How does Sprinkler Irrigation System Work?
A sprinkler irrigation system is an irrigation system that uses a small amount of water to irrigate your farm, and it works like normal rainfall. Water flows through a system of pipes, mainly by pumping. It is then separated by sprinklers, causing it to break down into tiny drops of water that fall to the ground. The nozzle at the terminal distributes the water over the entire surface of the soil.
Sprinklers are suitable for application and usage in all types of gardens, landscaping, fields as they provide appropriate coverage for small to large blocks of land. The Sprinklers are adaptable and suitable for use on nearly all types of irrigable soils as they are available in a wide range of discharge capacities. However, Sprinkler Systems can quickly clog due to sediments or rains, and large Systems incur high capital investment costs.
Sprinkler Irrigation System Components
A sprinkler system or set-up arrangement typically consists of the following:
a) A pump unit that extracts water from the source and produces pressure for discharge into the pipe system. The pump must be able to supply water at the appropriate pressure so that the water is discharged at an optimum rate and volume suitable to the crop and soil type.
b) Principal pipes and secondary pipes which carry water from the pump to the laterals. In some cases, these pipelines are installed on the soil surface or buried below the land surface. In some cases, they are temporary and can be transferred from one field to another. The primary materials used for the pipe include asbestos cement, plastic, or aluminum alloy.
c) The laterals transport water from pipes to the sprinklers. They can be permanent, but mostly they are portable and made of aluminum alloy or plastic so that they can be moved quickly.
d) Sprinklers – which are the water-emitting devices that transform and disperse the water jet into tiny droplets. The arrangement of sprinklers is made so as to wet the soil surface in the desired area as evenly as possible.
What are the Advantages of Sprinkler irrigation systems?
Before installing any sprinkler Irrigation system in your crop or garden, you should first understand the benefits that you will gain out of it. You can create an optimum solution by going with what suits your space and what you want to achieve. Here are some of the significant advantages of installing this system on your farm.
Excludes water conveyance channels, thereby reducing conveyance or in-transit loss.
Suitable for all types of soil except for heavy clay.
Saves up to 30% – 50 % of the water supply.
Suitable for irrigation where the plant population per unit stretch is remarkably high.
It helps to boost production.
Overcomes soil compaction.
The system is easy to use because of its mobility
Suitable for different land types and areas.
Soluble fertilizers and chemicals can be used.
Provides frost protection
Helps in the modification of microclimate.
Decreases labor cost.
What about the Sprinkler System Disadvantages?
The major Sprinkler System downside is that it’s usually affected by climatic conditions, water sources, and expense. Even mild breeze can severely decrease the effectiveness of Sprinkler Systems by altering the distribution pattern of the water droplets.
Furthermore, when operating at high temperatures, water can evaporate at a fast rate degrading the effectiveness of the irrigation. Although Sprinkler Irrigation can benefit farmers and ensure water resources are used more efficiently, this technology depends on a clean source of water and therefore may not be suited to areas where rainfall and groundwater sources are limited.
The installation costs for Sprinkler Systems are also higher as compared to gravity-fed irrigation systems. In fact, a large labor force is needed to move pipes and sprinklers in a temporary arrangement. In some places, suitable labor may not be available and might also be high priced.
Mechanized Sprinkler Irrigation Systems have comparatively high energy demand, and thus this technology may not suitable for areas with limited or fluctuating power supply.