Improving Water Use Efficiency in Garden Irrigation: Experiences from the Lowveld Research Station, Southeast Zimbabwe
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In dry regions, access to irrigation systems is the principle factor effecting garden size and success. In rural areas, efficient irrigation can allow more families to benefit from a particular water source and can improve crop production. In urban areas, where water must also be paid for, it can improve the economic returns made from gardening. Thousands of small gardens in Zimbabwe are laboriously irrigated to produce extra food for families. Surface irrigation of small beds is the common practice, but this traditional irrigation method is not efficient in water use. With each irrigation, some water applied to the soil surface is lost as soil evaporation. With increasing human pressure on limited water supplies, and the possibility of climatic change, it is vital that more efficient methods of irrigation be developed and adopted.