Drip irrigation is a form of irrigation that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of many different plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. In this type of irrigtion, water can be more precisely applied to the plant roots. Modern drip irrigation began its development in Germany in 1860 by the use of clay pipes to create combination irrigation and drainage systems. Plastic emitter in drip irrigation was first developed in Israel by Simcha Blass and his son Yeshayahu. Instead of releasing water through tiny holes easily blocked by tiny particles, water was released through larger and longer passageways by using velocity to slow water inside a plastic emitter.

Soil type plays less important role in frequency of irrigation. Highly uniform distribution of water i.e., controlled by output of each nozzle usually operated at lower pressure than other types of pressurised irrigation, reducing energy costs.

Countries adopting this system of irrigation are China, India, Australia, Egypt, Israel, the United States, Philippines and many others. 

Drip irrigation market in his native India to expand by 1 million hectares (nearly 2.5 million acres) per year during the coming years and to soon become a $1 billion market in India alone. Drip- irrigated fields yielded 22 percent more rice per hectare and required only a third as much water. 

Components Of Drip Irrigation System

Pump or pressurized water source

Water filter(s) or filtration systems: sand separator,

Fertigation systems (Venturi injector) and chemigation equipment (optional) 

Backwash controller (Backflow prevention device )

Pressure Control Valve (pressure regulator )

Main line (larger diameter pipe and pipe fittings)

Hand-operated, electronic, or hydraulic control valves and safety valves Smaller diameter polytube (often referred to as “laterals”)

Poly fittings and accessories (to make connections)

Emitting devices at plants (emitter or dripper, micro spray head, inline dripper or inline driptube) 
Mode of Operation

Water is conveyed under pressure through a pipe system to the fields, where it drips slowly onto the soil through emitters or drippers, which are located close to the plants.
Advantage Of Drip Irrigation

1. Drip irrigation may help achieve water conservation by reducing evaporation and deep drainage. 

2.Drip can eliminate many diseases that are spread through irrigation water.  

3.Drip irrigation is adaptable to any farmable slope and is suitable for most soils. 

4.Drip irrigation, simple self- made systems are cheap and effective.

5.Drip irrigation requires little water compared to other irrigation methods. About 40-80 litres per day are needed per 100-200 plants.

6.The small amount of water reduces weed growth and limits the leaching of plant nutrients down in the soil.

7.Recycled non-portable water can be safely used. 

8.Soil erosion and soil salinity is lessened.

9.High water application efficiency and lower labour costs.

10. Minimised fertiliser/nutrient loss due to localised application and reduced leaching.

11. Ability to irrigate irregular shaped fields.
Disadvantages Of Drip Irrigation System 

1. The sun can affect the tubes used for drip irrigation, shortening their usable life after 2-3 years.

2. If the water is not properly filtered and the equipment not properly maintained, it can result in clogging.

How to Maintain Drip Irrigation Equipment

Most large drip irrigation systems employ some type of filter to prevent clogging of the small emitter flow path by small waterborne particles.


1. Agricultural Water, Bainbridge, David A (June 2001)

2. Management of drip/trickle or micro irrigation Goyal, Megh (2012).

3. http://www.timesofisrael.com/what-israeli-drips-did-for-the-world/

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drip_irrigation

5. http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/06/25/drip-irrigation-expanding-worldwide/

 Photo Credit:

1. israel21c.org 

2. tes.com

3. en.wikipedia.com