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1.

INTRODUCATION
1.1. GENERRAL
Ethiopia is the third most populous in Africa and is rated the poorest in the world and
ranked last out of 208 countries, with per capital gross national income of USD 90 in
2003 (World Bank. 2004). Even though it is mostly based on rain fed smallholder system,
and livestock rearing agriculture contribute 50 % of GDP and employing 85 % of the
population. With the advent of high population growth in recent years, deforestation,
ever- decreasing household production, decreasing grazing land, weakened draught
animals, scarcity of manure exert further pressure on the existing but dwindling natural
resources under worsening climatic conditioning. In response to this situation, the
country has developed a rural development policy and a comprehensive food security
strategy that targets the chronically food insecure segment of the population especially in
highly vulnerable areas.

1.2 Natural resource base in Ethiopia


Ethiopia topography can be broadly grouped into uplifted highlands, tapering into
peripheral lowland that also includes the Rift Valley. Most of the country consists of high
plateaus and mountain ranges with precipitous edges dissected by numerous streams in
the center, and rolling plains all along the periphery (Mati, 2004). The lowlands are
relatively hot, with annual rainfall varying between less than 200 to 800 mm, and average
temperatures of 250C .The climate in the highlands above 1800 m is mild and annual
rainfall ranges from 800 to 2200 mm, with a mean annual temperatures of 15 0c. The
highlands above 1500 m altitude constitute 43 percent of the country and accommodate

88 percent of the human population, over 65 percent of the livestock comprise 90 percent
of the cultivated lands and nearly 100 percent of the industrial forests cover (BekeleTesemma 2000). The dry lands occupy about 70 percent of the total landmass and 45
percent of the arable land they are characterized by a high fragile natural resource base,
soils are often coarse textured, sandy, and inherently low in organic matter and waterholding capacity making them easily susceptible to both wind and water erosion. In this
area crops can suffer from moisture stress and draught even during normal rainfall
seasons. Farm productivity has declined substantially and farmers find themselves sliding
into poverty (Georgis, 1999). The different altitudes and ranges of precipitation give
Ethiopia six agro-climates having distinctly agriculture potential.
I. Arid- 42.3 million ha used for pastoral grazing
II. Semi- arid 2.9 million ha, used for grazing and cultivation
III. Dry sub- humid -19 million ha, used for cultivation of annual crops
IV. Moist- 24.5 million ha, used for annual crops
V. Semi-humid-16.5 million ha, annual/perennial crops
VI. Per-humid-0.7 million ha, used for perennial crops
The agricultural potential of Ethiopia is largely unexploited with less than 40 percent of
the arable land currently under cultivation. The twelve river basins in Ethiopia have an
annual runoff 122 billion m3 of water. There is also an estimated 2.6 billion m 3 of ground
water potential (MoWR, 2002). This amounts to an estimated 2,620m3 of water pre
person pre year in 1990 for a population of 47 million. By 2005, this reduced to 1707m 3
due to population growth to about 73 million and the per capita availability continues to
fall. Ethiopia will become a physically water scarce country by the year 2020.

Furthermore, due to lack of water storage capacity and large spatial and temporal
Variations in rainfall, there is not enough water for most farmers to produce more than
one crop pre years.

1.3. Irrigation potential in Ethiopia


Irrigation is an attempt by man to locally alter the hydrological cycle and promote
agricultural productivity. According to FAO (1995), irrigation is defined as the artificial
application of water to the crop for the purpose of food and fiber production overcoming
deficiencies in rainfall and help in creating stabilized agriculture especially in Arid and
Semi-Arid areas. Increasing food demand can be met in one or a combination of three
ways increasing agricultural yield, increasing the area of arable land, increasing cropping
intensity (number of crops per year). Expansion of the arable land is a final option
especially in view of the marginal and vulnerable characteristic of large part of the
countrys land. Increasing yields in both rains fed and irrigated agriculture and cropping
intensity in irrigated area through various methods and technologies are the most viable
options for achieving food security in Ethiopia. If the problem is failure of production as
a result of natural causes, such as dry-spells and droughts, providing irrigation can
stabilize agricultural production.
The challenge that Ethiopia faces in terms of food insecurity is associated with both
inadequate food production even during good rain years and natural failures due to erratic
rainfall. Therefore, increasing arable land or attempting to increase agricultural yield by,
for instance, growing higher yielding verities of crops offers limited scope to provide
food security in Ethiopia. The solution will be provided by a combination of these
factors, enhancing water availability for production and expansion of irrigation that can

lead to security by reducing variation in harvest, as well as intensification of cropping by


producing more than one crop pre year. This should be combined with improving storage
and soil water-retention capacity to increase plant water availability, and use of rainwater
to overcome erratic rain fall especially in the relatively higher rainfall areas of highland
Ethiopia.
The benefit of large-scale irrigation schemes in developing country like ours has long
been questioned and there is an increasing tendency to promote small-scale irrigation.
But there is mach variation between countries and agencies in defining small-scale (what
is small India regarded as large in Africa). Largely irrigation system can be classified
according to the size, source of water, management style, degree of water control; landscape niche or type of technology and some include criteria like number of farmers, cost
of scheme or revenue generated. MoWR (2002), classifies irrigation management scheme
in Ethiopia as small, small to medium, medium and large scale management based on the
area and management strategy.

Small scale irrigation is built by farmers on their

initiative, and with the government technical and material support. It is managed in their
own water users association and the irrigated area is in the order of 50 to 100 ha. Smallto-medium scale management, the government constructs the communal schemes with
farmers participation. The area cultivated here extends from 20 to 200 ha. Modern
communal schemes are generally based on diversion of streams and rivers. It may involve
micro-dams for storage. Beneficiaries usually operate and maintain the infrastructure.
Medium scale:- the development of this scheme is pioneered by private estates.
According to FAO (1995), schemes between 200 and 3000 ha of land are categorized as

Medium scale. Large scale irrigation is a scheme having a command area of more than
3000 ha and it is a scheme being operated by public enterprises
The estimates of the irrigation potential of Ethiopia very from one source to the other,
this is due to lack of standard or agreed criteria for estimating irrigation potential in the
country. The earlier reports, for example the World Bank (1973) as cited in Rahmato
(1999) showed the irrigation potential at a lowest of 1.0 and 1.5 million hectares, and
Tilahun and Poulos (2004) indicated 4.3 million hectares. Table1 provides the distribution
according to the latter. Similarly, there is no consistent inventory with regard to the
developed irrigation of the country. In 1990, BCEOM (1998) estimated a total of 161,000
ha of irrigated agriculture for the country as whole, of which 64,000ha was in small-scale
schemes, 97,000 ha in medium-and large scale schemes, and approximately 38,000 ha
was under implementation, and Tilahun and poulos (2004) reported that the traditional
irrigation scheme alone cover 138,339 ha and that 48, 074 ha are under modern smallscale irrigation, 61,057 ha under modern large and medium-scale schemes, with the
aggregated sum of irrigated agriculture about 247,470 ha. From the latter, it can be seen
that small-scale irrigation contributes 75 % of the irrigation 56 % from traditional and 19
% from modern small-scale irrigation. Given the current household irrigation, expansion
through traditional schemes and water harvesting it is assumed that the total sum of actual
irrigation development could be over 250,000.

1.3.1. Micro Irrigation


Micro irrigation is not understood in the same sense in all regions of Ethiopia. Sometimes
the term is used for small-size schemes of less than 1 hector developed at household
level, such as rain water harvesting schemes, while others consider micro irrigation in

relation to the technology and refer to drip irrigation schemes in this document, micro
irrigation refer to individualized small-scale technologies for lifting, conveying and
applying irrigation water. It therefore includes treadle and small power pumps to lift
water, and a variety of irrigation application technologies such as small bucket and family
drip system, and small sprinkler systems. This category is some times referred to as
Affordable Micro Irrigation Technology, AMIT to distinguish it from commercially
available high-tech irrigation application technologys such as pressurized drip systems.
The use of micro irrigation, for example under current efforts of water harvesting in
Ethiopia (where the harvested volume of water is small) is appropriate from the point of
view of conserving water. It is appropriate and timely to consider introducing the wide
range of technologies developed elsewhere, such as in India and Kenya, so farmers can
make their own selection. There are also local manufactures, such as Selam and Wolita
Rural Development Center, Who are trying to manufacture and promote Treadle pumps
and small power pumps, could provide an opportunity to lift water stored from harvested
rain in underground tanks or shallow ground water wells.

1.3.2. Rainwater harvesting


Water harvesting in its broadest sense is defined as the collection of run off for its
productive use. Runoff may be harvested from roofs and ground surface, as well as from
intermittent ephemeral watercourse A wide variety of water harvesting techniques for
many different applications is known. RWH systems are generally categorized in to two:
in-situ water conservation practices, small basins, pits, ridges: and (Ex-situ) run off
based system (catchments and/or storage) the storage system is usually used in
supplemental irrigation. The in-situ systems, which enhance soil infiltration, have

dominated over storage schemes in Ethiopia. Despite the additional costs involved in
storage schemes, the recent trend show there is a relatively high degree of adoption.
Surface runoff from small catchments and roadside ditches is collected and stored in farm
ponds holding an average of about 60m3 of water. This storage is not significant in
volume but sufficient for supplementary irrigation of vegetables. The use of these
systems can be extended with efficient water application methods, such as low-pressuredrip irrigation methods hence; rainwater harvesting is a useful means to overcome the
recurrent erratic rainfall and dry spell condition, which often result in crop failures.

Ethiopia indeed has significant irrigation potential assessed both from available land and
water resource potential, irrespective of the lack of accurate estimates of potentially
irrigable land and developed area under irrigation. The country has not achieved
sufficient irrigated agriculture to overcome the problems of food insecurity and extreme
rural poverty, as well as to create economic dynamism in the country.

Irrigation is thus a valuable insurance, several crops such as tomatoes and leafy
vegetables grow far better in the dry season when they dont suffer attacks of mildew or
pests prevalent in the wet season, and other crops require the lower temperatures of the
dry season. There is also a major advantage in combining the dry season and wet season
cultivation. The latter is used for the staple crops but the area a family can cultivate is
often limited by the labour required during the bottlenecks such as weeding. Dry season
cultivation; make efficient use of labour at a less busy time of the year. Any farmer
managed irrigation system is for substance cultivation and improves the diet by providing

a supply of fresh vegetable through out the year, but it is also important as a source of
high- value crops, providing income when access to road and market is possible. The
importance of proper irrigation practices for optimum crop production needs no
emphasis. Water should be applied to the crop in the correct amount at the proper time to
obtain optimum yield, this not only increase efficiency use of the scarce water but also
prevent west.

1.4. Need for Irrigation Water Management Manual


In the light of what has been said in the preceding paragraph, it was imperative that an
irrigation water management manual be prepared to provide guidelines to the growers
about how best to manage irrigation water to maintain optimum crop production.

1.5. Objectives and Scope of the Manual


The objective of the manual is to provide practical guidance who are involved in irrigated
agriculture or rehabilitate a given command area for better irrigation. The manual is
especially prepared for those who manage irrigation water at field level and to answer
basic questions often asked to optimize water use namely (a) when to irrigate, (b) how
much water to apply, (c) how to irrigate (d) What organizational structure to follow (e)
how to develop or select land for irrigation and select best irrigation methods which are
true to the environment. The manual contains methods and techniques used in estimating
and determining various parameters that are required for optimizing production per unit
of land and water used

Table 1 Existing irrigation scheme by Region (Tilahun and Paulos, 2004)


Current Irrigation Activates
S.No

Region

Irrigable

Traditional
Modern Irrigation
Small
Medium

potential

&large
31,981

1
2
3
4
5
6

Oromia
Amhara
SNNP
Tigray
Afar
Ben
Shangul

1,35,000
500,000
700,000
300,000
163,554
121,177

56,807
64,035
2,000
2,607
2,440
400

17,690
5,752
11,577
10,000
200

Gumz
Gambell

600,000

46

70

Somali

500,000

8,200

1,800

2,000

9
10
11

Hareri
DireDawa
Addis Ababa

19,200
2,000
526

812
640
352

125
860
-

Total

4,256,457

138,339

48,074

61,057

6,076
21,000
-

2.0. Basic data needs for optimum water use for irrigation

Some basic data are required for the estimation of crop water requirements, development
of proper irrigation schedules and selection of suitable irrigation method/ methods. This
includes information on various aspects of climate, soils, water and crops.

2.1. Climatic variable


2.1.1. Precipitation
Information on daily, monthly and annual precipitation is essential as it directly affects
crop water requirements and irrigation scheduling. The precipitation is measured once in

24 hours at the same time every day as far as possible. Manual or automatic rain gauges
are used for measurement of daily rainfall. Mean monthly and mean annual rainfall is
computed from daily rainfall data and is reported as mm per day, month, year

2.1.2. Temperature
Crop water requirements are closely related to air temperature. As temperature rises, crop
water requirements increase and vice-versa. Similarly, irrigation needs to be applied more
frequently in hot areas and less frequently in cooler areas. Daily maximum and minimum
temperature is recorded in a shelter made of a special wooden screen. The screen is well
ventilated with free movement of air both sideways and vertically. The height of the
screen is 1.5 to 2.0 m from the ground surface. Lower screen height is also used for the
study of night frost just above the ground level. The air temperature is measured at the
same fixed time daily and is expresses in degrees celsius (c). The daily temperature is
measured using maximum and minimum thermometers or by using self- recording
thermo hydrograph. Mean daily and mean monthly temperature is computed from daily
maximum and minimum temperature.

2.1.3. Sunshine
The sunshine also influences crop water requirements by controlling the opening and
closing of stomatas, which influence transpiration. The stomatas remain open during the
day causing plants to transpire and closed during the night and transpiration is cut-off.
The sunshine is measured with the help of a sunshine recorder, which measures daily
hours of bright sunshine and is expressed as hours/day. From the daily sunshine hours,
mean monthly sunshine hours are computed.

