WorldWide Drilling Resource

26 APRIL 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® Groundwater and Irrigation by Ronald B. Peterson Drilling Products Specialist, Mountainland Supply Company Water for irrigation comes from precipitation either as it is delivered by nature or stored in natural and man-made surface reservoirs or natural underground reservoirs or aquifers. It is redistributed naturally or through man-made distribution systems. It is then applied in controlled volumes to the land to assist in the growth of crops or desirable plants. The various methods of irrigation used over the years are all still being utilized at some level today. Settlements, communities, and civilizations were centered around the reliable availability of adequate water. Building canal systems to move the water from one area to another, combined with the use of water from natural ponds and lakes, or stored in intentionally designed and constructed retention ponds or reservoirs, and our ability to extract water from underground reservoirs or aquifers has made it possible to farm previously arid areas and increase the production of crops. Evidence of the agricultural use of irrigation has been verified as early as 6000 B.C. There have been many irrigation methods employed over the years, including but not limited to natural rainfall commonly called dry land irrigation; surface irrigation, which has been accomplished through the diversion of rainfall, streams, and rivers; and water naturally accumulated in ponds and lakes or retained and stored in man-made reservoirs. This stored water is then diverted through canal systems to fields where it is used to flood irrigate the field or directed into small channels or furrows through the field. Through the use of pumps, we can also use drip irrigation and more recently various versions of sprinklers. Sprinklers are utilized in many forms and include moveable rows of pipe wheel lines or center pivots with sprinklers attached. Sprinkler design over the years has advanced, resulting in distribution of water closer to the ground reducing the loss of water through evaporation. Initially, the spray was directed upward at an angle to provide maximum coverage. It has been determined that, the closer to the ground we keep the spray nozzles, the less water loss we experience due to evaporation. Many sprinkler systems now utilize drop pipes to place the spray head closer to the ground. This helps minimize water loss due to evaporation. We can increase the amount of land farmed through the use of sprinklers; however, there is a significant issue with the decline in underground storage aquifers and we must be careful not to overpump and deplete them to a level where they cannot recover. The water available both on the surface and underground is a limited resource we must wisely and prudently manage. It was not until the 1960s that water was recognized as a scarce resource. We have become more efficient in our use of water through technological advances in agriculture irrigation methods, but nevertheless, the demand for water continues to increase on what we now recognize as a finite resource. I appreciate my association with the groundwater industry and specifically for the opportunities that have been given to me, through being involved with you, the dedicated members of this industry. Please remember, I would like this to be our column. I need your input to make it so; otherwise, it becomes my column. If you have any questions about this topic or if you have another topic you would like me to address, please contact Michele (below) and she will let me know. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does and is willing to share. We work in an amazing industry and have a tremendous resource base to pull from. Thanks for reading. Ron Ron Peterson may be contacted via e-mail to michele@ WTR