Measured Irrigation

A major advance in drip irrigation

An adjustable control dripper controls the water usage rate for the Terracotta Irrigation Controller

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In ground installation of the Large Terracotta Irrigation Controller for Latching Solenoids

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Bernie Omodei demonstrates measured irrigation at Sophie's Patch Open Day 2016

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An adjustable control dripper controls the water usage rate for the Terracotta Irrigation Controller

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What is measured irrigation?

Measured irrigation is an irrigation scheduling technique. 

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

  • Measured irrigation can be completely automatic with the irrigation frequency and water usage 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. 

  • You can upgrade any irrigation system (drip or sprinkler, pressurised or gravity feed, pressure compensating drippers or non pressure compensating drippers)) to a fully automated measured irrigation system using the Unpowered Measured Irrigation Controlle or the Terracotta Irrigation Controller.

  • You can upgrade a gravity feed drip irrigation system with a farm pond to a fully automated measured irrigation using the DIY Solar Drip Irrigation Kit. Water is pumped automatically from the farm pond to a header tank.

  • Measured irrigation is simple and low tech and hence there are fewer things to go wrong – ideal for smallholders with limited access to technical and maintenance support.

Definition of measured irrigation

Measured irrigation is an irrigation scheduling method that satisfies the following two conditions:

Variations in the water usage throughout the year are controlled by the prevailing net evaporation rate (evaporation minus rainfall).

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

Unpowered MI Training Manual for Smallholders  

has detailed instructions for upgrading any drip irrigation system to unpowered measured irrigation. 

DIY Solar MI Training Manual for Smallholders 

has detailed instructions for upgrading gravity feed drip irrigation to solar-powered measured irrigation. Water is pumped automatically from a farm pond to a header tank and all your plants are watered automatically from the header tank.

Evapotranspiration and Measured Irrigation: Report for Smart Approved Watermark demonstrates a 90% correlation between measured irrigation discharge volumes and the prevailing evapotranspiration minus rainfall.

DIY unpowered unifrom drip irrigation on sloping ground demonstrates how drip irrigation on sloping land from a header tank can use NPC (non pressure compensated) drippers without compromising dripper uniformity throughout the irrigation application. Link to webpage

In September 2019, the Unpowered Measured Irrigation Controller was accepted by the Expert Panel for the
Smart Approved WaterMark.

measured irrigation slideshow

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