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2.1.4. Solar Radiation


The solar radiation also has a direct influence on crop water requirements. The daily solar
radiation is measured by instruments called Bimetallic Actinography or Bellani
pyranometer or Thermo-Electric solarimeter, and is expressed as calories /cm 2 /day. Mean
monthly solar radiation is computed from daily solar radiation data.

2.1.5. Wind Velocity


The wind velocity directly affects plant water need and choice of irrigation method. The
crop water requirement increases as wind velocity increases and vice-versa. The wind
velocity is measured with the help of anemometer. It can be measured at various heights
but for the calculation of crop water requirements, the wind velocity is measured at 2 m
from the ground level. However, with pan evaporation measurements, an additional
anemometer is fixed at 0.5 m height to measure wind velocity near the evaporating
surface. The recording anemometers can also record the direction of the wind in addition
to wind velocity. The wind is recorded for 24 hours. Day and night wind run should be
recorded separately. The reading is taken at the same time every day in m/s or km/hr or
km/day.

2.1.6. Relative humidity


Plant water needs are lower in humid areas compared to arid or semi arid areas. The air
humidity can be expressed in various ways. Relative humidity is the actual amount of
water vapour of the air relative to the amount of water vapour which the air would hold
when saturated at the same temperature expressed as percentage. The most common
instruments used in the field are dry and wet bulb thermometers, the mercury- in steel

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recording psychrometer and hair hydrograph. The latter gives a direct measure of relative
humidity. Mean monthly air humidity is computed from daily measurements.

2.1.7. Pan Evaporation


It is the most simple and direct method of measurement of crop water requirements
provided the pan is installed at a suitable location, very closely representing the
conditions of the surrounding. Two types of pans are most commonly used for measuring
pan evaporation. These are (1) USA class A pan (2) sunken (or Colorado) pan. Reading
will be once in 24 hours at exactly same time every day. The pan evaporation is expressed
in mm/day. Mean monthly evaporation can be calculated from daily data.

2.1.8. Agro- meteorological data collection and processing.


The accuracy of crop water requirements estimation depends largely on the accuracy of
the data recorded and the number of years for which data is available. The greater the
number of years for which data is available, the more accurate crop water requirement
estimation will be. A minimum of 10-15 years data should be available for reasonably
reliable estimation of crop water requirements. The most important point is to record the
data daily at nearly the same time as far as possible. The recommended timings of data
recording are early morning (08.00 to 09.00 hours, depending on sunrise) and afternoon
(14.00 to 15.00 hours). Whatever timing any station selects, it must be adhered to.

2.2. Soil
2.2.1. Soil Texture
The texture of the soil is determined by the size and distribution of soil particles, i.e. the
proportion of coarse, medium and fine particles, which are termed, and sand, silt and

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clay, respectively. Various combinations of these fractions form soils of different textures.
Most common soil texture classes are sandy, sandy loam, silt loam, clay loam, silty clay
loam, sandy clay, silty clay and clay. The textural class of a soil can be more accurately
determined through particle size analysis carried out in a laboratory. According to USDA
(United states Department of Agriculture) classification, sand ranges between 2.0 to 0.5
mm, silt between 0.05 to 0.002 mm and clay less than 0.002 mm. The laboratory results
of particle size analysis of a given soil can be used to determine textural class with the
help of the soil texture triangle shown in figure 1. For example, if the laboratory analysis
shows that the soil has 36% clay, 22% silt and 42% sand, then as indicated at the triangle,
the soil textural class will be clay loam .The knowledge of soil texture is important
because it is closely related to the capacity of the soil to hold available soil moisture, the
rate at which water will be released for plant use and the rate at which water will move
into the soil during and after irrigation or rainfall. It also determines, to a great extent,
depth and frequency of irrigation.

2.2.2. Field Capacity


The amount of water retained after drainage of saturated soil is called field capacity (FC).
At field capacity, water is held in the form of wedges between soil particles. A relatively
thick film of water surrounds each soil particle. It is from these wedges that plants obtain
most of the water to perform normal growth functions. The moisture held in the soil
against gravity may be termed as moisture tension. The tension values may be expressed
in equivalent atmosphere or height of water column in centimeters. One atmosphere is
approximately equal to a suction or negative pressure of 1 kg/cm2 or a water column of
100 cm.

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Figure 1 Soil Textural Triangle


At field capacity, a loam or clay soil retains moisture under a tension of about 1/3
atmosphere or a water column height of 300 cm, whereas tension in sandy soils at FC
may be as low as 1/10 of atmosphere or a water column of 100cm.The field capacity of a
soil depends primarily on soil texture or the size of soil particles. A fine textured soil will
retain more water at field capacity than a coarse textured soil.

Most of the soils reach

field capacity 2 to 3 days after irrigation or a rain. This time period is increased if there
are less permeable layers of soil underneath which hinder the downward movement of
water or with a very fine textured soil such as clay. The coarse sand may reach field
capacity in less than 2 days. To measure FC, select a 2.5 m 2 representative site in the
field where water table is not within 2 m of the soil layer of which FC is to be measured.
Erect a levee around the selected area and pond water until the desired layer is fully
saturated. Spread a thick layer of straw (about 40 to 50 cm thick) or a polythene sheet to
prevent surface evaporation. Let the soil drain and then start taking soil sample for
moisture estimation with a screw auger at 24 hours intervals till the moisture content
values of the two successive samplings are nearly equal. This may take 2-3 days

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depending on soil. The lowest value represents field capacity. For moisture estimation,
put a weighed soil sample in an oven and leave it overnight at 105 0 c., cool the sample
and weigh it again. The loss in soil weight is due to loss of water in the sample. This
moisture content represents FC. The moisture content can be determined using the
following equation.
Moisture content on weight basis (%) =
= ((Wt. of wet soil Wt. of dry soil)/ Wt. of dry soil)) *100 -------------------equation 1
The FC is also can be measured using pressure plate apparatus. For this, put 25 gm of the
saturated soil sample in the pressure plate and apply 1/10 atmosphere pressure for sandy
and 1/3 atmosphere for clay soil. Keep the sample in the pressure plate for 12-24 hours
until the equilibrium is reached. The moisture left in the soil sample approximately
represents FC. The moisture can be determined using oven method as explained above.

2.2.3. Permanent Wilting Point


The removal of water from the soil by plant roots causes the water film surrounding the
soil particles to become thinner and thinner and most of the water on the wedges between
soil particles to disappear. Finally, a condition is reached when the water is held so tightly
by the soil particles roots cannot remove it at a sufficiently rapid rate to prevent the
leaves from wilting. When this condition is reached, the soil is said to be at permanent
wilting point (PWP). The soil moisture tension range at PWP is about 14 to 15
atmospheres or equal to suction or a negative pressure of water column 1.5x10 6 cm high
or 15 bars. At this level of soil moisture, the removal of only a small amount of water,
about half to one percent decrease in soil moisture content, will greatly increase the
negative pressure to 30 or more atmospheres, with ultimate death of most plants. The

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PWP is defined as narrow range of soil moisture within which wilting takes place. The
PWP covers a range of about one percent of soil moisture content in fine textured soils
and about half percent on coarse textured soils. Like FC, PWP is also influenced by soil
texture or particle size; the finer textured soils have higher moisture content at PWP than
the soils of coarser texture. The wilting or dropping of leaves in the mid-afternoon or
when the temperature is highest is a sign that soil moisture has been reduced close to the
PWP. If this wilting condition is still noticeable the following morning, this means for
most soils that PWP has been reached in that part of the soil, which contains the major
portion of root system. Under these conditions, the normal activities of the plants are
limited. Water must, therefore, be applied before this condition is reached to avoid
damage to plants due to severe soil moisture stress. To determine PWP, fill 5 cans with
about 500 gm of the air-dry soil for which PWP is to be measured. Each canal has a hole
at the bottom for drainage of excess water. Saw 3 4 sunflower seeds of a dwarf variety
in each can and let them germinate. After emergence, leave only two healthy plants. Pass
these plants through two holes made in the lid and place the lid on the can. Grow these
plants for about six weeks and water them as necessary. At this point insert a glass tube in
the soil for aeration and plug the two holes in the lid with cotton wool. Also close the
drainage holes at the bottom of each can. Irrigate the plants for the last time and seal the
soil completely to prevent any evaporation. Allow the plants to wilt permanently. Now
remove the lids, and cut the plants. Take duplicate soil samples and estimate moisture
using oven method and equation 1, as explained earlier. This moisture will represent
PWP. The permanent wilting point is also determined using a pressure membrane
apparatus. Weigh 25 gm of air dry soil passed through 2 mm sieve. Place the membrane

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in the apparatus and soil retaining rings on it. Transfer all the soil into the rings. Saturate
the soil overnight by pouring water on the membrane. Remove excess water and close the
apparatus. Apply air pressure increasing to 15 atmospheres in two to three stages in two
hours. Keep the samples in the apparatus to attain equilibrium. This may take 18-24
hours. Then estimate moisture in the samples using oven and equation 1. This represents
PWP. Almost all soils attain PWP at 15 atmospheres tension.

2.2.4. Available Soil Moisture


The water held in the soil above PWP throughout the entire range of moisture content up
to field capacity can be used by the plants and is considered available water (AW).
However, as a rule of thumb 2/3 of the total available water is considered readily
available. When readily available moisture is depleted due to use by plants, the remaining
1/3 available water will still be available. However it may not be available at a rate rapid
enough to meet evapotranspiration demand of some crops under conditions of high
evaporative demand such as actively growing plants under very hot, arid and windy
climate.

Available water % = FC- PWP

The available soil moisture is related to soil texture. Medium and fine textured soils have
much higher available moisture than coarse textured soils. The soil texture
also influences soil moisture release i.e. sandy soils release soil moisture
more rapidly compared to loamy and clay

Table 2 Available water holding capacities for various soil texture (FAO, 1986)
Texture

Available water holding capacities

Coarse sands and gravel

cm of water / meter of soil


2 to 6
17

Sands
Sands loams
Fine Sands loams
Loams and silt loams
Clay loams and silty clay loams
Sands clays and clays

6 to 12
11 to 15
14 to 18
17 to 23
14 to 21
13 to 18

2.2.5. Bulk Density


It is the ratio of bulk weight of the soil to its bulk volume. It is also called volume weight.
Core sampling tubes or rings are available to measure soil density. For this
purpose, drive the core sampler or ring into the soil layer for which density
is to be measured. Then take out the core sampler or the ring along with the
soil core carefully. With the help of a knife, scrape the excess soil from the
bottom as well as the top of the core sampler or the ring, making sure that
the core sampler or the ring is properly filled with the soil core. Dry the soil
core in an oven over night at 105c. Cool the sample and weigh. Measure
the volume of the core sampler or the ring used. The bulk density is
expressed as follows:
Bulk density (Bd) (gm/cm 3) =
= Oven dry weight of the soil (gm)/ Volume of the soil (cm3)------------equation 2
Multiply soil moisture content on weight basis by the bulk density to convert available
water from weight basis to volume basis.
Sample Calculation
The soil moisture content of a soil before irrigation is 30% on weight basis. The field
capacity (FC) and permanent wilting point (PWP) of the soil is 40% and 20%
respectively. The bulk density (Bd) of the soil is 1.2 gm/cc and rooting depth 80 cm. Find
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out the total available water holding capacity of the soil and available water depletion in
the root zone before irrigation
Total available water holding Capacity of the soil (mm/m) = (FC-PWP) x Bd X 10
= (40- 20) * 1.2 * 10 =240
Total available water in the root zone (mm)

= (240 * 80)/100 = 192

Available water depleted in the root zone (mm)

= (40-30) * 1.2 * 10 =120

Available water depletion before irrigation (%)

= (120/192) *100 = 63%

2.2.6. Infiltration Rates


It is the rate of entry of water in to the soil when flooded (basin or boarder) or under
sprinkler or drip irrigation. Infiltration takes place most rapidly when water is first
applied to the dry soil. As irrigation continues, the topsoil becomes saturated and swelling
of clay causes the rate of infiltration to gradually decrease to a point where it becomes
nearly constant. The soil texture is a good index to infiltration rates of different soils.
Coarse textured soils have higher infiltration rates than fine textured soils. The infiltration
rate decreases as the clay and silt content of the soil increases. A general equation for
infiltration rate (I) is I = aTn + b -----------------------------------equation 3
Where a, b and n are constants and T is elapsed time.
The knowledge of soil infiltration rates helps in determining proper frequency and depth
of irrigation. The infiltration rates of major soil types should be measured locally using
double ring or basin method. The double ring method of measuring soil infiltration rate
includes two metallic concentric rings that are driven into the soil up to 5 cm using a
level wooden plank and a hammer. A graduated scale reading in Centimeters or
millimeters is fixed on the inside of the inner ring. A Polythene sheet is then used to line

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the sides and bottom of the inner cylinder so that during filling of cylinders no infiltration
should takes place until the polythene sheet is removed. The inner and outer rings are
then filled with water to the same height (generally 10-15 cm, representing depth of
irrigation). The polyethylene sheet is then quickly removed and initial reading of water
level in the inner ring recorded. Subsequent readings of drop of water level in the inner
ring should be taken at regular intervals until infiltration rate become constant. Water in
the inner as will as in the outer ring needs to be replenished occasionally so that water
head in two cylinders ranges 10-15 cm. The infiltration rate data are then plotted with the
intake rate in cm/hr versus time in minutes on the ordinary graph paper. The final
infiltration rate is the flat part of the curve when infiltration rate has become constant.
This is also called basic infiltration rate (see figure 2 and table 3).
Sample calculation
Suppose initial water head in the inner cylinder is 15cm. After 60 seconds, it drops to
14.7 cm and after 2 minutes further drops to 14.5 cm.
Hence initial infiltration rate = (15.0-14.7)/60 * 60 * 60 = 18cm/hr
Infiltration rate after 2 minutes = (14.7 14.5)/60 *60 * 60 = 12 cm /hr
Table 3 The range of infiltration of soils of different textures (FAO, 1986)
High
Medium High
Medium Low
Low

Final Infiltration rate cm/hr


3.0 to 8.0+
1.5 to 3.0
0.5 to 1.5
0.2 to 0.5

Probable soil texture


Sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Loam, silt loam
Clay, Loam clay, silty clay Loam,
Clay and silty clay

20

Figure3 Change of Infiltration rates over time for two soil types (FAO, 1984)

2.3. Crops
2.3.1. Type of crops
The crops need water for transpiration and evaporation to perform normal growth
functions. The rate of evapotranspiration depends on the type of crops. Some crops
transpire less while others more. The grass is taken as the standard crop for the reference
crop with which evapotranspiration rates of other crops are compared. For example,
during active growth period, crops like maize, eggplant, tomato, sugar beet and sunflower
transpire more than grass whereas cucumber, squash, radish etc. transpire less than grass.

