How long you should run drip irrigation system, and for how often ? News added under Drip Irrigation Systems category as on 31-Oct-2012
This is dependent on many factors including plant water use, net application rate, and the management allowable depletion. The simplest way to decide is to use The Water Balance Method which assumes that the crop root zone is a water reservoir, similar to a bank account: As the crop uses water through the process of evapotranspiration (ET), water is withdrawn from the account. This water can then be replaced by rainfall or irrigation deposits. A running balance keeps track of the theoretical water level in the water reservoir, and actual field monitoring verifies the theoretical balance before final irrigation decisions are made.
At a minimum, two things must be known to successfully schedule irrigations using The Water Balance Method:
Sample Problem: If crop water use is 0.25" per day, and the net application rate of the irrigation system is 0.10" per hour, how long should the system operate per day to replace daily crop water use?
Sample Solution: Run Time (hrs) = Crop Water Use (inches) / System Net Application Rate (inches per hour)
Although, there are numerous management strategies that alter this simplistic example.