Human development and technology have often been blamed for corrupting nature, but in the case of desert regions technology can be used to irrigate lands and grow a number of foods that will benefit the peoples living there both as a means of providing food and economically. Desert regions are able to grow foods rarely found elsewhere in the world, so a surplus can be exported to improve the overall lives of the population.
When discussing the idea of desert irrigation, many of the world’s first world classified countries are unaware of the existing irrigation systems that are currently in use. Some of these systems have been in use for thousands of years, with a significant amount of fine tuning taking place over the centuries. In other words, even without modern technology irrigation system have brought water from hundreds or even 1,000 miles away to provide water to local populations.
These systems often use gates to control the flow of water. A calendar is used to schedule the flow based on need. While water is essential for human survival, additional water is required during planting and growing seasons; less during harvest times. Because a water source can span across several countries in, say, Africa, agreements between nations are a standard part of international relations.
But within a country it is individual property owners who often control the find delivery to local regions. We are not talking about corporations or governments here, but people who have developed a mutually beneficial cooperation where the amount of water allowed is proportional to factors such as family size and the amount of land owned. While technology can provide solutions to irrigating desert lands, the best idea for the best way to distribute water usage is the unincorporated person.
Specific to desert regions, dams are the usual means of containing and storing water. But these have proven not to be particularly effective, in part due to the desert heat which results in a significant amount of water lost to evaporation. Add to that the amount of water that is absorbed into the ground and you have a very unstable water supply system.
In countries such as the United States which as an abundant supply of fresh water, the concept of irrigation is generally thought to providing water to a field. However, in desert regions a technology called drip irrigation supplies only the amount of water needed for a plant to survive. In other words, the idea of water simply being retained in the soil is done away with. This, in combination with genetically modifying food crops such as corn to be able to thrive in very dry conditions, is being researched to maximize water usage and create new forms of irrigation technology.