Only a very small proportion of the water that we share on Earth (less than 0.1%) is for drinking and is renewed each year by rain or other types of precipitation. Although the supply of freshwater is renewable, it is also finite.
Irrigation has helped promote large, prosperous civilizations during centuries, and frequently has taken them toward ruin. Errors of irrigated agriculture in the past are generally attributed to poor water management due to lack of knowledge of soil-plant-atmosphere relations, inadequate form of water application, hydrochemical relations triggered by irrigation, and the soil's microbiological surroundings. The excessive application of water to crops has been one of the most serious errors of the first economies with irrigation.
Nowadays, irrigation programming is included in irrigation management. Properly managed surface and pressurized irrigation systems have high efficiencies and uniform distribution of applied water. Advanced drainage techniques have also been applied to remove excess water from the soil profile. Nevertheless, there is still a need to optimize water resource use and management in agriculture.
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