A.F. Mahdavi, S.A. Mahallati
Iran lies between 25–40 degrees longitude and covers totally an area of 165 million hectares consisting of planes surrounded by mountain chains regions of which are deserts. Climatologically most areas are classified as arid or semi arid because of the low precipitation and the improper distribution of rain. Apart from low precipitation the evaporation is very high (some places more than 2 000 mm per year). Keeping this complication in view an estimate of 85 billion cubic metre of water should be available for agricultural purposes.

In order to produce with the limited water resources sufficient food and fibre for the fast growing population water must be used efficiently. Therefore needs arose for a comprehensive research in efficient use of water and also in the most efficient use of water for the most effective irrigation systems. The research was started after reviewing the over all results of drip, sprinkling and surface irrigation systems all over the country by the Soil Institute of Iran in 1973.

Accomplishment of the research necessitated to take steps towards employing and training of university graduates and irrigation technicians in 4 separate courses conducted by Iranian and Israeli experts and instructors. Visits were exchanged by experts to both countries and desired state of required specialization was obtained. Preparation was made in over 500 hectares of the research centers, consisting in well drilling and installation of pressurized irrigation networks, and following experiments were conducted.

  1. Feasibility study of drip irrigation practice in various regions and on various agricultural crops.
  2. Comparison of drip, sprinkling and surface irrigation methods (taking into account factors such as crop yield, water consumed, labour force and other technical and economical considerations).
  3. The study of soluble fertilizer application possibilities through irrigation systems.
  4. Technological studies of irrigation equipments. Experiments were conducted on various agricultural crops such as apples, pears, peaches, citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, water melons, pistacios, olives and tea, and results were published in 4 publications and submitted in related seminars. It is generally concluded that drip irrigation practice is accompanied by higher yield production and considerable water savings in all the areas and crops under experimentation. Although yield data is not available for fruit trees, there are evidences indicating vigorous, healthy vegetative growth.

The results encouraged farmers for application of drip irrigation system in over 7000 agricultural land with government technical and financial assistance.

Consideration of following points is of paramount importance in drip irrigation practice and development:

Mahdavi, A.F. and Mahallati, S.A. (1979). DRIP IRRIGATION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN IRAN. Acta Hortic. 89, 31-32
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1979.89.3

Acta Horticulturae