Irrigation has been the backbone of agriculture for more than 5,000 years. Our ability to irrigate crops when flood waters or rains are sparse or insufficient has kept our economies alive and thriving since the dawn of civilization. Today is no different. Whether you operate a small homestead or a large farm, irrigation methods play a crucial part in the success of your agricultural endeavors and the communities they support. Irrigation canals are one way to do this.
An Introduction to Irrigation Methods
Irrigation is the ability to apply specific amounts of water at specific intervals. This allows you to control and ration the water your plants receive for optimum growth no matter the precipitation levels outdoors. Irrigation can protect plants from frost, suppress weed growth, and protect against soil consolidation. It can also suppress heavy dust, cool livestock, and dispose of wastes.
There are many methods of irrigation. Surface irrigation, also known as flood irrigation, is one of the oldest watering methods. Micro-irrigation or trickle irrigation distributes water via a network of underground pipes. And sprinkler irrigation, perhaps the most commonly used method for agricultural endeavors supplies water to crops via sprinkler systems or wheel lines. But no matter which irrigation method you choose, the question remains: where are you going to get your water from?
Finding The Right Water Source
Before you can water your crops, you need to determine a water source. You may wish to use groundwater from wells or springs, surface water from rivers or lakes, or alternative water sources such as rainwater harvesting, desalination plants, or treated wastewater. Check streamflow data to determine average flows as well as silt, salt, and sediment content. If there is too much silt, water may need to be deposited into a reservoir first. If there is too much salt, the water may be damaging to your crops.
There are other considerations as well, of course. Especially now that water has become more scarce as a resource. Obtaining water rights can be a difficult affair rife with customs, laws, and ownership rules that must be mitigated. However, once you’ve determined the best water source, you’ll need to determine how to transport that water source to your property. Usually, that means you’ll need irrigation canals.
Signs You May Need Irrigation Canals
Though some properties may have water sources on their property—access to water is one reason many commercial agricultural centers have chosen their locations—others may need to build irrigation canals to transport water its source to their property. This is done using irrigation canals. Built using flexible geomembrane material so as to avoid seepage and erosion, irrigation canals use gravity flow or pumping to divert water from the source to its destination. Here are a few reasons you may need to build irrigation canals for your agricultural needs.
If You Are Using Surface Water
No matter if you have chosen to use water from rivers, streams, lakes, or reservoirs, irrigation canals may be the best (and only) method available for transporting water to your farm.
If Your Water Supply Is Dwindling
If you were using surface waters only to find them drying up in recent years, you might need to consider rainwater capture methods. By installing a 40-acre irrigation reservoir, one farm in the Western United States is now able to capture rainfall during the wet season for use during the dry season.
If You Live In Dry or Drought-Prone Areas
In the United States, grains require an average of 12-30 inches of rainfall annually. Forage requires an average of 24-60 inches of rainfall annually. If you live in a climate that does not receive this kind of rainfall or is prone to drought, you may need irrigation canals to transport additional water to your property.
If You Have A High Water Table
In areas with high water tables, irrigation canals can be used to decrease or increase the water level as needed. This keeps the soil moistened below the root zone.
BTL Liners provides quality geomembrane liners for irrigation canals. We have helped clients install irrigation canals and irrigation reservoirs in record time. We even helped one client line a 1,600,000 square feet irrigation reservoir in just four days. Contact us for more information regarding your unique project. We’d love to help you install and line your irrigation canals.