Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pivot irrigation in Libya

Center-Pivot irrigation in LibyaLibya is a country placed in the north of Africa, and now is getting oil by BP. This country is not known for having large reserves of water ready to be used agricultural applications. The government is led by a man considered a little bit eccentric, but he's very conscious in watering crops by using center-pivot systems.

With this initiative, Libya is really trying to green the desert with center Pivots, but there are some other countries like Jordan (it's practicing pivot irrigation), Israel (irrigating for years via its patented drip irrigation system), Syria, Qatar... that are working with the most advanced irrigation systems.

This kind of mechanized irrigation machines have been designed to reduce water loss through evaporation, by using sprinkler methods that feed water from the Pivot pad within a circle, distributing piped water to the whole plot.

Pivot irrigation machines are being used in many countries around the world, including India and desert regions of the USA. However, the way they're growing crops is so unique in Libya. The photo shows a picture of typical images taken by NASA space shuttles passing overhead in Libya.

In a country like Libya (95% of the territory is composed by the Sahara desert) this type of agricultural mechanization is not a cheap investment, and is only possible by being able to extract water from underground aquifers. Each circle is about 0.6 miles in diameter, and is able to grow a number of different crops: vegetables, sunflowers, grains, corn, fruits, and crops for animals.

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