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Water crisis in Mendoza: force the use of drip irrigation

Luján de Cuyo will do the same in the irrigation of squares and will promote xerophilic vegetation. Drip irrigation is more efficient.

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The mayor of Luján de Cuyo, Sebastián Bragagnolo , announced that every new neighborhood established in the department , and whose land has the right to irrigation, must have a drip irrigation system.

Through a message on social networks, the community chief argued that the measure aims to “take care of water seriously”, and that this measure will guarantee “ 80% less consumption of water resources used today”.

“It is a measure that falls within the framework of the comprehensive plan 'Lujan in sustainable growth', which includes among its main axes: use of water resources, integral management of  waste , energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, urban green and public space, protected areas and sustainable activities, education and trainingoacute; n participation and communication,” he explained.

He also said that from the municipality “we will do the same in the irrigation of our squares, technifying it and prioritizing afforestation with xerophilic vegetation “.

 Drip irrigation and water efficiency 

The water resource is essential for  crop production, its availability depends on the formation of new plant biomass.  In crops such as tomato and lettuce the water contents inside the plant exceed 90%.It is clear that water is key to producing more food, but it is also clear that today it is an increasingly scarce resource .  To illustrate water consumption in agriculture, suppose the production target of a wheat of 5 ton/ha, where about 500 L of water is needed to produce 1 kg of dry matter; this results in a consumption of 2,500 m3 of water/ha to produce this yield.

Fortunately, the improvement and increase in plant production is compatible with the water economy, but more knowledge and technologies are needed to be developed to make food production more sustainable. These technologies help to increase efficiency in the use of  water  in agriculture, making plants produce more for each unit of water consumed.  The increase in the area of crops under technical irrigation is precisely one of the reasons for reducing the amount of water used by agriculture. 

 One of the most efficient systems 

Drip irrigation is one of the most efficient systems today, the water supply is constant and uniform, drop by drop, which allows to keep the water of the root zone under low voltage conditions. Water applied by droppers forms an onion moistening inside the soil, commonly referred to as a “wet bulb”.

This bulb usually reaches its maximum diameter at a depth of approximately 30 cm and its shape is strongly conditioned by the characteristics of the soil, in particular the texture.  A drip irrigation system achieves 90-95% efficiencies in the use of water and fertilizers, while with a gravity system the efficiency is of the order of 55-60%.Drip irrigation differs greatly from other irrigation systems, so it must be managed correctly to maximize its benefits and avoid problems .  Below are the main advantages of the system, as well as its disadvantages.

Source:  Diario Los Andes 

Publication Date: 05/02/2020

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