Irrigation and water conservation: 8 ways to make a difference

1. Repair leaks in the irrigation system.
If you have a water meter installed, the irrigation system can be checked for leaks by switching off the system and monitoring the meter to see if it is still running.
2. Select a more effective irrigation system if possible.
Use a drip system instead of a sprinkler system can save up to 20% of total water use.
3. Improve sprinkler irrigation efficiency.
To achieve peak performance, the irrigation system must be properly designed in the first place. Replace old nozzles (checked by using drillbits) and run the system at the designed operating pressure.
Irrigation Water Conservation / Timing is Everything
4. Find your maximum irrigation set time and only apply as much water as your soil can hold.
Soils can only hold a limited amount of water before the water drains below the root zone or will runoff the saturated soil surface.
5. Know your crop’s water demands.
It is possible to determine how much water your crop is using by monitoring the evapotranspiration (ET) and applying a crop coefficient (Kc).
Knowing how much water the crop has used can determine the amount of water removed from the soil. The next irrigation should then only be long enough to replace that amount of moisture.
Irrigation Water Conservation / Water, Water Everywhere…
6. Use a soil moisture monitoring device or climate information to determine when to irrigate.
Often when the surface of the soil is dry there are still water reserves lower in the root zone that the crop can draw upon. By monitoring soil moisture within the root zone it may be possible to postpone irrigation by a few days.
7. Adjust operating parameters under windy conditions.
When operating gun systems under windy conditions, lower the trajectory level and/or narrow the spacing to achieve the best uniformity possible.
Irrigation Water Conservation / Peak Performance
8. Refrain from irrigating during hot windy periods of the day if possible.
During the peak of the irrigation season, it may not be possible to wait to irrigate due to the logistics of getting around the entire farm.
However, during the early and late part of the irrigation season there may be more flexibility in planning irrigation times. Studies shown that water savings can be realized during the early and late part of the irrigation season, May and June, and also in September.