2.3.2. Growing Season


The total growing season depends upon the type of crop, variety, planting and harvesting
dates and climate. Some crops need short duration from planting till harvest whereas
others need longer duration. It is, therefore, important to know the planting and

21

harvesting dates to determine total growing period. The range of growing periods of main
crops around the world are given in table 4
Table4 Indicative values of the total growing period (FAO, 1986)
Crop

Total growing period

Crop

Total

growing period

Alfalfa
Banana
Barley/Oats/wheat
Bean (green)
Bean (dry)
Cabbage
Carrot
Citrus
Cotton
Cucumber
Eggplant

(days)
100-365
300-365
120-150
75-90
95-110
120-140
100-150
240-365
180-195
105-130
130-140

Millet
Onion (green)
Onion(dry)
Peanut /Groundnut.
Pea
Pepper
potato
Radish
Rice
Sorghum
Soybean

(days)
105-140
70-95
150-210
130-140
90-100
120-210
105-145
35-45
90-150
120-130
135-150

Flax

150-220

Spinach

60-100

Grain/small
Lettuce
Lettuce
Maize (sweet)
Maize (grain)
Melon

150-165
150-170
75-140
80-110
125-180
120-160

Squash
Sugarbeet
Sugarcane
Sunflower
Tobacco
Tomato

95-120
160-230
270-365
125-130
130-160
135-180

2.3.3. Growth Stages


The rate of evapotranspiration depends on the stage of crop growth. At initial growth
stage, evapotranspiration is low. It increases as the crop develops, reaches peak during
flowering and fruit development and decrease toward maturity. Normally total growth
season is divided in to five growth stages namely initial stage (or establishment stage),
development stage (or vegetative), mid-season (or flowering) yield formation), lateseason (or ripening) and harvest. The initial stage: This is the period from sowing or
transplanting until the crop covers about 10% of the ground. The crop development stage:
It starts from the end of initial stage until full ground cover has been reached (ground
cover 70-80%). It does not mean, however, that the crop is at its maximum height. It is

22

also called vegetative stage. The mid-season stage: This period starts at the end of the
development stage and continues until fruit development is complete. It includes
flowering and fruit setting. The late season stage: This period covers from end midseason stage until the crop is ready for harvest, it includes ripening. The harvest stage: It
starts from the end of late season growth stage and lasts until the harvest is completed.
The length of various growth stages, to a large extent influences the seasonal crop water
requirements. It is vital to know the length of each growth stage. For accurate estimation
of crop water requirement, it is essential to generate this information under local
conditions otherwise table 5 can be employed.
Table 5 Approximate duration of growth stages for various crops in days (FAO, 1984)
Total

Initial stage

Crop

Mid

Development

stage

stage
Bean/green
Cabbage
Carrot
Cucumber
Eggplant
Lettuce
Maize, sweet
Melon
Onion/green
Onion/dry
Pepper
Potato

75
90
120
140
100
150
105
130
130
140
75
140
80
110
120
160
70
95
150
210
100
120
210
105

15
20
20
25
20
25
20
25
30
30
20
35
20
20
25
30
25
25
15
20
20
25
30
25

25
30
25
30
30
35
30
35
40
40
30
50
25
30
35
45
30
40
25
35
30
35
40
30

season

Late
seaso
n

25
30
60
65
30
70
40
50
40
45
15
45
25
50
40
65
10
20
70
110
35
40
110
30

stage
10
10
15
20
20
20
15
20
20
25
10
10
10
10
20
20
5
10
40
45
15
20
30
20

23

Radish
Soybean

145
35
40
135
150

30
5
10
20
20

35
10
10
30
30

50
15
15
60
70

30
5
5
25
30

60
100
95
120
160
230
135
180

20
20
20
25
25
45
30
35

20
30
30
35
35
65
40
45

15
40
30
35
60
80
40
70

5
10
15
25
40
40
25
30

Table 5 cont
Spinach
Squash
Sugarbeet
Tomato

2.3.4. Effective Root Zone


In general, the plants extract 40% of the total water requirements from the first quarter of
the root zone, 30%from the second quarter, 20% from the third quarter and only 10%
from the last quarter of the root zone area. The zone where major water extraction takes
place is known as the effective root zone that roughly makes upper 75% to 90% of the
total root zone. The worldwide range of rooting depth of various crops is shown in table
6. it is essential to generate this information under local conditions otherwise table 6 can
be employed

2.3.5. Crop factor


The crop factor, commonly known as crop coefficient or Kc, it varies from crop to crop
and growth stage to growth stages. The value of Kc is low at initial growth stage, reaches
maximum during midseason and decreases towards late-season growth stage. For
accurate estimation of crop water requirements, it is essential to know length of growing

24

season, the length of various growth stages and value of Kc for each growth stage of the
major crops should preferably be determined locally through observations. If such
information is not locally available, the data reported in table 7 can be used

2.3.6. Allowable soil moisture Depletion


The allowable soil moisture depletion is the limit to which the available soil moisture can
be allowed to deplete before next irrigation without adversely affecting the growth and
ultimately yield of a crop. This limit varies from crop to crop. Some crops require
irrigation when 30 to 50 of the available soil moisture are depleted (most fruits and
vegetables) while others can wait until 50to 75% of the available moisture is depleted,
see table 8.

Table 6 Rooting depth of mature irrigated crops grown in a deep permeable well- drained
soil (FAO, 1984).
Shallow rooted 0-0.6m
Broccoli (0.3-0.6)
Brussels sprouts (0.3-0.6
Cabbage (0.4-0.5)
Cauliflower (0.3-0.6)
Celery (0.3-0.5)
Lettuce (0.3-0.5)
Onions (0.3-0.5)
Pineapple (0.3-0.6)
Potatoes (0.4-0.6)
Raddish (0.3-0.6)
Spinach (0.3-0.5)
Strawberries (0.2-0.3)

Moderately deep rooted 0.5-1.2m


Bananas (0.5-0.9)
Barley (1.0-1.5)
Beans (0.5-0.7)
Beets, table (0.6-1.0)
Cantaloupes (0.9-1.5)
Carrots (0.5-0.1)
Citrus (1.2-1.5)
Clover (0.6-0.9)
Cucumber (0.7-1.2)
Eggplant (0.7-1.2)
Grain, small (0.9-1.5)
Grass, pasture (0.5-1.5)
Groundnuts (0.5-1.0)

Deep rooted 1.0-2.0m


Alfalfa (1.0-2.0)
Almonds (>1.5)
Asparagus (>1.5)
Barley, winter (1.0-1.5)
Castor beans (>1.5)
Cotton (1.0-1.7)
Dates (1.5-2.5)
Flax (1.0-1.5)
Fruit trees (1.0-2.0)
Grains, winter (1.5-2.0)
Grapes (1.0-2.0)
Maize (1.0-1.7)
Olives (1.2-1.7)
25

Palm trees (0.7-1.1)


Peas (0.6-1.0)
Peppers (0.5-1.0)
Soybeans (0.6-1.3)
Squash (0.5-1.0)
Sugar beets (0.7-1.2)
Tobacco (0.5-1.0)
Turnips (0.7-1.1)

Pumpkins (>1.5)
Sorghum(1.0-2.0)
Squash, winter (>1.5)
Sugarcane (1.2-2.0)
Sunflower(0.8-1.5)
Sweet potato, Yams (1.0-1.5)
Tomatoes (0.7-1.5)
Walnuts (>1.5)
Watermelons (1.0-1.5)
Wheat (1.0-1.5)

Table 7 Allowable root zone water depletion between irrigations for near maximum yield
(FAO, 1984)
Allowable available water Root zone depth normally
Beans, dry
Deciduous fruit
Potatoes
Sugar beet
Soybean
Vegetable crops

depletion %
50-70
50-70
25-50
30-60
50-60
25-50

irrigated in deep soils (cm)


60-90
120-180
60-90
90-120
60-90
60-120

Data taken from stegman, musick and stewart (1980)

2.4. Source of water and opportunities for irrigated agriculture


It is important to know the source of irrigation supply. It could be a river, a reservoir,
Lakes, groundwater boreholes, wells, springs and ponds of various kinds. If the source is
a river or a reservoir, or lake depending on the position of the irrigated area it could be a
network of canals required to convey water from the source to the irrigated area by
gravity or pump it to a location by gravity or pipes and hoses in pressurized irrigation. If
conveyance is in an open canal then it would involve water losses and an allowance will
have to be made for this during delivery. If on the other hand, the source of water is

26

groundwater, then a tube well can be installed within the irrigated area and water supply
can be obtained through pumping of water. Natural sources supply the largest part of the
water required by crop plants, particularly in humid climates. These sources are
inexpensive as no cost is involved in their exploitation and application to crop fields.
However, crop yields fluctuate significantly when crops are dependent entirely on
rainfall, due to unpredictable amount and uneven distribution throughout the cropgrowing period
2.4.1. Natural resources

Precipitation, atmospheric water other than precipitation, (such as dew, fog, cloud and
atmospheric humidity), ground water and floodwater are natural sources of water.
However, their contribution to crops varies depending on their amount and availability
throughout the season and their quality.
2.4.1.1. Precipitation
Precipitation is the most important part of natural sources of water for crop plants and
rain the largest part of it, snow also contributes significant portion in temperate regions.
In humid and sub-humid areas where rainfall is moderate to high crops are grown
depending mainly on rains and the water requirement of crops is fully met from this
source. However, in moisture deficit areas, when irrigation water is available part of the
water need of crop are met from supplemental irrigation.
2.4.1.2. Atmospheric water other than rain

27

Atmospheric water, which is consisting of dew, fog, cloud, and atmospheric humidity,
also serves a very minor contribution in supplying water for crop plants. Though their
contribution to water needs of crops is negligible, particularly in Ethiopian condition,
their role to make some water available to crop plants cannot be overlooked. These
sources of water are, particularly quite effective in reducing evaporation from soil surface
and transpiration by plants owing to reduction in atmospheric demands.
2.4.1.3. Ground Water
Ground water is the water found beneath the ground surface and considered as the second
main source of water for crop plants. When water table rises and comes near the crop
roots, crop plants utilize a considerable amount of ground water and that cuts down the
irrigation requirement of crops. However, deep-rooted can exploit the maximum and
benefit from deep water table.
2.4.1.4. Floodwater

Floodwater is generally, used for growing of crops during the main rainy season by
diverting seasonal floods to crop fields. After the flood recedes, crops are grown in the
field and give good yields. These is a common practice in drought-affected areas and
utilizing the seasonal flow of rivers by diverting them to cultivated fields and growing
low demanding and drought tolerant crops, which have significant values in improving
the house hold food security situation of the area.
2.4.2. Irrigation Water Sources

28

Irrigation supports successful crop growing and stabilizes crop yields. Irrigation is
required in most of the places having uncertainty and uneven distribution of rainfall,
particularly, in semi-arid and arid regions. Irrigation, however, involves high capital
investment for its exploitation and supply to crop fields. Irrigation water is obtained from
mainly from two sources; surface water and ground water.
2.4.2.1. Surface Water

In general, rain, melting snow, rivers, lakes, fill reservoirs, water tanks and ponds
constitute as the source of surface water. However, in the Ethiopian context, melting
snow is not considered as part of the main source of surface water. The surface water
provides the largest quantity of irrigation water. Dams are constructed across rivers and
water is diverted to agricultural fields through canals and distributes by gravity flow.
Streams are developed and the water is led to fields under gravity to irrigate crops. The
Supply of water from small streams often seasonal, while reservoir constructed in the
upper course of river store huge quantity of water that may be used as perennial sources.
Tanks, ponds and lakes store a limited quantity of water and provide irrigation water
mostly on seasonal basis. Reservoirs and lakes store water harvested from the catchment
areas during rainy season and supply water to fields through conveyance systems and
using water lifts or water pumps.

29

Figure3. Water source from flood water harvesting pond, small stream, river
2.4.2.2. Ground Water

Ground water is also and important source of irrigation water. Rain and melting snow are
the principal sources for recharging ground water. However, rain is considered as the
main source for recharging ground water on Ethiopian condition. Besides, seepage water
from canals, reservoirs and likes, rivers drainage and percolating floodwater recharge also
the ground water. Ground water is an ideal water source provided that there is an
adequate recharging potential and good quality.

30

Figure 4 Water pumped from ground water source

2.4.3. Irrigation System


Information on irrigation system is necessary because this will determine water loss
during application. The water application efficiency varies with different irrigation
systems. With surface irrigation system (basin, border or furrow), it may range between
50 to 70% whereas under drip and sprinkler irrigation, the application efficiency could
range between 70% and 95%. Mainly longer length furrow irrigation is practiced in the
Middle and Upper Awash area and Sugar state in the Awash basin.

2.4.4. Irrigation Water Quality


It is important to know chemical composition of irrigation water. This will not only help
in the selection of proper cropping pattern but will also determine leaching requirements
to maintain a favorable salt balance in the root zone to sustain irrigated agriculture on
long term basis and protect pumps and its accessory from damage Table 9 can be utilized
as guide line.

