The Intricate History of Irrigation Systems

Irrigation has a history that dates back to 8,000 years ago.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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Eight thousand years ago, farmers in Egypt discovered that by building embankments and dykes along the Nile, they could trap the rising waters to grow more crops. This was one of the first irrigation systems ever to be devised but it was not the last.

Throughout time, engineers, farmers, and civilizations have engineered some pretty ingenious irrigation systems. This is because irrigation does so much more than just help crops grow. It also allows the maintenance of landscapes, the revegetation of desert soils, reduces dust, helps raise livestock, and manages sewage disposal, mining, and drainage. 

These crucial irrigation systems allowed early civilizations to grow larger and develop further. Today, irrigated agriculture covers 275 million hectares (about 680 million acres) of land and accounts for 40% of global food production. We now have new, more efficient irrigation systems that place water exactly where it is needed most and we are only going to get better.

If you want to find out more about the irrigation systems that brought us today and the civilizations that built them make sure to watch this video. You will be astounded by what previous populations achieved with so few resources.

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