|Leads To||Steam-Pumped Land Drainage|
The techniques and tools of managing water flow on farmland, to improve the soil and crop yields. Advanced irrigation is the application of scientific ingenuity and mechanical principles to the use and distribution of water. Marshy landscapes are drained and tamed to make productive and profitable farmland, rivers can be dammed and diverted, ponds and the landscape itself reworked to the benefit of its owners. These advances are leading to the cultivation of land that would previously considered unsuitable for agriculture, providing more food for a growing population.
In Europe, the Dutch were the masters of irrigation and water management - hardly surprising given the low-lying nature of much of the Netherlands! In Asia and India, rice farmers had long practical experience with paddy fields. Crop irrigation is an ancient skill, dating back to the down of agriculture: the Egyptians used the yearly flooding of the Nile as the basis of their entire civilisation, a dead world that scholars and antiquaries in the late 18th Century were beginning to explore.