3.0 Factors affecting crop water requirements


The crop water requirements are influenced mainly by climate, type of crop and growth
stage of a crop. For instance, crops need more water on hot, sunny and windy climate
compared to cool, calm and humid climate. Crops like rice and sugarcane need more
water than wheat and sorghum and fully grown crops require more water than newly
planted crops or crops near maturity. This section discusses influence of climate, type of
crop and growth stages on crop water requirements.

31

3.1. Climate
The climate has a direct bearing on crop water requirements. The main climatic factors
that influence the crop water needs are temperature, sunshine, humidity and wind speed.
A crop grown in and semi- arid climate needs more water than the same crop grown
under cool and humid climatic conditions. Similarly, a crop needs more water in a sunny
day compared to a cloudy day. Evapotranspiration is less under humid conditions as
compared to that under dry conditions. Since water requirements of the same crop varies
under different climatic zone, it is useful to take a certain standard or a reference crop
and determine how much water this crop will need per day in different climatic zones

Table 8. Guidelines for interpretations of water quality for irrigation (Fao, 1985)
Potential Irrigation problem

Units

Degree of Restriction on Use


None
Slight
to Severe
moderate

Salinity (affects crop Water


availability)
ECw (or)

Ds/m

< 0.7

0.7-3.0

>3.0

TDS

Mg/1

<450

450-2000

>2000

>0.7

0.7-0.2

<0.2

>1.2

1.2-0.3

<0.3

Infiltration (affects infiltration


rate of water in to the soil.
Evaluate using ECw and SAR
together)
SAR =0-3

and ECw

32

=3-6

(ds /m)

>1.9

1.9-0.5

<0.5

=12-20

>2.9

2.9-1.3

<1.3

= 20-40

>5.0

5.0-2.9

<2.9

>9

specific Ion Toxicity (affects


sensitive crops)
Sodium (Na)

SAR

<3

3-9

Surface irrigation

Me/1

<3

>3

Surface irrigation

Me/1

<4

4-10

>10

Sprinkler irrigation
Boron (B)

Me/1
Mg/1

<3
<0.7

>3
0.7-3.0

>10
>3.0

Nitrogen (No3-N)
Bicarbonate (HCO3)

Mg/1

<5

5-30

>30

(Overhead sprinkling only)

Me/1

<1.5

1.5-8.5

>8.5

PH

Normal

Range

6.5-8.4

Sprinkler irrigation
Chloride (Cl)

Trace Elements
Miscellaneous Effects (affects
susceptible crops)

3.2. Type of Crop


The daily crop water needs of some crops are higher than others fully developed crops
like maize, sugar-cane and banana need more water per day than crops such as onion,
squash and cucumber. The duration of growing season varies with the type of crop. Some

33

crops such as peas radish are short duration crops and need only 90 to 100 days to
mature. There are other crops like melon and cotton, which need longer duration to
mature (120-180days). Then, there are perennial crops such as alfalfa and fruit trees that
occupy land for many years. The water needs of a crop depend on daily water needs and
seasonal water needs. The daily water requirement of a crop like melon may be less than
that of peas but the seasonal water needs of melon will be higher than that of peas
because of longer total growing season.

3.3. Growth Stage


A fully-grown crop needs more water than a crop, which has just been planted. The crop
water need is minimum immediately after planting. It starts increasing as the crop grows.,
reaches maximum during flowering and fruit development and decreases again towards
maturity, the exception being for those crops which are harvested green such as lettuce,
cabbage etc. For such crops, the crop water needs does not decrease. For all crops
harvested dry, the crop water needs decreases towards maturity. The crop water needs
during initial growth stage is at about 50 percent of the crop water needs during flowering
and fruit development stage.

4.0. How much water to apply


Water is essential for plan growth it not only meets the water needs but is also a medium
through which nutrients are supplied to various parts of the growing plants. Too much
and too little water adversely affects the growth of most plants. The main objective of
irrigation is to supply the plant with correct amount of water at correct time to optimize
production. The other considerations, equally important, are the control of groundwater
table at a safe depth below the root zone and leaching of excess salts from the root zone

34

area. The knowledge to determine accurate crop water requirements is, therefore,
essential to sustain increased crop production and to achieve high water use efficiency to
optimize production for maximum benefit. There are different methods for estimating
crop water requirements. But before describing these methods, it is high time to define
some terms commonly used in the estimation of crop water requirements especially this
is prerequisite in using empirical equation.

4.1.Definition of Common Terms


4.1.1. Transpiration
The plant roots extract water form the soil and transmit this water to various parts of the
growing plants. The major part of this water escapes to the atmosphere as vapour through
the plant leaves, branches and stem. This process is called transpiration. The transpiration
occurs mainly during daytime. It is expressed as mm/day.

4.1.2. Evaporation
It is the process through which water from the open water surface or from the soil surface
escapes in to the atmosphere. It is expressed as mm/day. Evapotranspiration (ET) is the
amount of water lost through evaporation and transpiration from cropped area.

4.1.3. Reference Crop Evapotranspiration


It is the rate of evapotranspiration from a large area covered by green grass, 8 to 15 cm
tall, which grows actively, completely shades the ground and which is not short of water.
It is expressed as mm/ day. The grass has been taken as the reference crop.

4.1.4. Crop Evapotranspiration

35

It is the depth of water required by a crop to compensate losses due to evapotranspiration


during a given period. It is also called crop water requirements. This is expressed as
mm/day.

4.1.5. Actual Evapotranspiration (ETa)


It is the actual amount of vapour transferred to the Atmosphere through evaporation and
Transpiration depending on existing climatic conditions as well as the availability of
Water to meet the atmospheric demand and the ability of the plants to extract moisture
from the soil.

4.2. Methods for the Estimation of Reference Crop Evapotranspiration


The prediction method is quick and fairly accurate for the estimation of reference
evapotranspiration for the on going as well as new irrigation projects. Four popular
prediction methods is discussed Balney- Criddle, Modified penman, Radiation and pan
evaporation methods.
4.2.1. Blaney - Criddle Method
This method is simple and requires measured data on temperature for the calculation of
ET0.. However, this method is not very accurate and provides rough estimate. The use of
this method to calculate mean daily ET0 should normally be applied for period of less
than one month. It is also suggested that ET0 should be calculated for each calendar
month for each year of record than by using mean temperature based on several record. It
is less accurate under extreme climatic conditions. It underestimates (up to some 60%) in
ET0 in windy, dry and sunny area whereas it overestimates (up to some 40%) in calm,
humid and cloudy areas. This method should not be used for equatorial regions, for high
altitudes and small islands. The following equation can be used

36

ET0 (mm/ day ) = c[p (0.46T + 8)] ------------------------------------------------- equation 4


Where ET0 = reference evapotranspiration for the month in mm/ day
P = mean daily percentage of total annual daytime hours forgiven month and latitude.
T = mean daily temperature in Co over the month considered.
T = (Tmax + Tmin) /(2)
C = adjustment factor which depends on minimum relative humidity, sunshine hours
and day time wine estimates.
4.2.2. Modified penman method
For areas where measured data on temperature, humidity, wind, bright sunshine hours or
radiation are available, modified penman method can provide most satisfactory results to
predict the effect of climate on crop water requirements. These days there is a computer
program to run and estimate ET0 very easily But the following equation can be used
ET0 = C[W. Rn +(1-w).f (u).(ea-ed)] ---------------------------------------equation 5
Where:

ET0 = reference crop evapotranspiration in mm/day


W= temperature related weighting factor
Rn = net radiation in equivalent evaporation in mm/day
f(u) = wind related function Km/day.
(ea-ed) = difference between saturation vapour pressure at mean air

temperature and the mean actual vapour pressure of the air both in mbar
C = adjustment factor to compensate for the effect of day and night weather conditions.
4.2.3. Radiation Method
This method is suggested for areas where measured data on air temperature sunshine,
cloudiness or radiation is available. The knowledge of general levels of humidity and

37

wind is required; and these can be estimated using publish weather data. The radiation
method is more reliable than the Blaney- Criddle method in equatorial regions, small
islands and for high altitude. This method may be more reliable even if measured
sunshine or cloudiness is not available. In such cases, solar radiation maps prepared for
most locations in the world could provide necessary solar radiation data and the
following equation can be used
ET0 = C(W.Rs)mm/day ----------------------------------------------------------------equation 6
Where: ETo = reference Evapotranspiration mm/ day
Rs = solar radiation in equivalent evaporation in mm/day
W= Weighting factor which depends on temperature and altitude
C = adjustment factor which depends on mean humidity and daytime wind.
4.2.4. Pan Evaporation
Evaporation pans provides direct and quick estimate of reference evapotranspiration from
the measured evaporation from a free water surface. It takes into account-integrated effect
of radiation, wind temperature and humidity. Plant respond to these climatic variables
somewhat differently because several major factors may produce significant difference in
loss of water from the plants compared to water loss from free water surface. For
example, the coefficient of reflectivity of solar radiation from a free water surface is 5 to
8 percent and from most vegetative surfaces 20 too 25 percent. The pans can store
appreciable amount of heat during daytime and hence evaporation during night may be
considerable. This is not happening with most plants which transpire only during
daytime. The difference in water evaporation from pan and from crops can also be caused
by difference in turbulence, temperature and humidity of the air immediately above the

38

surface. There are different types of pan in use all over the world but this section will
describe the estimation of reference Evapotranspiration ET0 for two types of popular
pans, U.S. Class A pan and Colorado Sunken pan and the following equation can be used
ET0 = Kp. E pan ------------------------------------------------------------------------equation 7
Where: = ET0 is reference evapotranspiration in mm /day
Epan is pan evaporation in mm/day
Kp= pan coefficient depending on location of pan, humidity and wind values for US.
class A pan and Colorado sunken pans are given in tables 10 and 11 respectively but
defining those value for local condition are best . The Kp values relate to pans located in
open field with no crops taller than one meter within some 50 m of the pan. Immediate
surrounding, within 10 m are covered by a green frequently moved grass cover or bare
soil. The pan station is located in an agricultural area and the pan is unscreened. The air
temperature at pan level may be 2 to 5c 0 higher and relative humidity 20 to 30 % lower if
pan is located at a station with very poor grass cover, dry bare soil, undesirable concrete
or asphalt. This will be most pronounced in arid and semi-arid climate during all but
rainy period. This effect has been accounted for during calculation of K pan. However, in
areas with no agricultural development and extensive areas of bare land, the value of K p
given for arid, windy areas may need to be reduced by up to 20 %; for area with moderate
level of wind, temperature and relatively humidity by 5 to10 percent; and little or no
reduction in K p is needed in humid, cool conditions.

4.3. Selection of Crop Coefficient (Kc)

39

Crop coefficient (Kc) is the ratio of crop water requirement and reference crop
evapotranspiration This section describes the procedure for the selection of K c value
which depends on the stage of crop growths. The Kc value for all field crops is low at
initial growth stage, reaches maximum during mid- season growth stage and decreases
again near harvest. The Kc values for different growth stages of major crops for different
humidity and wind conditions are given in table 9

4.4. Crop water requirements (ETC)


Once values of ET0 and Kc are known, estimation of ETc is a simple calculation
ETc (mm/day) =ET c x K c ---------------------------------------------------equation 8
Using appropriate values of ETc for different months and Kc for different growth stages
during the season, the Etc can be calculated for each irrigation interval, each growth stage
or for each month during the growing season of a crop under consideration. By adding up
ETc for all irrigation intervals, growth stages and/or months during the growing season,
the seasonal crop water requirements can then be arrived at.

40

Table 9 Crop coefficients (Kc) (FAO, 1986)


Crop Development stages
Initial
Crop

Midseason

Late

At

Total

season

harvest

growing

Crop
development

period
Banana
Tropical
Subtropical
Bean
Green

0.4-0.5

0.7-0.85

1.0-1.1

0.9-1.0

0.75-

0.7-08

0.5.-0.65

0.8-0.9

1.0-1.2

1.0-1.15

0.85
1.0-1.15

0.85-0.95

0.65-0.75

0.95-1.05

0.9-0.95

0.85-

0.85-0.9
0.7-0.8
0.7-0.8
0.55-0.75

0.3-0.4

Dry
Cabbage
Grape

0.3-0.4
0.4-0.5
0.35-0.55

0.7-0.8
0.7-0.8
0.6-0.8

1.05-1.2
0.95-1.1
0.7-0.9

0.65-0.75
0.9-1.0
0.6-0.8

0.95
0.25-03
0.8-0.95
0.55-0.7

Maize Sweet
Grain
Onion
Dry

0.3-0.5
0.3-05

0.7-0.9
0.7-0.85

1.05-1.2
1.05-1.2

1.0-1.15
0.8-0.95

0.95-1.1
0.55-0.6

0.8-0.95
0.75-0.9

0.4-0.6

0.7-0.8

0.95-1.1

0.85-0.9

0.75-

0.8-0.9

Green

0.4-0.6

0.6-0.75

0.95-1.05

0.95-1.05

0.85
0.95-

0.65-0.8
0.8-0.95
0.7-0.8
0.75-0.9
0.75-0.9
0.8-0.9
0.85-0.95
0.75-0.9
0.75-0.85

Pea, fresh
Pepper, fresh
Potato
Soybean
Sugar beet
Tobacco

0.4-0.5
0.3-0.4
0.4-0.5
0.3-0.4
0.4-0.5
0.3-0.4

0.7-0.85
0.6-0.75
0.7-0.8
0.7-0.8
0.75-0.85
0.7-0.8

1.05-1.2
0.95-1.1
1.05-1.2
1.0-1.15
1.05-1.2
1.0-1.2

1.0-1.15
0.85-1.0
0.85-0.95
0.7-0.8
0.9-1.0
0.9-1.0

1.05
0.95-1.1
0.8-0.9
0.7-0.75
0.4-0.5
0.6-0.7
0.75-

Tomato
Watermelon

0.4-0.5
0.4-0.5

0.7-0.8
0.7-0.8

1.05-1.25
0.95-1.05

0.8-0.95
0.8-0.9

0.85
0.6-0.65
0.650.75

Citrus
Clean weeding
No weed control

0.65-0.75
0.85-0.9

41

Olive

0.4-0.6

First figure: Under high humidity (RH min>70%) and low wind (U<5m/sec).
Second figure: Under low humidity (RH min <20%) and strong wind (>5m/sec).

