Soil Ecology and Research Group

last update July 8, 2001


Buried clay pot irrigation: a little known but very efficient traditional method of irrigation


The buried clay pot or pitcher method is one of the most efficient traditional systems of irrigation known and is well suited for small farmers in many areas of the world. Buried clay pot irrigation uses buried, unglazed, porous clay pots filled with water to provide controlled irrigation to plants. The water seeps out through the clay wall of the buried clay pot at a rate that is influenced by the plant's water use. This leads to very high efficiency, even better than drip irrigation, and as much as ten times better than conventional surface irrigation. This method is also very effective in saline soil or when saline irrigation water must be used. It has proved useful for land restoration in very arid environments.