The USGS Water Science School
If you haven't already, why don't you take a look at the picture of a traditional spray-irrigation system. Compare it to this picture. Pretty similar, right? This is a picture of a type of center-pivot irrigation system that does not spray water through the air onto crops, though. It is called a Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) center-pivot system. Instead of high-power spray units, this system has small water sprayers hanging down from a large water-carrying pipe above. At the bottom of each pipe, very close to the ground, is a nozzle that gently sprays water onto the crops.
Because the nozzle is so close to the ground, you lose a lot less water to evaporation than you would with a traditional spray-irrigation system. Plus, electricity is saved because it takes less to use these low-powered systems. These systems allow more than 90-percent of the water pumped to be used by the crop -- pretty efficient!
Irrigation water use | Irrigation techniques | Irrigation methods
Irrigation use, 2000: Data table | Map
Charts:By crop type | Irrigated land
Irrigation methods: Spray | Flood | Drip | Low-energy