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Home > Alberta's Resource Inventory > Soil and Agriculture > Resource Development > Irrigation > Surface Irrigation

Resource Inventory

Surface Irrigation

Irrigating Vegetables, c.1920.Surface irrigation includes four types of irrigation. What these irrigation methods have in common are that they all use gravity and the field itself to direct and distribute the water. When water is applied to the field, it flows across the entire field, in either a direct or an indirect way. 

Water from the irrigation may run off the field or pond on its surface. The time between the end of the advance and when the inflow is cut off is called the wetting or ponding phase. After application of the water has stopped the remaining water will either run off or soak into the field.

 There are four major types of surface irrigation: 

  1. basin irrigation

  2. border irrigation

  3. furrow irrigation

  4. uncontrolled flooding

The primary areas of water loss in surface irrigation are: surface runoff, deep percolation and evaporation.


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