Guest Speaker James Atkins: Introduction to Irrigation

“ The Towers of Avalon was some of the first irrigated Agriculture” (James Atkins). James Atkins, an Irrigation specialist, informed the students of the University of Delaware about the importance of irrigation, the history, the irrigation methods used today, and the water rights that have been placed within the United States and in neighboring countries. Irrigation, one of the many important aspects in feeding the world, allows farmers and producers to control the amount of water that is placed on the field which allows the crop to get the needed amount of water for growth and development; essentially creating a higher yield. However, this was only possible due to the Towers of Avalon and their method of irrigation to apply water to their crops. During the earlier centuries, the towers of Avalon created and used the method of pumping water from a dam and letting it flow down to the field to apply water to their crops. This essentially, allowed for many to have a foundation to develop further methods of irrigation that eventually led to the use of aluminum pipes due to the abundance of aluminum after World War II to build sprinkler systems that are rolled manually, hard hose irrigation, and central irrigation.

With the developments of methods of irrigation during the earlier centuries, many were able to develop advanced systems that fit the different types of crops and their needs. Today, the irrigation methods of subsurface drip irrigation, traveling gun irrigation, shallow surface irrigation, and central pivot irrigation are used, the most widely being, central pivot irrigation. Central pivot irrigation, a process in which equipment rotates around a pivot and crops are watered through the sprinklers on the system that have zone and variability controlling that controls each of the individual water dispensing nozzles on the center pivot irrigation system and allows for efficient water dispensing over the areas needed on the field. With the use of irrigation of the fields, many states near a water source are under water rights due to the concern of the sustainability of water in that area, thus, this allows many to share the water without over usage of it. From this presentation, many things about the irrigation methods in the past and current day time can be learned which can help me and the other students develop a greater understanding of growing crops and the processes within it.

Throughout this lecture, Mr. Atkins discussed the importance of irrigation across the United States and the history that irrigation to be in the standing it is today which led myself and other students to develop a further understanding of irrigation and its benefits to farmers and producers and discover an interesting fact which was that irrigation is needed in many dry regions of the earth which has resulted into water rights to be placed to prevent the water source from running out.

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