Table 10 Pan coefficient (Kp) for class A pan for different groundcover and levels of
mean relative humidity and 24 hours wind (FAO, 1984)
Class A pan
Class A: pan placed in short
RH mean

green cropped area


Low< medium High

40

Wind Km/day

10- 70

Case B1/ pan placed in dry


Low<40

fallow area
medium40-70
high

>70

>70

Windward side

windward side distance

Distance of

distance of dry fallow

green

crop m
Light

0.55

0.75

0.75

0.70

0.80

0.85

10

0.65

0.75

0.85

10

0.60

0.70

0.80

<175

42

Moderate

1000
1000
1

0.70
0.85
0.50

0.80
0.86
0.60

0.85
0.85
0.65

1000
1000
1

0.55
0.50
0.65

0.65
0.60
0.75

0.75
0.70
0.80

10
100
1000
1

0.60
0.65
0.70
0.45

0.70
0.75
0.80
0.50

0.75
0.80
0.80
0.60

10
100
1000
1

0.55
0.50
0.45
0.60

0.65
0.60
0.55
0.65

0.70
0.65
0.60
0.70

10
100
1000
1

0.55
0.60
0.65
0.40

0.60
0.65
0.70
0.45

0.65
0.70
0.75
0.50

10
100
1000
1

0.50
0.45
0.40
0.50

0.55
0.50
0.45
0.60

0.65
0.60
0.55
0.65

10
100
1000

0.45
0.50
0.55

0.55
0.60
0.60

0.60
0.65
0.65

10
100
1000

0.45
0.40
0.35

0.30
0.45
0.40

0.55
0.50
0.45

175-425

Strong
425-700

Very
strong
>700

43

Table 11 Pan coefficient (Kp) for Colorado Sunken pan for different groundcover and
levels of mean relative humidity and 24 hours wind (FAO, 1984)
Sunken

Class A: pan placed in short

Colorado

green cropped area

RH mean Lo

mediu

w
<40

Case B1/ pan placed in dry


fallow area

high
>70

Low

medium

high

<40

40-70

>70

40-70

Wine

Windward side

Km/day

distance of

Windward side
distance of

green crop m

Light

dry fallow m

0.75

0.7

0.80

1.10

1.10

1.10

10

1.00

5
1.0

1.00

10

0.85

0.85

0.85

1.10

0
1.1

1.10

100

0.75

0.75

0.80

<175

>100

0
Moderate

0.65

0.7

0.70

1000
1

0.7
0.95

0.7
0.95

0.75
0.95

10

0.85

0
0.8

0.90

10

0.75

0.75

0.75

>100

0.95

5
0.9

0.95

100

0.65

0.65*

0.70

0.65

100
1

0.6
0.80

0.6
0.80

0.65
0.80

175-425

5
Strong

0.55

0.6

44

425-700
10

0.75

0
0.7

>100

0.80

5
0.8

0.75

10

0.65

0.65

0.65

0.70

100

0.55

0.60

0.66

0.60

100
1

0.5
0.70

0.55
0.75

0.6
0.75

0
Very

0.50

strong

0.5
5

>700
10
>100

0.65

0.7

0.70

10

0.55

0.60

0.65

0.70

0
0.7

0.75

100

0.50

0.55

0.60

100

0.45

0.5

0.55

Table 12 Salt Tolerant level of different Vegetables Ayers and Westcot,1976- FAO 1985
Yield Potential
100 90 %

75 %

50 %

Max

Crop

Beans
Cabbage
Cantaloupe
Carrot
Cucumber
Lettuce
Onion
Pepper
Potato
Radish
Spinach

%
EC

EC

ECe

1.0
1.8
2.2
1.0
2.5
1.3
1.2
1.5
1.7
1.2
2.0

0.7
1.2
1.5
0.7
1.7
0.9
0.8
1.0
1.1
0.8
1.3

EC e
1.5
2.8
3.6
1.7
3.3
2.1
1.8
2.2
2.5
2.0
3.3

EC w
1.0
1.9
2.4
1.1
2.2
1.4
1.2
1.5
1.7
1.3
2.2

EC e
2.3
4.4
5.7
2.8
4.4
3.2
2.8
3.3
3.8
3.1
5.3

EC EC
w

1.5
2.9
3.8
1.9
2.9
2.1
1.8
2.2
2.5
2.1
3.5

3.6
7.0
9.1
4.6
6.3
5.2
4.3
5.2
5.9
5.0
8.6

EC w
2.4
4.6
6.1
3.1
4.2
3.4
2.9
3.4
3.9
3.4
5.7

7
12
16
8
10
9
8
9
10
9
15
45

Tomato
Fruit crops
Grape
Grapefruit
Lemon
Orange

2.5

1.7

3.5

2.3

1.5
1.8
1.7
1.7

1.0
1.2
1.1
1.1

2.5
2.4
2.3
2.3

1.7
1.6
1.6
1.6

5.0
1.4
3.4
3.3
3.2

3.4 7.6

5.0

13

2.7
2.2
2.2
2.2

4.5
3.3
3.2
3.2

12
8
8
8

6.7
4.9
4.8
4.8

Sample Calculation for ETc


Given: (Location Merti jeju, Ethiopia) Bean planted on 15 September and harvest
completed on December. Total growing period 90 days.
Length of
Growth

Crop

stages

Initial

development

Mid season

(days)
Kc

Late season

20

30

30

10

0.4

0.75

1.15

0.85

Growth Stage wise ETc


ETc =
Initial stage =

ETo x Kc x

days + ETo x Kc

4.9 x 0.35 x

Crop development = 5

x 0.7 x

Mid season

= 4.7

Late season

= 4.6 x 0.925

16
27

x 1.0 x

27

x days

5.0

0.35 x

=34.44 mm

4.7

0.7 x

=104.37 mm

4.6

1.0 x

= 140.7 mm

x 10

=42.55 mm

Total growing seasons

ETc = 322.06 mm

Table 13 Estimated Crop water requirement for some selected crops at upper Awash
Crop

Total growth period

Planting date

ETc(mm)

(day)
Onion
Banana

90
90
365

st

1 Dec.
1st July
1st July

373.40
392.23
1631.4

Peff
(mm)
61.06
177.6
309.80

Irr.req.
312.34
214.63
1345.20

46

Citrus
Maize
Soya bean
Bean (green)
Tomato

Well established

(365)
140
120
90
90

15th July
1st Nov.
1st June
Mid Sep.
1st Nov.

1315.6
559.9
528.5
322.06
342.45

309.80
73.9
194.4
5.65
29.9

1005.80
486.0
334.0
316.41
312.55

It is also possible to calculate month wise ETc If more than one growth stage fall in a
month, weighted average Kc of both the stages is taken see also table 14.
Table 14 estimated crop water and irrigation requirement for Batu Degaga and Doni
irrigation project (Telahun H. 2006 Unpublished)
Crop

Batu Degaga irrigation project


Total rain fall Effective rain CWR (mm)

Irrigation

(mm)

requirement

fall (mm)

Onion
Tomato
Maize
Pepper

57.82
148.27
164.37
132.93

Onion
Tomato
Maize
Pepper
Suger cane
Mango
Orange

48.04
138.77
83.63
77.01
679.93
679.93
679.93

53.75
480.08
128.30
777.26
141.33
657.96
115.93
657.26
Doni irrigation Project
45.53
393.67
130.36
642.19
79.19
508.05
72.99
518.40
527.62
2034.19
527.62
1916.03
527.62
1298.78

(mm)
426.33
648.96
516.63
541.33
348.14
511.83
428.86
445.42
1506.56
1388.40
799.00

4.5. The leaching requirements (LR) is the fraction of applied water that must pass
through the entire root zone to maintain soil salinity in the root zone within permissible
limits. For more exact estimates for a particular crop, the following equation can be used;
LR = EC w /( (5 ECe)- EC w ) --------------------------------------equation 9
Where: = the minimum leaching requirements needed to control
salts within the tolerance of the crop with ordinary surface method of irrigation.
47

EC w = Salinity of applied irrigation water in mmhos/ cm or ds/m


ECe

= average soil salinity tolerated by the crop as measured on a soil saturation

extract. The ECe, for a given crop, can be obtained from table for a desired yield level
During germination and seedling stage ECe should not exceed 4 to 5 mmhos/cm. The
total seasonal/ annual depth of water, that needs to be applied to meet crop
evapotranspiration (ETc) and leaching requirements, can be determined using the
following equation:
AW = ET/(1-LR)------------------------------------------------------equation 10
Where: AW = depth of applied water (mm/season), ET = total
seasonal crop water demand (mm/season), LR = leaching requirements expressed as a
fraction.
Sample calculation:
The salinity of Awash River water is 0.6 mmhos/cm. The permissible ECe for 100% bean
yield is 1.0 mmhos/cm. The seasonal ET need of Bean at Upper Awash valley is 322 mm
assuming effective rainfall is a trace. Calculate LR and amount of water required to meet
ETc and LR.
LR = EC w / 5 (EC e)- EC w = 0.6/ 5 (1.0)-0.6 = 0.13
AW= ET/1-LR

= 322/1-0.13

= 370.3 mm/season

Therefore, 370.3 mm water should be applied during the season, to meet ETc and LR.

4.6. Effective Rainfall (Pe)


Part of the rainfall may be lost by surface run-off, by deep percolation below the root
zone and by evaporation of the rain intercepted by the plant foliage. Effective rainfall is,
therefore, that part of rainfall which is stored in the soil and is available for plant use.

48

Since rainfall supplement irrigation, data on effective rainfall for all the 12 months is
required and Pe can then be calculated using one of the various methods available. The
most commonly used method is the one proposed by USA, soil conservation service,
1969. This method considers average monthly ETc and means monthly rainfall to
determine average monthly effective rainfall. In the absence of the above method the
following simple formula can be used to estimate effective rainfall (Pe) from total rainfall
(P).
Pe = 0.8 P-10, if P is less than 75mm, ---------------------------------------------equation 11
Pe = 0.6 P- 25, if P is more than 75 mm -------------------------------------------equation 12

Sample calculation:
Calculate effective rainfall when monthly rainfall is 30, 85, 120, 55 and 70mm. by
putting these values in the above formula, the effective rainfall comes to 14, 26, 47,34
and 46 mm, respectively.

4.7. Contribution from ground water (Ge)


The plants can meet a part of their crop water needs if ground water is near or within the
root zone area. The extent of contribution would depend on how close groundwater table
is to the root zone area. Since it can also meet a parts of irrigation requirements, there
fore, information about depth to groundwater is required at regular interval during the
year. The contribution from groundwater is determined by the soil texture, depth of
groundwater below the root zone, the capillary conductive properties of the soil and the
soil water content or soil water tension in the root zone. Both rate and distance of water

49

movement are important criteria. For fine textured soils the distance of water movement
is high and the rate is low, while for coarse textured soils distance of water movement is
low and the rate is high. It is expressed as mm/root zone depth. It can be estimated by
taking soil sample and using moisture estimation methods discussed earlier.

4.8. Stored Soil Water


It is the depth of available water remaining in the soil water at the beginning of irrigation,
beginning of a month or a season. It is deducted from the crop water requirements. It is
expressed as mm/root zone depth. It can be estimated by taking soil sample for moisture
estimation and by drying the sample in an oven and using method discussed earlier

4.9 Irrigation Efficiency


Water losses take place in irrigation channels during conveyance and in the field during
irrigation application. These losses vary widely depending upon the irrigation system
(surface, sprinkler or drip) and type of soil through which irrigation channels run (coarse,
medium or fine textured soil). These losses should be measured under local conditions to
ascertain how much water loss is taking place in irrigation channels during delivery and
in the field during application. This information is necessary to account for these losses
so that required amount of water reaches the root zone to meet crop water and leaching
requirements. A loss during conveyance and application determines the irrigation
efficiency of a particular irrigation system. Irrigation efficiency includes (i) Conveyance
efficiency and (ii) application efficiency. Conveyance efficiency includes efficiency of
main canal and efficiency of field canals.

50

Main canal system


Conveyance efficiency at head work (Ec) =
Amount of water received at the field block inlet / amount of water diverted from the
headwork
------------------------------------------------------------------------------equation 13
Field canal system
Conveyance efficiency (E b)= Amount of water received at field inlet/ Amount of water
delivered at the inlet of block ---------------------------------------------------------equation 14
Application efficiency (Ea)=Amount of water stored in the root zone/
Amount of water applied
Irrigation efficiency (Ei) = Ec * Eb * Ea ------------------------------------------equation 15

4.10. Estimation of Irrigation requirement


Estimation of crop water requirements (ETc) and leaching requirements (LR) has been
shown on the pre seeding pages. Estimated amount of water must reach root zone to meet
crop water requirements and leaching requirements for healthy plant growth. However,
during conveyance and field application some water loss takes place due to deep
percolation, leakage and spillage. This loss must be accounted for calculating irrigation
requirements. Similarly, effective rainfall (Pe), contribution form groundwater (Ge) and
stored soil water (Wb) may meet a part of the crop water requirements. These gains and
losses must be taken it to consideration while computing irrigation requirements. The
amount of water needed to meet ETc and LR, after gains and losses have been accounted
for, is called irrigation requirements. The irrigation requirements can be seen in two ways

51

Net

irrigation requirements (IR n): is the depth of water required for normal crop

production excluding contribution from other sources such as effective rainfall (P e),
contribution from groundwater G e and stored soil water (W b)
Therefore IRn = ET c P e-G e-W b -------------------------------------------------equation 16
Gross irrigation requirements (IRg): is the depth or volume of water required for normal
crop production excluding contribution from other sources Pe ., G e , and W b plus water
losses occurring during conveyance and application.
IRg = IR n /1-LR (1/E a ) --------

(at field inlet)-------------------------equation 17

IRg = IR n /1-LR (1/E i ) --------- (at head works)------------------------equation 18


Sample Calculation
Data required for estimation of Gross and net irrigation requirement is given in the
following table 14. Leaching requirements (LR) for Bean using Awash River water is
10%. Application efficiency (Ea) is 75% and over all irrigation efficiency (E i) is 50%.
Calculate net, gross and peak irrigation requirements
Table 14 (Location: Merti Jeju, Ethiopia)
ETc,mm/month
Pe,mm/month
Ge,mm/month
Wb,mm/month
Balance ETc or

May
42
10
10
22

June
164
20
5
139

July
241
95
15
131

August
213
100
16
10
87

Sept.
180
35
15
5
125

Oct.
123
15
5
103

Sept.
125

Oct.
103

lRn,mm/month
Table 15 Net gross and peak irrigation requirements of Merti Jeju.
lRn,mm/month

May
22

June
139

July
131

August
87

52

LRg

inlcluding 33.7

213

201

133

192

158

320

301

200

287

236

13%LRand
75%Ea,
mm/month
LRg inlcluding 51
13%LRand
50%Ei,
mm/month
Peak Irrigation Requirements = 320 mm during the month of June. Peak irrigation
requirements are used to design the irrigation system for any project.

