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Irrigation Systems: Pros and Cons

water supply services in Calgary

Whether you’re growing crops or maintaining a landscape, there are a number of irrigation solutions in Calgary and its surrounding areas that you can utilize to achieve the desired result. Each method has conditions it’s best suited for, as well as more general benefits and shortcomings. No matter which irrigation system is right for you, Alberta Water Services has got you covered. Our water supply solutions can help your Calgary area farm or lawn thrive. Here are the three basic types of irrigation our water delivery services can aid you with implementing.

1. Surface Irrigation

This simple irrigation method has been practiced for thousands of years. By bringing water to the surface of the field, the area stays hydrated. This can be accomplished by any of the following methods.

  • Flood irrigation, in which the entire field is covered with water.

  • Furrow irrigation, where water travels along narrow canals that are dug between rows of crops.

  • Basin irrigation, whereby water immerses plots of land that are encased by causeways.

  • Border irrigation, which brings water to sloped, rectangular strips of the field that are surrounded by dykes.

All of these types of surface irrigation have the same strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, investment and energy costs are low. As well, water quality and climate play a minimal role. However, this system is labour intensive and can be difficult to design. It’s also less water efficient than other methods.

2. Sprinkler Irrigation

These irrigation systems create false precipitation to hydrate the land. Varieties each have their specific pros and cons.

  • Raingun. These pistol-like devices eject water into fields. They’re solid, adaptable and labour efficient. The downside is they operate at higher pressure and therefore are less efficient, both in terms of energy and water usage. Furthermore, it can damage more delicate plants. Another drawback is that the water is not evenly distributed.

  • Sprinkler. Whether fixed or portable, these devices offer a uniform application of water that’s more energy efficient. However, they’re more costly than rainguns, and wind can distort the evenness of application.

  • Boom. These mobile devices apply water directly on targeted areas at low pressure, making them precise and energy efficient. However, they’re not well suited to uneven terrain or irregularly sized and/or shaped fields.

3. Micro-irrigation

This irrigation method allows water to be applied in small quantities at frequent intervals. However, technological gadgets are required to monitor how water is impacting the soil. This need for advanced tools, can make micro-irrigation much more costly than other methods. But, since less water is required, it can be an ideal solution in some cases. Micro-irrigation is precise, makes efficient use of water and energy, and increases both quality and quantity of crops. Expense and difficulties in maintenance are the biggest drawbacks.

We Help with Your Landscape Irrigation Needs

For water supply services in Calgary and beyond, Alberta Water Services is here to help. Contact us today for a free quote.


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