What irrigation systems are used in Israel
Although date groves are cultivated in the hottest growing regions in the world, the most widespread form of artificial irrigation is that which wastes most of the water: in order to provide the plants with water, the entire plantation floor is simply flooded. A lot of water is lost unused because it evaporates or insures in places where it does not reach the roots. But because this irrigation system is so easy to set up and maintain, it also costs the least. Even in an affluent region like California, the flood method is used to cultivate dates. There, 27,000 to 36,000 cubic meters of water are used annually per hectare, while in Moroccan date cultivation it is 13,000 to 20,000 cubic meters.
Israel, suffering from chronic water scarcity, has the most water-saving and at the same time most expensive irrigation system: there the date palms are supplied with the modern drip irrigation, which was also developed in Israel. With drip irrigation, almost no water is wasted and each palm can be supplied with exactly as much water as it actually needs.
How much water has to be used in cultivation depends not only on the irrigation method: In addition to the type of date and the climate, the nature of the soil also influences water consumption. For example, if the soil is very salty, some of the salt will need to be washed out with water. Consumption also increases with sandy subsoil, in which the water seeps away more easily. Flood irrigation is particularly wasteful on such soils.
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