Recently I read a report in a daily about how an agriculture scientist managed her own terrace farming from drying out during her family vacation tour using wick irrigation (thiri nana in Malayalam). The report said that the scientist collected a few mineral water bottles, cut it suitably and put thick wicks in each bottle and placed the bottles below the grow bags which were placed in metal stands and connected the top end of the wick into the soil in the grow bag through the bottom. Now the remaining part of the irrigation has been managed perfectly by the capillary rise principle during her entire fifteen day vacation! When she came back, all her plants were fresh, grew further, someone flowered and all were fluttering very happily in the breeze. The plants didn’t felt the absence of their mentor! Though the news did not provide any pictures of the arrangement, I am trying to draw here what I conceived while reading it.
Since water will remain in the bottom layer of the soil in the grow bag, where the roots are, it will reduce the loss of water by evaporation substantially. A lot of modifications can be brought into this technology, for instance, concealing the bottles also in a layer of soil may reduce the evaporation of water from the bottles. The scientist placed four bottles beneath each bag. Of course, you may have to adjust this number based on the size of the bag as well as the normal water intake nature of the plants.
The above news, made me think about wick irrigation as an ideal technology for the parts of the world which face severe water scarcity. In future, it might become one of the most wanted technologies if the overall drop of ground water levels continues in the same pace. Perhaps, the drop pace is likely to be increased in the years to come.
It is high time we started to develop alternative technologies that can save life on the earth in the decades to come. The situation reminds me of the plight and efforts of the people who face severe effects of climate change in my own fiction IMANOFUTU. I can predict that wick irrigation would definitely come out as one of the cheapest and very effective alternative technologies to combat the climate change.