sprinkler systems, but they are higher than those of flood irrigation systems.
4- Cover crops cannot be grown year-around due to the localized nature of the water applications.

For more information watch this video

Share this