The Start of Groundwater Irrigation
Since 1910, engines that ran on oil powered most irrigation
pumps. Later pumps were powered by gasoline or diesel fuel.
irrigation began in the 1920s, but wasn't widely used by farmers
until drilling equipment, pumps, and engines improved in the
1930s. Wells for irrigation were usually dug in river valleys
where the water was closer to the surface. Farmers who needed
deeper wells had to find a well driller with rotary equipment
similar to an oil-drilling machine. Nebraska farmers also used
water from a few natural springs where groundwater bubbled to
the surface. While simple irrigation systems have been used
for thousands of years in Africa and Europe to provide a steady
water supply to crops, some Nebraska farmers in the 1920s resisted
using mechanized systems. Play the Dean Buller interview to find out why.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt.