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Types of Irrigation and Drainage

Minnesota has been experiencing drought this summer. Proper hydration is essential to keep your landscape alive. Just a few days with dry weather can damage a landscape. An irrigation system that is properly installed will protect your investment in landscapes. Learn about the different types of irrigation and drainage systems. Below are some common irrigation systems:

Subirrigation- irrigation and drainage

Sub-irrigation is used to water plants from below and allow them to absorb it through the growing medium. A shaft extending from the side of the container adds water to the bottom of the pot, and the soil in between is porous and has a low water table. The amount of water that plants take up depends on many factors, including the size and drainage holes of the irrigation heads and the pot’s height, porosity, and length of contact with water.

The use of subirrigation can be carried out on a large scale. Concrete or plastic lining is used to line large sections of the floor, which are contoured to channel water into a central drain. Concrete can also be used to incorporate water supply and drainage pipes. Low walls can also be used to create functional circuits within this system. The process is similar to that of flooded tables. Here’s some background information to help you understand how it works.

Surface irrigation

Agricultural irrigation refers to the application of water to crops. There are two types: infiltration and evaporation. Infiltration takes place when water reaches the soil at a rate sufficient to support the growth of the crop. Evaporation occurs when water collects on the soil surface. Inflow occurs when water runs off. The flow from infiltration to the evaporation is separated by a “depletion” and a ‘wetting phase.

Surface irrigation and drainage involves water being fed into small channels or strips on the ground. The water is then distributed throughout the field. During watering, these are highly variable and indefinable. The proper design of a surface irrigation system requires careful consideration of the soil type, slope, levelness, and stream size. This involves the construction of water ditches and reservoirs and leveling fields.

French drains

A French drain is a pipe running beneath your property. It can be as deep as eight inches or as deep as two feet, depending on its depth. The right siting of the drain will depend on the slope of your property and the soil you have on it. Your drain will function properly with the right pipe design, adapters, and pipe style. When sitting on a French drain, the right solution depends on the type of soil and the surrounding environment.

A professional drainage system can help eliminate standing water from your property. This system will direct groundwater and surface water away from your foundation and safe areas. Standing water can be a nuisance, but it can also attract pests and other insects. A professionally installed drainage system can prevent these problems and save you a lot of money in the long run. A French drain may be an option if your home is on a hill.

Subsurface drainage

Subsurface drainage’s primary purpose is to drain noncapillary water from the soil profile’s topmost layers. This will maintain aerated root zones, improve ag productivity, and improve trafficability. Subsurface drains can be located at varying depths and can be spaced widely depending on the terrain and the crops to be grown. Subsurface drain spacing and depth can also vary depending on soil texture and the water table depth.

Different soil types affect the spacing between subsurface drainage. For example, thick clay soils should be spaced at least 10 m apart. 


The efficiency of irrigation and drainage depends on the salinity level of the soil. After two years of installation, farmers began blocking drainage channels. Controlled drainage reduces salinity levels in the root zone and affects critical crop stages in both seasons. Farmers use canal irrigation during the third season because it is inaccessible during the fourth season. This irrigation method is not always effective. It is important to plan irrigation well in advance to avoid crop damage.

Natural subsurface drainage is the difference between the amount of outgoing groundwater and incoming groundwater. The results were derived using varying G values, and annual G values were set at 0.075 to 0.125m. Table 23 shows the final Dw/Gd values after installing a drainage system.

Environmental concerns

Water use for irrigation or drainage can affect the quality of river water, especially if it is diverted. This pollution can eventually reach the sea, impacting the health of downstream populations, and disrupting the ecological balance. Many downstream users don’t have the legal water rights, leading to a chain reaction that could lead to disaster. In addition, irrigation and drainage projects can disrupt the land and water resources of nomadic tribes and pastoralists.

Water-borne diseases are a concern when crops are grown using irrigation and drainage. Irrigation and drainage are directly linked to malaria, bilharzia, and schistosomiasis. Reusing wastewater can also pose a problem as it can spread disease to nearby communities and agricultural workers. Lastly, unchecked vegetation growth on canals can result in the growth of many types of pathogens.

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