Israel is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world. The development of drip irrigation has made a huge difference, as only 20% of the land is arable and approximately half of that is arid or semi-arid which requires irrigation. This has resulted in the development of innovative farming methods being found starting with the development of Drip Irrigation.
The idea of drip irrigation was first thought of and developed by Simcha Blass who was the director of government water institutions in the new state of Israel but his idea was actually born in the early 1930’s when his attention was drawn to a big tree on a farm that the owner assured him had not received any water. He decided to dig below what appeared to be a dry surface and found a damp area near the base of the roots. On investigating further he discovered that a tap coupling near the house had been dripping and a small amount of underground water was reaching the roots of the large tree.
From around 1950 his idea began to materialise and eventually in 1965 came to fruition when he found a kibbutz in the Negev desert to try out his newly developed drip irrigation system. Its success then opened up many possibilities for agriculture in considerably larger parts of the country. Since then Israel Farming technology including the Drip Irrigation system which is used in 75% of Israeli farming, has resulted in the country producing most of its own food and also exporting large amounts of agricultural products.
Modern Drip Irrigation systems are very sophisticated as it is important to be sure that all the plants whether they are close to, or far from the valve get the same amount of water and are consistent in systems that run both uphill and downhill. The goal of the system is to eliminate wasting water. The system consists of valves that control the drops of water and have to be very precisely spaced along the irrigation lines.
Israeli Drip Irrigation systems have been sold to more than 100 countries around the world and as the world’s water supplies diminish the more this system will benefit the world’s populations.