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Last edited 03 Aug 2021
Irrigation is the controlled watering of land by artificial means. It is primarily used to sustain crop growth, cool livestock, suppress weeds or protect land from freezing. It can also be used as a control measure in areas where lack of consistent water supply can have a negative impact on the landscape.
In Egypt, significant irrigation measures were built around 3000 BC to control the level of the Nile. In addition to supplying water to crops, this irrigation project also involved the construction of other complex water engineering measures.
Irrigation was used extensively in ancient civilisations in China, India, Sri Lanka, Korea and the Americas.
 Types of irrigation
- Surface irrigation (also known as gravity irrigation).
- Micro-irrigation (also referred to as localised irrigation, low volume irrigation, trickle irrigation or drip irrigation).
- Sprinkler irrigation (also referred to as overhead irrigation).
- Subirrigation (or subsurface irrigation).
There are several water sources that can be used for irrigation purposes. These include:
- Groundwater (from springs or taken from wells).
- Surface water (taken from rivers, lakes or reservoirs).
- Treated water (including wastewater, desalinated water or drainage water).
- Floodwater harvesting (referred to as spate irrigation) or fog collection.
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