Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation or micro irrigation or localized irrigation, is an irrigation method that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. It is done through narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant.
Primitive drip irrigation has been used since ancient times. Fan Sheng-Chih Shu, written in China during the first century BCE, describes the use of buried, unglazed clay pots filled with water as a means of irrigation. Modern drip irrigation began its development in Germany in 1860 when researchers began experimenting with subsurface irrigation using clay pipe to create combination irrigation and drainage systems. Research was later expanded in the 1920s to include the application of perforated pipe systems. The usage of plastic to hold and distribute water in drip irrigation was later developed in Australia by Hannis Thill.