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Irrigation System

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A Study Comparing the Impacts of Surface Irrigation and Localized Irrigation (Drip Irrigation)

Here in the Philippines basing on the studies conducted by adb.org, agriculture has been considered as the primary sector of the economy. It has contributed 19.1 % of the Gross Domestic Product and has provided employment for about 36.7% of the labor force. It is also a factor that primarily affects the economic well-being of the country like in determining the employment rate, total food supply available, economic activity, and the exporting activities. Indeed agriculture takes a major part in the growth of the Philippines, the very reason why the government allots so many budgets when it comes to resolving agricultural matters like for example in putting up irrigation systems or schemes. In general, the government sets aside annual funds for the rehabilitation and improvement of the irrigation for almost 3 percent or 27, 000 hectares. Irrigation development is highest in Luzon containing approximately 51.1 percent of the total irrigated land followed by Mindanao with 38.7 percent and Visayas with 10.2 percent. Development of irrigation systems is very important because through these developments the country could minimize the risk of crop failure by stabilizing the level of water supply and maximize the crop productivity. There are various elements considered in constructing an irrigation system like size of project, budget, type of landscape, availability and source of water, needed flow rate and pressure, sprinkler selection and layout, lateral layout, and controller selection Irrigation is an artificial application of water to the soil. Sources of irrigation water can be groundwater extracted from springs or by using wells, surface water withdrawn from rivers, lakes or reservoirs or non-conventional sources Irrigation systems are designed to maximize the benefits derived from these watersheds. Irrigation systems are also used for dust suppression, disposal of sewage, and in mining. There are various irrigation systems namely drip, surface, sprinklers, localized, solar-powered, pump, center pivot, etc. In this study, the researchers would only be focusing on the two most commonly used mode of irrigation system used in Negros Occidental: drip and surface. Drip irrigation system, also known as micro-irrigation is simply a system that brings and distributes water through the use of flexible pipes by slowly discharging it through drippers near the plants (Dr. Ella, 2009). It is also considered as another option in watering high-vale crops. This kind of irrigation system is very useful to those areas where there is very limited supply of water particularly here in Negros Occidental that is currently experiencing the El Niño phenomenon. Basing on the study conducted by Dr. Victor Ella of the Institute of Agricultural Engineering at UP Los Baños, drip irrigation is very suitable to a wide variety of crops, soil, topography and climate that can provide remarkable results: higher crop yield, and relatively large production size. In one of their experiments, drip irrigated field could produce 4.5 kg/ sqm of cabbage whereas compared to without the system only produced 2.4 kg / sqm. These observations were seconded by a two year study conducted by Stanford University in 2007. The results of the study were very remarkable. From the average of 1.9 metric tons of produce per month it has increased to about eighteen percent (18 %) from the original quantity. Surface irrigation on the other hand is considered as the Philippine’s most common irrigation system. Surface Irrigation is a water system wherein water moves over and across the land by simple gravity flow in order to wet it and to infiltrate into the soil.This water system often seen in terraced rice fields, where the method is used to flood or control the level of water in each distinct field. In some cases, the water is pumped, or lifted by human or animal power to the level of the land.

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