5.0. When to irrigate (Time of Irrigation)


To optimize crop production per unit of soil and water used, it is essential to irrigate the
crop when actually needed and to apply enough water to meet crop water and leaching
requirements. Over irrigation not only wastes large quantities of scarce irrigation water
which otherwise could be used to irrigate more area but also adversely affect crop growth
and ultimately yield. Over irrigation, for longer period, has been responsible for water
logging problem on many irrigation projects throughout the world. Under- irrigation, on
the other hand, restricts plant growth and ultimately yield through soil moisture stress and
soil Salinization due to insufficient leaching. The twin menace of water logging and
salinity, created by over and / or under irrigation and lack of proper drainage, has thrown
large tracts of once productive land out of production, in -addition to adversely affecting
the production potential of millions of more hectares. The knowledge of proper irrigation

53

scheduling (when to irrigation and how much water to apply) is therefore, of vital
importance for sustaining irrigated agriculture on permanent footing. A number of
methods are in use to find out when to irrigate. Some of these methods are described
below:

5.1. Appearance of first wilting symptoms (Method 1)

If judged properly, this is one of the simplest methods to find out when to irrigate. When
the crop is near irrigation, observe the crop in the afternoon between 2-4 pm. When first
wilting symptoms on some plants appear, which disappear late in the evening, it is time to
irrigate. Increased water stress in many plants causes darkening of colour, appearance of
yellow, orange or purple colour, shortening of internodes (sugarcane and cotton),
retardation of shoot elongation (grapes), change in leaf angle and colour (beans) and leaf
rolling (maize, clover) etc. For this method to succeed, it is important that an experienced
person should make judgment and crop should be irrigated when wilting symptoms first
appear. Further delay of irrigation could adversely affect the plant growth. The
disadvantage of this method is that by the time water stress symptoms can be observed in
many crops, the plants have already been under stress for some time and yield may be
affected. However, with crops like cotton, grapes, alfalfa, beans and many other field
crop appearance of wilting symptom is an adequate index for scheduling irrigation. Care
should be taken to use visual symptoms of water stress to schedule irrigation where plants
growing on certain parts of a field show wilting a day or two in advance because of high
spots, sandy soil, shallow soil depth, restricted infiltration, hard pan near the surface or

54

other reasons. Other approach deserving further attention is the use of indicator plants
with the main crop. If proper indicators plants are selected so that they show water stress
a day or two earlier before rest of the crop is affected, It could be a useful guide to
irrigation scheduling. This approach is potentially useful, especially in the developed
countries but sill requires considerable experience.

Judging soil moisture by feel method (Method 2)


This is also a simple method but needs experience before it can be applied successfully.
The method includes examining soil moisture in the root zone at several spots in the field.
Sampling tube, auger or a shovel can be used to take soil samples from various depths in
the root zone area. The moisture content can then be judged by feel or appearance of
the soil. Squeeze a handful of soil firmly three or four times. Note whether the soil
crumbles or retain its shape similar to an oblong ball. If it forms a ball, toss it about 30cm
into the air and catch it. If the ball breaks after five tosses or less, it would be considered
to form a fragile ball. If the ball remains intact after it has been tossed five times, it is
considered a durable ball. Try making a ribbon of the soil by rolling a small amount
between the fore- finger and thumb. Note whether the soil sticks to the thumb when
rolled out between the forefinger and thumb. Using these tests, guide to estimate soil
moisture is given in table 16. Only an experienced person can correctly Judge whether
crop is ready for irrigation. The soil profile should be checked before and after irrigation.
Careful examination before irrigation will indicate when to irrigate and the depth of root
zone that needs water. Examination 2-3 days after irrigation will show to what depth

55

water has penetrated. With time, one can get enough experience to find out when to
irrigate and how much water to apply.

5.2. Gravimetric estimation of soil moisture (Method 3)


This method involves estimation of soil moisture content to find out whether the field is
ready for irrigation. For this purpose, a soil sample is taken from the root zone area when
the crop is about to be irrigated. The soil sample is taken using an auger, a sampling tube
or a shovel. A known weight of this soil is put in an oven and allowed at day over night
and 105 c0. The sample is taken cut, cooled and weighed again. The loss of soil weight is
due to loss of water present in the soil.

Table 16 Guide for judging how much of the available moisture has been removed from
the soil (Israelson &Hanson,1962
Depletion available soil

Feel or appearance of soil and moisture deficiency in cm of water per meter of soil

moisture in %

Coarse texture

0(Field capacity)

Coarse texture
Upon squeezing, no free Upon squeezing, no

Upon squeezing,

Upon squeezing, no free water

water appears on soil but

free water appears on

no

appears on soil but wet outline of

wet outline of ball is left

soil but wet outline of

appears on soil

on hand

hall is left on hand

but wet outline of

Moderately

Medium texture

Fine and very fine texture

free

water

ball is left on hand

ball is left on

56

hand

0.25

0.0

0.0

Tends to stick together

Forms

slightly, sometime forms a


very weak ball under

0.0
Forms a ball, is

0.0
Easily ribbons out between thumb

breads easily, will not

very

and forefinger

slick

slicks readily if

weak

ball,

pressure

pliable,

relatively high in
clay

0.0 To1.7

0.0 to 3.4
25.50

Appears to be dry, will

Tends to ball under

0.0 to 4.2
Forms a

not form a ball with

pressure but seldom

somewhat plastic,

pressure

holds together

will slick slightly

ball

5.0 to 10.0
Forms a ball, ribbons out between
thumb and forefinger

with pressure
1.7to 4.2
50-75

Appears to be dry, will

3.4 to 6.7
Appears to be dry,

4.2to 8.3
Somewhat

not form, a ball with

will not form a ball1

crumbly

holds

together

from

pressure1

5.0 to 10.0
Somewhat pliable, will ball under
pressure

pressure

4.2 to 6.7

6.7 to 10.0
8.3 to 12.5

10.0 to 15.8

57

75-100(100

Percent

permanent wilting point)

is

Dry, loose single grained,

Dry,

loose,

flows through fingers

through fingers

flows

Powdery,

dry,

sometimes
slightly

Hard, baked, cracked, sometimes


has loose crumbs on surface

crusted

but easily broken


down in to
6.7 to 8.3
10.0 to 12.5

12.5 to 16.7

15.8 to 20.8

This is express as:


Soil moisture on weight basis (%) =
= (Wt. of moist soil Wt. of dry soil)/ Wt. of dry soil*100 call this A

To find out whether the crop is ready for irrigation or not, the extent to which the
available soil moisture depletion has taken place before irrigation is estimated as below:
Total Available water (AW) (mm/m)

= (FC PWP) x 10 =B

Available water in the root zone (mm) = (B x D)/100 = C


Available water depleted in the root zone before irrigation
AW (mm) = (FC -A) x Bd x D x 10 =E
Available water depletion (%) = (E/C)
Where: FC is field capacity, PWP is permanent wilting point, Bd is bulk density
D is root zone depth in cm,

5.4. Use of Instruments (Method 4)


Various instruments such as tensiometers, gypsum blocks, moisture meters and neutron
probes are in use for estimating soil moisture in the soil. However, every farmer can not

58

afford these instruments in developing countries which also need careful calibration,
maintenance and operation to provide reliable information.

5.5. Fixed Irrigation Interval (Method 5)


This is by far the most common practices used in many developing countries. Irrigation
turns are mutually agreed and fixed among the growers and irrigation to crops is applied
according to predetermined fixed schedules. This method does not give due consideration
to crop water requirements. Generally, the crops are either under or over irrigated,
depending upon the crop growth stage and climatic conditions. In general, crops are over
irrigated at establishment and maturity stage when crop water requirements are minimum
and are under irrigated during vegetative, flowering and fruit development stages when
crops need maximum amount of water for growth.

5.6. Calculated Irrigation Schedules (Method 6)


These are calculated on the basis of allowable soil moisture depletion and
evapotranspiration rates. These methods make use of the information about available
water holding capacity of the soil, allowable soil moisture depletion, growth stage,
rooting depth and evapotranspiration rate. These methods are more accurate and are
commonly used in the developed countries.

5.7. Allowable soil moisture depletion (Method 7)

59

According to this method, the crop is irrigated when available soil moisture is depleted to
the point where further depletion could restrict growth and yield of crops. In other words,
irrigation is applied as soon as soil moisture is depleted to an allowable limit which varies
from crop to crop and growth stage to growth stage. The allowable soil moisture
depletion limits for various crops, without any yield loss, are given in table 8. It is,
therefore, a pre- requisite to determine available water holding capacity in the laboratory
and allowable soil moisture depletion from table 8 (if local data are not available) to
calculate irrigation scheduling. This method has scientific basis and is more dependable,
but this can only be used with the help of laboratory facilities.

5.8. Evapotranspiration Rates (Method 8)

The irrigation scheduling is also done by using evapotranspiration rates, available water
holding capacity of soil and allowable soil moisture depletion limit. The amount of
available soil moisture in the root zone, up to allowable soil moisture depletion limit, is
calculated and divided by daily evapotranspiration rate of the crop to arrive at the number
of days after which the crop should be irrigated. This method also has scientific basis and
is more dependable but needs the help of laboratory facilities.

5.9. Estimation of Irrigation Schedule (interval) for Crops

Different methods have been described above to find out when a crop is ready for
irrigation. It is obvious that some methods are based on pure judgment and need some

60

experience to judge whether a crop is ready for irrigation or not. The crop could be
adversely affected as a result of misjudgment. Use of instruments needs careful
calibration, operation and maintenance otherwise these instruments could provide
misleading information. Fixed irrigation interval may lead to over or under irrigation. If
laboratory facilities for moisture estimation (such as oven, balance) are available, some of
above mentioned method can provide more reliable information to develop proper
irrigation schedule.
Procedure to use method (Method 7) is described below: To calculate irrigation schedule
using allowable soil moisture depletion method, it is necessary to know the type of crop,
the soil, daily ETc and Kc value for various growth stages. The calculation of irrigation
schedule (irrigation interval and amount) involves the following step:

When to irrigate (procedure to follow)


(i)

Determine growth stage of the crop under consideration

(ii)

Find out allowable available soil moisture depletion (ASMD)

(iii)

Select appropriate Kc value for the growth stages

(iv)

Determine depth of effective root zone in cm (75 to 90% roots reside).

(v)

Determine available water holding capacity of the soil under consideration in


mm/m or determine field capacity(FC), permanent wilting point (PWP) and
bulk density (Bd) of the soil in mm/m
AW(mm/m)= (FC-PWP)*Bd*10 = call it Y

(Vi).

Compute available water in the effective root zone


= Y *effective root zone(cm)/100

(Vii)

AW in the effective root zone at allowable available soil moisture depletion

61

= Aw at step Vi * ASMD/100
(Viii)

Compute daily ETc in mm/day (ETc = ET o * K c )

(iX)

Determine irrigation interval in days as below:

AW ( stepvii )

Irrigation interval (days) ETc ( stepviii ) ------------------------equation 19

Depth of water to apply


Once irrigation interval has been determined, the next step is to find out how much water
should be applied.
Sample Calculation
Example
A tomato crop, planted on vertisol soil at Merti Jeju with available water holding capacity
of 200 mm/m, is at mid season growth stage. The effective rooting zone is 20 cm. The
daily ETc is 4.9 mm and K c for mid season growth is 0.95. The allowable available soil
moisture depletion for Tomato

is 70 %. The effective rainfall during the irrigation

interval is 5 mm, contribution from groundwater none and available soil moisture
remaining at the time of irrigation is 3 mm. The leaching requirement is 0.10. Application
efficiency (E a) is 75 % and over all irrigation efficiency (E i) is 50%. Calculate irrigation
interval, crop water requirements, net and gross irrigation requirements for that interval.
Given are AW =

200 mm/m

Effective root zone = 20 cm


Aw in the effective root zone = 200 x 20/100 = 40 mm
AW in the effective root zone at 70 % allowable soil moisture depletion,

62

AW 40

70
28mm
100

Daily ET c 4.9 0.95 4.655mm / day

Irrigation interval

28
6, days
4.655

ETc for a given irrigation interval = Daily ETc (step viii) x No. of days (step ix)

Water requirements = ET c x Interval = 4.655x6 = 28 mm


Net irrigation requirement LR n = ETc-P e- G e- W b
= 28-5-0-3 = 20 mm
Gross irrigation requirement LRg (at field inlet) = lR n / (1-LR) x 1/E a
= 20/ (1-0.1) X 1/0.75
= 29.6 mm

Gross irrigation requirement LRg (at headwork) = lR n / (1-LR) x 1/E i


= 20/ (1-0.1) X 1/0.5
= 44.429.6 mm

Irrigation interval and depth of irrigation can also be calculated using following
equations:
I (days)

