Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New irrigation system helps farmers conserve water - SmartPlanet
Recent studies project that water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 percent by the year 2030. However, about 90 percent of the world’s water consumption is being tapped to produce food and energy, meaning nations that can effectively manage their water supply would likely be in the best position to nourish economic prosperity.

China has already begun thinking a few steps ahead and recently announced plans to pour the equivalent of $600 billion over the next 10 years into conservation technologies and revamping their water management infrastructure.... The drought-prone nation has been exploring potential solutions to wasteful irrigation practices....

Driptech, a small Silicon Valley-based water technology firm, hopes to play a major role in that effort. The company has developed ... a simple network of polyethylene plastic tubing with strategically placed holes that allow just enough water to drip into to the roots of crops.... [Alternative] expensive large-scale pressurized irrigation systems ... require the complete flooding of large plots of farmland. The [Driptech] technology costs $100 dollars and can reduce water usage by 30 percent. In India, it’s the farmer that’s responsible for paying for water and diesel pumps.... In China, the government benefits more, because they’re responsible for providing water.

The Chinese government has given the go-ahead to a pilot program in the Shanxi province....

By Tuan C. Nguyen
March 22, 2011

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