Full Project – Construction of a low cost drip irrigation system for water melon production
1.0 : PREAMBLE
Irrigation which is the artificial application of water to the soil for the purpose of crop production, is supplied to supplement the water available from rainfall and the contribution to soil moisture from groundwater.
In many areas of the world, the amount and timing of rainfall are not adequate to meet the moisture requirement of the crop and irrigation is essential to raise crop necessary to meet the need of food and fibre.
Modern concepts of irrigation have been made possible only by the application of modern power source s to deep well pumps and by the storage of large quantities of water in reservoirs. Thus, by using either underground or surface reservoirs; it is now possible to bridge over the years and even out water excesses and deficiencies.
Man’s dependence upon irrigation can be traced to earliest biblical references where irrigation was practiced by the Egyptians, the Asians and the Indians of North America and the source of water supplies were available to these people only during periods of heavy runoff.
Irrigation water may be applied to crops by flooding the field surface, using buried PVC pipes(subsurface),by spraying it under pressure(sprinkler) or by applying in drops(drip Irrigation).The water supply, the type of soil, the topography of the land and the crop to be irrigated determine the correct method of irrigation to be used.
In the surface methods of irrigation, water is applied directly to the soil surface from a channel located at the upper reach of the field from where the water is being distributed to the crops through the furrow distance. Here, large stream of water is needed and the source will be closed once the flow reaches the end or before it reaches the end.
Water may be distributed to the crops in border strips, check basins or furrows. In order to obtain high efficiency in surface methods of irrigation are:
Properly Constructed water distribution systems to provide adequate control of water to the fields and Proper Land preparation to permit uniform distribution of water over the field.
According to Arora (2009), irrigation water is sprayed into the air and allowed to fall on the soil surface inform of raindrops. This flow is achieved under pressure through the sprinkler nozzles or orifices and this pressure is obtained by pumping. For the amount of irrigation water to be applied uniformly at a rate to suit the infiltration rate of the soil, careful selection of nozzle sizes, operating pressures and sprinkler spacing must be considered, thereby obtaining efficient irrigation.
Drip or Trickle irrigation on its part, is one of the latest methods of irrigation which is becoming popular in areas with water scarcity and salinity problems, reported Agunwamba (2008). He further observed that it (drip irrigation) is a method of watering plants frequently and with volume of water approaching the consumptive use of crops, thereby minimizing some conventional losses as deep percolation, soil water evaporation and runoff. Irrigation by this method, he stated, is accomplished by using small diameter plastic lateral lines with devices called “Emitters or Drippers” at selected spacing’s, depending on the crops to be irrigated, deliver water to the soil surface near the base of the plants in order to keep the soil moisture within the desired range for plant growth. This method gives no way for weeds as they concentrate only on the base of the plant.
1.2 : BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Study on low cost Drip irrigation construction was embarked on, because of the need to significantly improve on irrigation efficiency and cost. This method helps in economizing water use for irrigation as it (drip irrigation) is the most water efficient – irrigation system so far. However, the sophistication and initial cost of this irrigation equipment are considered to be its limitation for large scale adoption. Economic considerations equally limit the use of drip irrigation system to orchards and vegetables in water scarcity areas. Therefore, developing a low cost system will popularize drip irrigation in Nigeria.
James (2007) reported that the cost of the unit per hectare depends mainly on the spacing of the crop. He further reported that the system may be even more economical than sprinklers, when widely spaced at the base of the fruit trees (ie widely spaced fruit trees). The cost of the unit (setup) and the net return from the crop should be compared before a decision is made on installing the system. The main item of expenditure is the cost of the lateral lines.
According to Mckain (2008), crops like guava, banana, grapes, sugarcane and most other types of fruit trees and vegetables have been found to respond well to drip irrigation. Adoption of this method, saves considerable amount of water since the water could be applied almost at the root zone and there is no need to wet the entire area between tree crops.
Arora (2009) observed that in orchards, it is possible to increase the amount of water applied, depending on the stage of growth of the plant. He further stated that substantial increase in yields of vegetable crops have been observed by adopting the drip method. This method reduces the salt concentration in the root zone when or if irrigated with poor quality water. Like the sprinkler irrigation method, drip irrigation permits the application of fertilizers through the system. In comparison to surface irrigation method and sprinkler irrigation method, drip irrigation can achieve a 90% (percent) or more application efficiency, further reported Arora (2009), which can hardly be achieved by the other methods.
The application efficiency of drip irrigation which is different from sprinkler or surface irrigation methods, is based on the water desired in the root zone. This method (drip) when compared to the sprinkler systems operates on much lower line pressure, thus providing a saving in energy requirement. The total amount of water used is less than the water requirement for the whole area. The disadvantages of the system include the high initial cost, the requirement that the water must be relatively clear and the poor water distribution efficiency when a low pressure system is installed on steep slopes or uneven land.
Against this background, this study was carried out to construct a simple and low cost, but very effective, drip irrigation system for tree crop production or farming.
1.3 : STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since drip irrigation method is a very efficient method for watering plants, especially tree crops, it will enable us setup more tree crop plantations and vegetables, gardens.
However, the cost of setting up a drip irrigation scheme is the problem. The initial cost of the drip irrigation is considered to be a limitation for large scale adoption. This is so especially for the imported type. Also, economic considerations usually limit to use of drip irrigation system to orchards and vegetables in water scarcity areas. As such, the challenge before use is to construct a simple and low cost drip irrigation system that will equally effective and this shall be done using available local raw materials for the job. This will enable us to popularize the drip irrigation system in Nigeria.
1.4 : OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are as follows :
- To construct and test a simple and low cost drip irrigation system, relative to existing ones.
- To make appropriate recommendations based on empirical findings.
1.5 : SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is important we understand significance to mean conveyance of meaning to specific people and group. Therefore, in stating the significance of this study, we carefully examine those who are likely to be affected by the result of the study, as a result, the significance of this study will anchor on the followings:
- FARMERS : This include large scale commercial farmers as well as small stead holders, this will help them to have a continuous food and fibre production. By adoption simple and low cost drip irrigation system in their farming, a lot of variables will be stabilized and it will increase agricultural production in Nigeria.
- RESEARCHERS : This will serve as a baseline study for other researchers to build on. A lot of research work still need to be done to bring this system to the barest minimum cost, so there are lot of windows of opportunity for researchers in this field.
- STUDENTS : They will learn innovative ways of adopting research finding to their environments by doing so they can contribute to knowledge more meaningfully.
- RURAL COMMUNITIES : They will benefit greatly from this work and it will help them improve their agricultural practices which will translate to greater economic benefit.
- THE GOVERNMENT : The government at all levels (Federal, State and Local) will be in a position to invest more meaningful in the agricultural sector. This way, more jobs will be created and the people will benefit from it, and when the economy of the country depends more on agriculture, it becomes more stable and vibrant.
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Full Project – Construction of a low cost drip irrigation system for water melon production