( P.Sa ) D
-----------------------------------------------------equation
ETc

20

63

d(mm)

( P.Sa) D
( atthefieldinlet ) -----------------------------------equation
Ea

d (mm)

( P.Sa ) D
(attheheadworks ) --------------------------------equation
Ei

21

22
Where: i = irrigation interval in days, d = depth of irrigation in mm
P = allowable soil moisture depletion (a fraction of total availableWater), Sa = total
available water, mm/m, D = effective root zone depth in cm, E a = application efficiency,
E i = Over all irrigation efficiency

Sample Calculation
A Bean crop is growing at Merti Jeju on a clay loam soil with total available water
holding capacity of 180 mm/m. The allowable available soil moisture depletion is 75 %.
The effective root zone depth is 10 cm and daily ET c is 3.9mm/day. Application
efficiency (E a) is 75% and irrigation efficiency
(E i ) is 50 %. Determine irrigation interval and irrigation depth.
Sa = 180 mm/m, P

75
0.75 , D = 0.1m, E a = 75 %, E i = 50%
100

ET c =3.9 mm/day

Irrigation Interval (i)

( P.Sa) D
ETc
(0.75 180 0.1 = 3.46, say 4

3.9

Irrigation depth (d) (water to be delivered at field inlet)

64

P.Sa ).D (.75 180) 0.1

18mm
Ea
0.75

Irrigation depth (d) (water to be diverted from Head works)


( P.Sa ).D (.75 180) 0.1

27 mm
Ei
.5

Therefore, 27 mm water should be released from the head works so that 18mm reaches at
the field inlet to meet ET c.
Time needed for Irrigating a given field
The following equation can be used to calculate time needed for irrigation, if stream size
(Q) and area to be irrigated (A) is known:

T 10

dA
Q 3600

Where: t =time in hours, A = area in hectares, d= depth of irrigation in mm


Q= discharge in m3 /s, Therefore, the time taken to apply 18 mm of irrigation to one ha,
when discharge is 0.075m3/s, will be:

10 18 1
0.67 hours
0.075 3600

5.8. Moisture Deficit Sensitive Growth Stages of crops


Crops are sensitive to soil moisture stress. The sensitivity to soil moisture stress,
however, varies from crop to crop and growth stage to growth stage. Table 17 indicates
moisture stress sensitive growth stages of some crops. Every effort should be made to

65

avoid soil moisture stress during moisture deficit sensitive growth stage to maximize crop
yields.

6.0. How to irrigate (Methods of Irrigation)


Once questions regarding when to irrigate (intervals) and how much water to apply
(depth) have been answered, the growers would like to know how to irrigate or which
irrigation method to follow, this section describes different irrigation methods and
provides guidelines for the selection of suitable irrigation method / methods.

Irrigation methods can be broadly grouped in to the following four categories:Surface Irrigation: Irrigation application is made either by surface flooding where by
wetting all the land surface or by furrows where only a part of the land surface is
wetted
Table 17 Sensitive growth periods for water deficit (FAO, 1986)
Banana

Throughout but particularly during first part of vegetative period flowering and yield

Bean

formation
Flowering and pod filling; vegetative period not sensitive when followed by ample water

Cabbage
Grape fruit
Lemon

supply.
During head enlargement and ripening
Flowering and fruit set > fruit enlargement
Flowering and fruit set > fruit enlargement; heavy flowering may be induced by withholding

Orange
Grape
Maize
Olive
Onion

irrigation just before flowering


Flowering and fruit set > fruit enlargement
Vegetative period, particularly during shoot elongation and flowering> fruit filling
Flowering > grain filling; flowering very sensitive if no prior water deficit
Just prior flowering and yield formation, particularly during the period of stone hardening
Bulb enlargement, particularly during rapid bulb growth > vegetative period(and for seed
production at flowering)
66

Pepper
Pineapple
Potato

Throughout but particularly just prior and at start of flowering


During period of vegetative growth
Period of stolonization and tuber initiation, yield formation > early vegetative period and

Soybean
Tobacco
Tomato

ripening
Yield formation and flowering; particularly during pod development
Period of rapid growth > yield formation and ripening
Flowering > yield formation > vegetative period, particularly during and just after

Watermelon

transplanting
Flowering, fruit filling> vegetative period, particularly during vine development

Sub-Irrigation: Water is applied directly in to the root zone area where by subsoil is
wetted but surface soil is wetted little if any. Water moves from ground water table in to
the root zone through capillary action. Sprinkler Irrigation: Irrigation is applied much the
same way as rain and all land surfaces is wetted. This is also known as overhead
irrigation. Localized Irrigation: Water is applied to individual plant and only a part of the
land surface at the base of the plant is wetted. This is also called micro irrigation or
trickle irrigation or drip irrigation.

6.1. Factors which determines the correct method of irrigation


The following four factors are the bases of determining which irrigation method(s) to
follow these are:- Water supply, Type of soil, Topography of the land Type of crops

6.2. Surface irrigation methods

67

In the surface methods of irrigation, water is applied directly to the soil surface from a
channel located at the upper reach of the field. Water may be distributed to the crops in
border strips, check basins or furrows. There are two general requirements to obtain high
efficiency in surface methods of irrigation. 1. Properly constructed water distribution
systems to provide adequate control of water to the fields. 2. Proper land preparation to
permit uniform distribution of water over the filed.

6.2.1. Border irrigation

The border method of irrigation makes use of parallel ridges to guide a sheet of flowing
water as it moves down the slope. The land is divided into a number of long parallel
strips called borders that are separated by low ridges. The border strip has little or no
cross slope but has a uniform gentle slope in the direction of irrigation. The essential
feature of border irrigation is to provide an even surface over which the water can flow
down the slope with a nearly uniform depth. Each strip is irrigated independently by
turning in a stream of water at the upper end. The water spreads and flows down the strip
in a sheet confined by the border ridges. The irrigation stream must be large enough to
spread over the entire width between the border ridges without overtopping them. When
the advancing waterfronts reaches either the lower end or a few minutes before or after
that the stream is turned off. The water temporarily stored in the border moves down the
strip and infiltrates, thus completing the irrigation. The border method of irrigation is
adapted to most soils where depth and topography permit the required land leveling at a
reasonable cost and without permanent reduction in soil productivity. It is, however, more

68

suitable to soils having moderately low to high infiltration rates. Usually it is not used in
coarse sandy soils that have very high infiltration rates. It is also not well suited to soils
having a very low infiltration rate, since it is difficult to provide adequate infiltration
opportunity time, without surface runoff at the lower end. The border method is suitable
to irrigate all close-growing crops like wheat, barley, fodder crops and legumes. It is,
however, not suitable for crops like rice which requires standing water during most parts
of its growing season.

Figure5. Level border during irrigation

Advantages of border irrigation


1. Border ridges can be constructed economically with simple farm implements
like a bullock-drawn, or bund former or tractor-drawn disc rigger.
2. Labour requirement in irrigation is greatly reduced as compared to the
conventional check basin method of irrigation
3. Uniform distribution and high water application efficiencies are possible if the
system is properly designed
4. Large irrigation streams can be efficiently used

69

5. Operation of the system is simple and easy


6. Adequate surface drainage is provided if outlets are available

Straight and contour borders: Borders may be laid along the general slope of the field
(straight or down the slope borders) or may be laid across the general slope of the field
(contour borders). When fields can be leveled to desirable land slopes economically and
without affecting its productivity, graded borders are easier to construct and operate.
When land slope exceeds safe limits, fields are undulating and leveling is not feasible,
borders may be laid across the slope and are called contour borders.
Width of border strip: The width of a border usually varies from 3 to 15 meters,
depending on the size of the irrigation stream available and the degree of land leveling
practicable. When the size of the irrigation stream available is small, the width is reduced.
It is, however, not economical to keep the width less than about 3 meters. , as otherwise,
too many ridges will have to be formed per unit area of the field surface.

Border length: The length of the border strip depends upon how quickly it can be wetted
uniformly over its entire length. This in turn depends on the infiltration rate of the soil,
the slope of the land, and the size of the irrigation stream available. For moderate slopes
and small to moderate size irrigation streams, the following border lengths are suggested:
Sandy and sandy loam soils: 60 to 120 meters
Medium loam soils

100 to 180 meters

Clay loam and clay soils

: 150 to 300 meters

70

Border slope: The borders should have a uniform longitudinal gradient. Excessive slopes
will make the water run to the lower end quickly, causing insufficient irrigation at the
upstream end and deep percolation losses and breach the bund at the downstream. They
also cause soil erosion in borders. On the other hand, too flat slopes will result in the very
slow movement of the border stream, causing deep percolation losses at the upper reaches
and inadequate wetting downstream. Recommended safe limits of land slopes in borders
are given below:
Sandy loam to sandy soils: 0.25 to 0.60%
Medium loam soils:
Clay to clay loam soils:

0.20 to 0.40%
0.05 to 0.205

Size of irrigation stream: The size of the irrigation stream needed depends on the
infiltration rate of the soil and the width of the border strip. Coarse textured soils with
high infiltration rates require large streams to spread water over the entire strip rapidly
and avoid excessive losses due to deep percolation at the upper reaches. Fine textured
soils with low infiltration rates require smaller streams to avoid excessive losses due to
run-off at the downstream end and deep percolation at the lower reaches. It is often
convenient to express the requirement of the irrigation stream in terms of the rate of
water flow per unit width of the border such as in liters per second per meter of border
width. This value multiplied by the width of the border is the size of the irrigation stream
that should be delivered into each border.
The depth of water applied to the soil can be regulated by the size of the irrigation stream.
A larger stream is used to apply at a shallower depth, and a smaller stream to apply at

71

greater depth water. This is because the amount of water entering the soil is related to the
infiltration opportunity time which, in turn, is related to how fast the entire area of the
border can be covered with the flow of water. Thus, by varying the size of the irrigation
stream, it is possible to vary the depth of water applied. Some typical values of stream
sizes to suit varying soil characteristics and border slopes are given in table 18
Table 18. Values of stream sizes and border slopes for soil characteristics (FAO,1967)
Soil type

Border slope %

Flow per meter width of

Sandy soil, infiltration rates 2.5 cm/hr.

0.20 -0.40

border strip (lit/sec)


10-15

0.40-0.65

7-10

0.20-0.40

7-10

0.40-0.60

5-8

0.20-0.40

5-7

0.40-0.60

4-6

0.15-0.30

3-4

0.30-0.40

2-3

0.1-0.2

2-4

Loamy sand, infiltration rate 1.8-2.5 cm/hr

Sandy loam, infiltration rate 1.2-1.8 cm/hr

Clay loam, infiltration rate 0.6-0.8 cm/hr

Clay, infiltration rate 0.2-0.6cm /hr

6.2.2. Basin irrigation

Check basin irrigation involves dividing the field into smaller unit areas having nearly
level surface. Bunds or ridges are constructed around the areas forming basins within
which the irrigation water can be controlled. The basins are filled to the desired depth and
the water is retained until it infiltrates into the soil. The depth of water may be maintained
for considerable periods by allowing water to continue to flow into the basins.

72

Figure 6 Basin method of irrigation

The distinguishing features of the various uses of the check basin method of irrigation
involve the size and shape of the basins and whether irrigation is accomplished by
intermittent or continues ponding of water in the basins. The ridges or bunds may be
temporary for a single irrigation as in the pre-sowing irrigation of seasonal crops, or may
be for a cropping season as post-emergence irrigations. The size of the ridge will depend
on the depth of water to be impounded as well as on the stability of the soil when wet.
Water is conveyed to the field by a system of supply channels and lateral field channels.
The supply channel is aligned on the upper side of the area and there is usually one lateral
foe every two rows of check basins. Water from the laterals is turned is turned into the
beds and is cutoff when sufficient water has been admitted to the basin. Water is retained
in the basin until it soaks into the soil.

