Irrigation is vital for meeting crop water needs in arid and semi-arid environments. Crop production in Jordan, for example, heavily depends on irrigation. A process of mixing fertilizers with irrigation water, or fertigation, is practiced to improve productivity, specifically in fruit orchards in Zarqa and Mafraq governates.
Farming management practices, such us fertigation, pest and weed control, usually ensure higher fruit production and fruit quality. However, the conventional irrigation methods and applications used are not uniform or efficient. Efficient and uniform fertigation can minimize fertilizer losses through leaching and accordingly increase crop benefits from it and reduce fertigation heterogeneity in the field.
Irrigation should be scheduled to meet the irrigation water needs for each crop. The same for fertigation, the right amount of fertilizers should be applied according to the plants needs and should match the irrigation schedule. The appropriate irrigation system design and routine maintenance can help avoid dripper blockage, system pressure drop, and mechanical damage. insufficient irrigation can reduce plants growth, yield, and fruit quality due to water stress.
Over irrigation causes several problems: 1) over fertilization due to increasing nutrient leaching, in addition to water stagnation, soil saturation and tree root suffocation problems; 2) increase the incidence of pests and diseases; 3) increase the associated cost of frequent operation and maintenance; 4) yield losses; and 5) adverse environmental effects such as the leaching of agrochemicals into groundwater aquifers, the overexploitation of water reservoirs, and the rise in water and soil salinity.
The use of water-saving technologies, practices, and inputs improves nutrient efficiency and reduces production costs. Indeed, water-saving technologies allow farmers to save resources like water, time, energy, labor, and money for irrigation and fertilizers.