Irrigation is one of the oldest technologies mankind developed. It is used extensively across the world. Countries with the largest populations (USA, China, India etc.) have over 100,000 km2 of irrigated land! Wow!
Irrigation consumes a lot of fresh water and can result in water logging of crops and build up of salts. Salinization is a big problem in places like Egypt. The riverbed of the Nile has been irrigated from close to 5000 years since around 3100 BCE. These practices draw salt from lower horizons in the soil to upper levels. This is so bad in some places that the soil is actually whitish in areas! This isn’t an issue isolated to Egypt and occurs wherever irrigation has been employed for a long period of time.
Drip irrigation offers a great solution to this potential problem. Historic practices such as centre-pivot irrigation are not sustainable in the long term. They consume large amounts of water and are potentially damaging to the “health” of the soil. Drip irrigation allows the user to better control the amount of water plants receive, rather than blanket watering the area. Eutrophication is massively decreased by drip irrigation as fertilizers are not carried away by water runoff into watercourses