To put it simply, irrigation is a method of delivering specific amounts of water that differs from the normal present required amounts to an area where it is needed. Several different factors determine the general effectiveness of the irrigation. Some of these include the type of delivery system and the conditions surrounding its time of use.
The key to a highly effective irrigation system is to get as much water into the soil and to the plants as possible. While this may seem like a relatively easy thing to do, it can actually be quite tricky. So much so that water loss from these systems can be up to 50% in some situations. The reason for this is so simple it might surprise you: evaporation.
When water is sprayed over a considerable area, it begins to break up from the steady stream that it initially comes out as. Eventually, it becomes small droplets or even just a light mist. On hot and muggy days, a good portion of this water never actually hits the ground. This can be seen, especially when the sun is low and hits the water.
The key to a highly-effective irrigation system is to spray the water from as close the area that needs it as possible. Many irrigation systems are effective at doing this and, therefore, have water efficiency rates of 90% or more.
For those who opt to use a sprinkler system, several other ways can help improve efficiency and conserve water usage. For example, running the sprinkler during hours when the sun is down is a great way to increase the effectiveness of the sprinkler. It also opens up the area for use during the day time. Ensuring that the system does not automatically turn on during times of significant rainfall is also a key part in conserving water.
No matter what irrigation system is used, there are always ways to conserve resources and cut costs.