Measured irrigation is a drip irrigation scheduling technique.

For conventional irrigation systems, the volume of water delivered by a dripper during the irrigation event depends upon the flow rate. But for measured irrigation the volume of water delivered by a dripper during the irrigation event is independent of the flow rate.

An irrigation system that is independent of the flow rate is a potential threat to multinational irrigation companies that have billions of dollars invested in pressurised irrigation technology. It is not surprising therefore that no irrigation company worldwide has so far shown any interest in measured irrigation. If you are interested in measured irrigation you are unlikely to receive any encouragement or support from the irrigation industry.

  • Measured irrigation allows you to decide how much water will be delivered to each plant in your garden. Hence you know in advance the total volume of water that will be used during the irrigation event.

  • A 20 watt solar panel provides enough power to irrigate 200 sqm at 10 litres per sqm.

  • Measured irrigation can be completely automatic with the irrigation frequency directly proportional to the net evaporation rate (evaporation minus rainfall).

  • Measured irrigation is usually gravity feed and can be automated without access to mains water or mains power, and so there are no ongoing costs for mains water or electricity.

  • Measured irrigation is well suited to smallholders in poorer countries. At almost no cost, a smallholder can upgrade gravity feed drip irrigation to measured irrigation using a bucket and a steel pipe.

  • Measured irrigation scheduling uses up to 50% less water than programmed irrigation scheduling.

  • You can upgrade a gravity feed drip irrigation system to fully automated measured irrigation using the DIY Solar Drip Irrigation Kit.

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Definition of measured irrigation

Measured irrigation is a drip irrigation scheduling method that implements two fundamental principles:

  1. Variations in the application rate for each dripper throughout the year are controlled by the prevailing net evaporation (evaporation minus rainfall).

  2. The volume of water emitted by each dripper during an irrigation event is controlled directly without the need to control the flow rate or the duration of the irrigation event.


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