Modern drip irrigation has arguably become the world's most valued innovation in agriculture since the invention of the impact sprinkler in the 1930s, which offered the first practical alternative to surface irrigation. This is the drip irrigation system I recently finished, along with a paper, for my high school senior research project. I planted strawberries in a raised flower bed because the berries require a different soil composition than the soil in my area.
Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation or micro irrigation, is an irrigation technique which saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the plants roots, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. This saves a lot of water. In Israel, a British Water Agency employee by the name of Simcha Blass found inspiration in a faucet after the leaking water from the dripping faucet allowed a nearby tree to grow seemingly without water. Puzzled as to why this was occurring, he dug below the apparently dry surface. Blass discovered that the leaking faucet was causing a small wet area on the surface, while an expanding bulb shaped area of underground water was reaching the roots of this particular tree. He applied his knowledge of micro-tubing to an improved drip method. The main aspect of the new invention was the release water through larger and longer passageways off of the main hose, rather than tiny holes. These “emitters” used friction to slow the water inside. The larger passageways of the emitters prevented the blocking of water flow by very small particles that would occur in a hose simply punctured with tiny holes. Patented in 1959 in partnership with Kibbutz Harzerim in Israel, the Blass emitter became the first efficient drip irrigation method.
This partnership spawned the company known as Netafim. Netafim was established in 1965 at Kibbutz Hatzerim. Netafim is the global leader in smart drip and micro-irrigation and further developed drip irrigation to pretty much what you see above.
So now my strawberries are using less water and it is very darn cool!