micro irrigation is it the right choice and design considerations l.
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Micro Irrigation Is it the right choice and design considerations. First of all, micro irrigation is….

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first of all micro irrigation is
First of all, micro irrigation is….

…the broad classification of frequent, low volume, low pressure application of water on or beneath the soil surface by drippers, drip emitters, spaghetti tube, subsurface or surface drip tube, basin bubblers, and spray or mini sprinkler systems. It is also referred to as drip or trickle irrigation. (NEH Part 652, Irrigation Guide, ‘97)

…an irrigation system for distribution of water directly to the plant root zone by means of surface or subsurface applicators. (Draft PS 441, ‘00)

why would i use micro
Why would I use micro?
  • high uniformity with good design (90+ % achievable)
    • MAY result in excellent efficiency   inputs of water, power, and chemicals
    •  growth/production
  • less wetted surface area   evaporation &  weed problems
  • good in windy conditions (Uniformity &  evaporation)
  • good in undulating or steep areas (Uniformity)
  • excellent system control with automation
  • system flexibility
    • odd “field” shapes
    • supply nutrients to a specific point so spacing/variety of plant is not limiting
  • soils with low water holding capacity (frequent, low volume applications)
why would i use micro cont
Why would I use micro? (cont.)
  • low operating cost
    • high efficiency with low pressures & flow rates  energy savings
    • less labor
  • odor control for waste water applications (esp. subsurface)
  • climate control
    •  or  temperature
    •  or  humidity
  • “disease” control
    • eliminate wetting of tree trunks
    • eliminate wetting of leaf/fruit
  • easily adapted to automation
  • ……any others?…...
why wouldn t i use micro
Why wouldn’t I use micro?
  • Issues associated with “dirty” water
    • potential clogging of emitters
    • cost of filtration
  • High Level of O&M Required
  • High Pest Damage Potential
  • High Initial Cost
  • Most, if not all, of these issues can be overcome but at some point it becomes a matter of economics
information needed for micro design
Information Needed for Micro Design
  • Soil Characteristics (Water Holding Capacity, pH, etc.)
  • Tree/Shrub/Crop Characteristics
    • Layout (spacing, numbers, etc.)
    • Tree/Shrub/Crop Water Requirements over time
    • Root Zone over time
    • Sensitivity to Available Moisture (MAD)
    • Sensitivity to Water/Soil Quality
  • Good topographic survey - at least 2 foot intervals.
  • Water & Power Source
    • Location
    • Quantity
    • Quality
  • Owner/Operator Characteristics & Desires
micro design considerations
Micro Design Considerations

NRCS Standards, Specifications & References

  • PS and GS 380 Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment
    • “…supplemental or permanent watering of the planting will be evaluated in areas with less than 20 inches average annual precipitation……”
    • “… Use Idaho Forestry TN 14 (12/93) for water requirements.”
    • “soak soil to 3 to 5 ft depth”
    • MAD of 50 to 60%
    • if poly fabric mulch used, supplemental water use may be reduced by up to 50%
  • PS 441 Irrigation System, Trickle (‘82)
    • design application efficiency not to exceed 90%
    • for individual laterals, individual emitter q ± 15% of average q
    • main and submains must meet PS 430
    • “A filtration system shall be provided…..”
micro design considerations9
Micro Design Considerations

NRCS Standards, Specifications & References

  • Draft PS 441 Irrigation System, Microirrigation (‘00)
    • max time of operation for design is 22 hr/day
    • design application efficiency not to exceed 90%
    • # & spacing of emitters (Pw) based on NEH 623, Ch. 7
    • manufacturer’s coefficient of variation
    • for individual subunits (blocks), individual emitter q ± 10% of average q (total variation of 20% allowed)
    • main and submains must meet PS 430
    • “A filtration system shall be provided…..” with constraints
    • other: pressure regulators, chemical treatment, flushing, subsurface installation, chemigation, germination, water quality, salinity issues
  • NEH Part 623, Irrigation, Chapter 7, Trickle Irrigation
micro design considerations10
Micro Design Considerations

NRCS Standards, Specifications & References

NEH Part 652, Irrigation Guide, Chapter 6, Irrigation System Design (9/97) - Windbreaks

  • if designing to irrigate throughout lifespan, use NEH 623, Ch. 7
  • if designing just for establishment
    • design to last at least first 5 years
    • after initial establishment of trees/shrubs water applications should be greater in volume and less frequent to encourage root zone development
    • suggests augering and backfilling a deep, small diameter hole near each tree/shrub to allow deeper penetration of water and, hence, deeper rooting
    • for arid & semiarid climates, apply water early in spring after soil thaws to fill soil profile
    • discontinue watering in the fall before freezing to encourage “hardening” (perhaps should irrigate after “hardening,” however)
    • do not provide full irrigation
micro design considerations11
Micro Design Considerations
  • System reliability/management is important
    •  soil volume wetted   WHC  “dry” quicker
  • Flushing ability
    • individual laterals
    • connect ends with flushing main (also gives system resiliency)
    • required velocity at end of lateral > than operating velocity
  • Runoff - Infiltration Rate vs. Application Rate
    • frequent applications  typically “wetter” soils   infiltration capacity during storm events
    • effects of weed barrier fabric
    • point sources
  • Saline/Sodic conditions
    • frequent applications  continuous dilution of salty water
    • but, “salt profile” can be moved back into root zone with precip
  • System Drainage
    • frequent cycling  overapplication in drainage areas
micro design procedure irrigation guide
Micro Design Procedure (Irrigation Guide)

NOT a linear procedure since these steps are interrelated

  • Step 1: Determine net amount of water required
  • Step 2: Emitter design
  • Step 3: Subunit/block design
  • Step 4: Size laterals, submains, & mains
  • Step 5: Pump selection
  • Step 6: Filtration design
  • Steps 7 & 8: Fertilizer & chemical injection design
  • Step 9: Pressure gauge, valves, drains, measuring devices
  • Step 10: Irrigation scheduling plan
  • Step 11: O&M plan