Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Photo Essay on Irrigation Circles

I have been a bit intrigued with 'Crop Circles' - those farms that exist solely because of irrigation. When I was young I worked a bit in Pocatello, ID one summer 'moving pipe' - that is hand-carrying 40' lengths of pipe - one pipe at a time, connecting them back up and turning back on the irrigation water. It was a slow tedious process and not very fun at all.

So when I had a chance yesterday to get 'up close and personal' with one of these new 'fangled' crop circle irrigation devices... I thought I'd put together a little 'photo essay'.

Here is a 'Google Earth' capture from the actual location we were 'hunting' yesterday morning.

At the center of the system is a cistern that is fed by an irrigation canal/pipe system. The pump pushes the water out through the rotating pump-head down the pipe. There are 'nozzles' that hang down. (Depending on the crop there are different densities and types of water nozzles).Each section of pipe has a self-drive unit that holds up the pipe and the contained water, but also inches the entire system forward. Being a circle, the outer sets of wheels have to travel faster/farther that the inside sets. All electronically controlled of course.
On some circles, the final outermost pipe extends and rotates on it's own allowing for crop 'circles' to have more 'squared off' corners. See first picture for an example (center bottom)

Here is a picture of the area covered by this one irrigation system... this small 'slice' of the area covered is less than 1/20th of the area covered!
All of this is possible because of a Bureau of Reclamation project back in the 1940's that brought water from the mighty Columbia River into this central Washington area. Over 600,000 acres are irrigated by this one project. (Our visit to the Dam will be in a different post)

1 comment:

Gram said...

We are so grateful they can irrigate and provide wheat and food for us.