A little known but very efficient traditional method of irrigation
Olive trees are hardy plants that do well in arid regions, up to a point. In the past, there used to be adequate rainfall in Tunisia, especially in the Northern regions of the country. However, due to the climate change, it has become a lot drier. Water has become increasingly scarce.
Tunisian farmers across the country are increasingly using an old and reliable method to water their olive trees. When the soil dries out, water supplies buried in clay pots keep the roots adequately hydrated.
The buried clay pot or pitcher method is one of the the most effective traditional irrigation techniques known and is well suited for small farmers in many regions around the world.
Buried clay pot irrigation provides plants with controlled watering through the use of buried, porous, unglazed clay pots. The rate at which water percolates through the submerged clay pot’s clay wall is dependent on the water consumption of the plant. If the soil dries out, the pot acts as a reserve to keep the roots well supplied. The trees just get the right amount of water.
This results in exceptionally high effectiveness, up to ten times that of conventional surface irrigation and even surpassing that of drip irrigation. Still, the ancient method does the job, using just about 60 percent less water.
This traditional and ancient method is also very effective in saline soil or when saline irrigation water must be used. It has proved useful for land restoration in very arid environments.
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