The amazing engineering feat that is irrigation allowed agriculture to spread across the globe, helping small tribes of people grow into huge civilizations. But where did it all start? Check out this short history of ancient farming techniques to learn how the same technology used thousands of years ago ended up in your yard today.

Early Irrigation

The earliest records of irrigation indicate that the process was first discovered around 6000 BC by two separate civilizations simultaneously, the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians. The Mesopotamians practiced perennial irrigation, where crops were regularly watered through the growing season by delivering it from nearby rivers through an extensive series of small channels dug into the fields.

The Egyptians used basin irrigation. When the Nile river flooded, the water would become trapped in plots of land that had been surrounded by walled mounds of dirt. The flood water was kept in these basins until the sediment it carried from the river settled onto the ground. The excess water was released while the fertile sediment stayed behind and helped future crops grow.

Native Pioneers

The only culture known to irrigate their crops in the United States, before the technology became widespread, was the Hohokam tribe of Native Americans. Between the 7th and 14th centuries they built an extensive irrigation network along the Salt and Gila rivers to grow their cotton, tobacco, maize, beans and squash crops. By 1300 the Hohokam irrigation system supported the largest population in the American Southwest; their reliance on canal irrigation provided the basis for rural populations to later expand into urban centers.

Irrigating the Wetlands

The first irrigation pump in the state of Louisiana was built near the city of Gueydan, at Primeaux Landing, in the early 1900s. A series of canals was used to drain and divert water from the wetlands to thousands of acres of rice farms. The area quickly grew as a producer of rice, eventually forcing farmers to recruit Italian immigrants as a cheap labor force. These hard-working men soon left to establish local businesses across Louisiana.

Irrigation Solutions in Baton Rouge

Today, irrigation is a widespread practice used around the world; as of 2008 there was an estimated total of 802 million acres of irrigated land. Modern technologies have allowed for the creation of specialized irrigation systems that can deliver the perfect amount of water to any kind of plant or garden imaginable.

If your residential or commercial location is in need of irrigation system installation or maintenance, contact River City Landscaping today. Our experienced staff offers a wide variety of full-service landscaping solutions for virtually any project.

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