Pressure needed for drip irrigation
Drip irrigation systems do not need a high water pressure like other irrigation systems. A typical drip irrigation system needs a pressure range of 15 pounds per square inch (psi) to 30 pounds per square inch (psi).
A drip irrigation system which is a type of micro-irrigation system can even work with a water pressure level of 10 pounds per square inch (psi). Drip irrigation systems are known to work at low pressure.
One of the main advantages of using a drip irrigation system is the ability of the irrigation system to emit water and irrigate crops at low pressure.
For large expanse of land, you may need to use a water pressure that is as high as 90 psi or even more. Once the flowing water enters the drip laterals, the pressure gradually decreases.
Using the right pressure for your drip irrigation system will ensure that all the emitters on the drip tapes or tubes emit the right quantity of water to the root zone of each plant.
Should you use a pressure regulator for your drip irrigation system?
A pressure regulator is a device used for the regulation of water pressure in an irrigation system. A pressure regulator can be installed on the main line or the sub-main line.
A pressure regulator can also be installed on every drip lateral, at the point of the connection of the drip tape lateral to the main line or the sub-main line.
A pressure regulator should be used in a drip irrigation system if the water pressure is very high or unstable.
A high pressure level can damage the drip irrigation. The drip tapes will get damaged if the pressure level exceeds its burst pressure level.
Other components of the drip irrigation system can also be damaged if the pressure level is too high.
Unstable water pressure can also make the drip emitters emit unstable quantity of water to the root zones of every plant. This will make the plants grow unequally. This can have consequences for the yield of your crop.
A valve can serve as a pressure regulator in the case that you do not have a pressure regulator.
Causes of variation in pressure in a drip irrigation system
The following are the causes of variation in pressure in a drip irrigation system:
Malfunctioning of the pump
If your pumping machine is malfunctioning, the water pressure level of your irrigation system can be erratic. This can have implications for how your irrigation system wets the root zone of the plants.
Blocked irrigation hoses and emitters
If your drip irrigation hoses or pipes and emitters are blocked, the water pressure level may be affected. The wetting pattern of the drip irrigation hoses can be erratic.
Too long drip irrigation laterals
If the drip irrigation hoses are too long, the pressure level of the laterals that are nearer to the main line will be higher than the pressure level of the laterals far away from the main line.
Usage of non-pressure compensating drip emitters
If you use emitters or drip tapes that are not pressure compensating, you can experience volatility in the pressure level of your irrigation system.
Pressure compensated emitters and drip tapes ensure that the emitters emit same quantity of water to the root zones of every plant irrespective of the slope or topography of the land or field.
Do you know the pressure level of your drip irrigation system? If yes, why not share with us in the comments’ section.