73

Figure 7 Basin irrigation showing advance and recession front

The size of the irrigation stream is not critical as long as it is sufficient to provide
coverage of the entire strip in a relatively small portion of the time required to apply the
desired amount of water into the soil. As the infiltration rate of the soil increases, the
stream size must be increased or the size of the basins reduced in order to cover the area
within a short period of time. A large size irrigation stream will permit a comparatively
larger size of the basin. The size of check basins may vary from one meter square, used
for growing vegetables and other intensive cultivation, to as long as one or two hectares
or more, used for growing rice under wet land conditions. When the land can be graded
economically into nearly level fields, the basins are rectangular. In rolling topography the
ridges, follow the contours of the land surface. The contour ridges are connected by cross
ridges at intervals. The size of basins varies with the size of the irrigation stream

74

available and the size of the land holding. Large irrigation streams and large holdings
permit large basins. The size also depends on the infiltration characteristics of the soil.
Sandy and sandy loam soils with high infiltration rates permit only small size basins
while clay soils having low infiltration rates allow large basins. See also table 19

In irrigating orchards, square or contour basins may be used as in other crops. When the
plants are widely spaced (Citrus) the ring method of basin irrigation may be adopted. The
rings are circular basins formed around each tree. The ring basins are small when the
plant is young. The size is increased as the plant grows. An advantage of the ring method
is that the entire area is not flooded, thus obtaining high water use efficiency. Usually
there is one basin to a tree. In rectangular and contour basins, however, there may be one
basin to a single tree or two or more trees. See also figure 6
Adaptability. Check basin irrigation is suited to smooth gentle and uniform land slopes
and for soils having moderate to slow infiltration rates. Both row crops and closegrowing crops are adapted to be used with basins as long as the crop is not affected by
temporary inundation or is planted in beds so that it remain above the water level. The
method is especially adapted to irrigation of grain and fodder crops in heavy soils where
water is absorbed very slowly and is required to stand for a relatively long time to ensure
adequate irrigation.
Check basins are useful when leaching is required to remove salts from the soil profile.
The method enables the conservation of rainfall and reduction in soil erosion by retaining
a large part of the rain in the basin to be infiltrated gradually, without loss due to surface
run-off. The method usually results in high water application and distribution efficiencies

75

if the desired net depth of irrigation can be estimated adequately and if the size of the
irrigation stream is measured properly. The low efficiencies in check basin irrigation is
due to inadequate land leveling and uncontrolled water application.
Limitations: The principal disadvantage of the check basin method of irrigation is that
the ridges interfere with the movement of animal-drawn or tractor-drawn implements for
intercultural or harvesting of crops. Ridges and lateral field channels occupy considerable
land and crop yields are substantially low on the ridge and in the lateral channels. The
method impedes surface drainage. Precise land grading and shaping are required (made
expensive). Labour requirements in land preparation and irrigation are much higher in
check basin irrigation as compared to other methods, except when the basins are very
large. The method is not suitable for irrigated crops, which are sensitive to wet, soil
conditions around the stems of plants.
Table 19 Suggested basin areas for different soil types and rates of water flow
(FAO,1967) area in hectares.
L/s
30
60
90
120
150
180
210
240
270
300

Flow Rate
m3 / hr
108
216
324
432
540
648
756
864
972
1080

Sand
.02
.04
.06
.08
.10
.12
.14
.16
.18
.20

Soil Type
Sandy loam Clay loam
.06
.12
.12
.24
.18
.36
.24
.48
.30
.60
.36
.72
.42
.84
.48
.96
.54
1.08
.60
1.20

Clay
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
2.0

6.2.3. Furrow irrigation

76

The furrow method of irrigation is used in the irrigation of row crops with furrows
developed between the crop rows in the planting and cultivating processes. The size and
shape of the furrow depends on the crop grown, equipment used and spacing between
plants. Water is applied by running small streams in furrows between the crop rows.
Water infiltrates into the soil and spreads laterally to irrigate the areas between the
furrows. The length of time the water is to flow in the furrows depends on the amount of
water required to replenish water needed in the root zone, the infiltration rate of the soil
and the rate of lateral spread of water in the soil. In areas where surface drainage is
necessary, furrows can be used to dispose off the runoff from rainfall.

Figure 8. Short and long furrow at farmers field

Adaptability
Furrow irrigation can be used to irrigate all cultivated crops planted in furrows like
maize, sorghum, sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, groundnuts, potatoes and other vegetables
including orchards. Furrows are particularly well adapted to irrigating crops which are

77

subject to injury from ponded surface water or susceptible to fungal root rot. Furrow
irrigation is suitable to most soils except sands that have a very high infiltration rate and
provide poor lateral distribution of water between furrows.
Advantages of furrow irrigation
1. Water in the furrows contacts only one half to one-fifth of the land surface, thereby
reducing puddling and crusting of the soil and evaporation losses.
2. Earlier cultivation is possible which is a distinct advantage in heavy soils
3. It may be adapted to use without erosion on a wide range of natural slopes by
carrying the furrows across a sloping field rather than down the slope.
4. It reduces labour requirements in land preparation and irrigation
5. There is no wastage of land in field ditches as compared to check basin
Furrow irrigation requires proper land grading. The land must be graded so that water can
travel the entire length of the row without ponding. This means that the high and low
spots must be removed and the land given enough slope to let the water flow down the
furrows. Furrows can be spaced to fit the crops grown and appropriate machines used for
planting and cultivating.
In general, small plants require small furrows, large plants permit large furrows. Furrows
of 7.5 to 12.5 cm depth are appropriate for vegetables, while some row crops and
orchards require much deeper furrows. In soils that absorb water slowly, a wide,
relatively shallow furrow is preferable since it gives more area for the water to infiltrate.
Where furrows are long and soil is quite permeable, narrow deep furrows may be used to
discourage excessive percolation at the upper end. In general, length of furrow depends
on the prevailing slope of the field unless it is a leveled field. See also table 20

78

Types of Furrow irrigation


Straight furrow: Straight furrows are laid down the prevailing land slope. They are best
suited to sites where the land slope does not exceed 0.75 percent. In areas of intense
rainfall, however, the furrows grade should not exceed 0.5 percent so as to minimize the
erosion hazard. The ranges in furrow slopes for efficient irrigation in different soil types
are the same as those recommended for borders. In fine textured soils having very low
infiltration rates, the furrows are usually level lengthwise. With level furrows, the same
stream size is maintained until the required amount of water is applied. The water is
ponded in the furrows until it is absorbed by the soil.

Figure 9. Level furrow irrigation

Contour furrows: This method is similar to the graded and level furrow methods in that
the irrigation water is applied in furrows; but the furrows carry water across a sloping
field rather than down the slope. Contour furrows are curved to fit the topography of the
land. The furrows are given a gentle slope along its length as in the case of graded
furrows. Field supply channels run down the land slope to feed the individual furrows
and are provided with erosion control structures. Light soils can be irrigated successfully

79

across slopes up to 5 percent. Where the soils are stable and will not be cultivated as in
orchards, slopes up to eight to ten percent can be irrigated by contour furrowing. All row
crops, including grains, vegetables and various cash crops, are adapted to this method.
Contour furrows may be used on most soil types, except on light sandy soils and soils
that crack. The ridges between furrows in sandy soils may break and wash out,
overloading the furrow below, which breaks. Soils that crack provide channels for water,
causing similar down slope furrow breaks. In heavy rainfall areas, the length of furrows
should be short enough to dispose off the run-off safely without breaking the furrows.

Figure 10 Contour furrow Irrigation

Table 20 Suggested maximum lengths of cultivated furrows for different soils, slopes and
depths of water to be applied (FAO, 1967).

Furrow

Clays

slope

7.5

15

22.5

Loams
Average depth of Water applied in cm
30
5
10
15
20
5

in %
.05
.1
.2
.3
.5
1.0
1.5
2.0

300
340
370
400
400
280
250
220

400
400
470
500
500
400
340
270

400
470
530
620
560
500
430
340

400
500
620
800
750
600
500
400

120
180
220
280
280
250
220
180

270
340
370
400
370
300
280
250

400
440
470
500
470
370
340
300

400
470
530
600
530
470
400
340

60
90
120
150
120
90
80
60

Sands
7.5

10

12.5

90
120
190
220
190
150
120
90

150
190
250
280
250
220
190
150

190
220
300
400
300
250
220
190
80

Corrugation irrigation: it is applied in shallow furrows called corrugations or rills. The


water is led in to the corrugations from a field ditch or a lateral and moves in to these
corrugations down the slope. The water moves laterally through the soil and wet the area
between corrugations. This method is used for irrigation to closely spaced crops, such as
pastures, alfalfa and small grain crops planted on steeper slopes. It differs from furrows
irrigation in that no raised beds or ridges are made on which crops are planted and which
hinder smooth operation of farm machinery and equipment.
Table 21 Relation of maximum non-erosive flow rates to critical slopes in
furrows (FAO,1967)
Furrow

Maxi

Discha

slope %

mum

rge in

flow

gpm

Comments

rate
0.1

l/s
6

100

The flow rate indicated is about the carrying capacity of


most furrows in normal use on 0.1%slope. Erosion is

0.3

33

negli-ble with furrows flowing to capacity on this slope


A slope of 0.3% is near the upper limit where furrows

0.5

1.2

20

flowing at full capacity will not cause serious erosion.


Cultivated furrows with 0.5%slope will cause erosion
unless the flow rate is considerably less than furrow

2.0

0.3

capacity
This indicates the reduction in flow rate needed to
prevent serious erosion on a 2.0% slope. This is

81

considered to be the maximum slope allowable for


cultivated furrows.

The corrugations are V or U shaped channels about 10cm deep and spaced about 40 to
75cm. The entire soil surface is wetted by capillary movement, which flows in the
corrugations. This method is especially suitable where soil crusting is a problem. For this
reason, corrugation irrigation is sometime used for germinating crops, which have been
drilled or broadcast seeded. Silt loam or clay loam soils in which lateral movement of
water takes place readily are most suitable for corrugation irrigation. This method is not
recommended for dense clay soils which very little lateral movement or sandy soil with
very high vertical permeability which causes excessive water loss due to rapid deep
percolation. The corrugations should also not be used for irrigation of saline soils or
where irrigation water has high salt content because capillary movement followed by
surface evaporation may tend to concentrate salts in the soil surface.
The spacing and length of corrugations will depend upon the soil type and land slope.
The slope up to 10 Percent can be used depending upon the soil erodability and type of
crop to be grown. The spacing should by farther apart on fine textured soil than for coarse
textured soils. The spacing should be closer on steeper slope than for flatter slopes.
Table 22 contains recommended length and spacing of corrugations for different soil
types, land slope and nature of crops. Maximum non- erosive flow rates for various
slopes is given in table 23

82

Figure 11Contour Furrow irrigation

Table 22 Length and spacing of corrugations distance in meters for crops (FAO, 1967)
Slope per Heavy-textured
cent

clay Medium- textured loam Light-textured

soils
Length
Spacing
2
180
0.75
4
120
0.65
6
90
0.55
8
85
0.55
10
75
0.50
Shallow rooted crops or deep soils
2
120
0.60
4
85
0.55
6
70
0.55
8
60
0.50
10
55
0.45

soils
Length
130
90
75
60
50

Spacing
0.75
0.75
0.65
0.55
0.50

90
60
50
45
40

0.60
0.55
0.50
0.45
0.45

sandy

soils
Length
70
45
40
30

Spacing
0.60
0.55
0.50
0.45

45
30

0.45
0.45

Table 23 Maximum non- erosive flow rates that should be used in corrugations of various
slopes (FAO, 1967)
Slope of corrugation
In percent
2
4
6
8
10
12

Maximum flow rate


Liter per second
0.30
0.15
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.05

Gallon per second


5.2
2.5
1.7
1.2
1.0
0.8

83

6.3. Sub-irrigation

In sub-irrigation, water is applied below the ground surface by maintaining an artificial


water table at some depth depending upon the soil texture and the depth of the plant
roots. Water reaches the plant roots through capillary action. Water may be introduced
through open ditches or underground pipelines such as tile drains or mole drains. The
depth of open ditches or trenches varies from 30 to 100 centimeters and they are spaced
about 15 to 30 meters apart. The method is suited to soils having reasonably uniform
texture and permeable enough for water to move rapidly both horizontally and vertically
within and for some distance below the crop root zone. The soil profile must also contain
a barrier against excessive losses through deep percolation, either a nearly impermeable
layer in the substratum or a naturally high water table on which a perched or artificial
water table can be maintained throughout the growing season. Topography must be
smooth and nearly level or the slopes very gentle and uniform. Sub-surface irrigation can
be used for soils having a low water holding capacity and a high infiltration rate where
surface methods can not be used and sprinkler irrigation is expensive. In sub-irrigation, it
is possible to maintain the water level at optimum depths for crop needs at different
growth stages. Evaporation losses from ground surface are held to a minimum. This
method is not common to Ethiopia

6.4. Sprinkler irrigation

84

In the sprinkler method of irrigation, water is sprayed into the air and allowed to fall on
the ground surface somewhat resembling rainfall. The spray is developed by the flow of
water under pressure through small orifices or nozzles. The pressure is usually obtained
by pumping. With careful selection of nozzle sizes, operating pressures and sprinkler
spacing, the amount of irrigation water required to refill the crop root zone can be applied
nearly uniformly at a rate to suit the infiltration rate of the soil, thereby obtaining efficient
irrigation.
Adaptability
Sprinkler irrigation can be used for almost all crops (except rice) and on most soils. It is,
however, not usually suitable in very fine textured soils (heavy clay soils), were the
infiltration rates are less than about 4 mm per hour. The method is particularly suited to
sandy soils that have a high infiltration rate. Soils too shallow to be leveled properly for
surface irrigation methods can be irrigated safely by sprinklers. The flexibility of the
sprinkler equipment and its efficient control of water application make this method
adaptable to most topographic conditions without extensive land preparation.

Land leveling is not essential for irrigation with sprinklers. Soluble fertilizers, herbicides,
and fungicides can be applied in the irrigation water economically and with extra
equipment. Sprinkler irrigation can be used to protect crops against frost and against high
temperatures that reduces the quantity and quality of harvest. Labor costs are usually less
than for surface methods on soils having a high infiltration rate and on steep and rolling
land. More land is available for cropping. Field supplies channels and bunds or ridges are

85

not required. The irrigation method does not interfere with the movement of farm
machinery. It is good in areas where there is water scarcity.

Figure 12 Center pivot sprinklers device during operation


Limitations
Wind distorts sprinkler patterns and causes uneven distribution of water. Ripening soft
fruit must be protected from the spray. The water must be clean and free of sand, debris
and large amounts of dissolved salts. It requires the highest initial investments. High
power requirements since sprinklers are operated with a water pressure of 0.5 to more
than 10 kilograms per square meter.
Types of sprinkler systems
1. Rotating head system
Small size nozzles are placed on riser pipes fixed at uniform intervals along the length of
the lateral pipe. The lateral pipes are usually laid on the ground surface. They may also be
mounted on posts above the crop height and rotated through 90 degree to irrigate a
rectangular strip.
2. Perforated pipe system

86

This method consists of holes perforated in the lateral irrigation pipes in a specifically
designed pattern to distribute water fairly and uniformly. The system is usually designed
for low operating pressures of about 0.5 to 2.5 kg/cm2. The pressure is so low that the
system can be connected to an overhead tank to obtain the necessary pressure head. The
sprays are directed on both sides of the pipe and can cover a strip of land from 6 to 15
meters wide. The water is applied at a relatively high rate, and therefore, it is suitable for
soils having moderately high infiltration rate.

Figure 12 Types of sprinkler irrigation

87

This system is suited for irrigation of lawns, gardens and small vegetable fields and other
plants when the height does not exceed 40 to 60cm. The water should be cleaned through
a filter to prevent clogging of the small perforations.
The advantages are:
-

Requires a little or no land leveling. It can operate on steep or rolling land where
land leveling for surface irrigation is not feasible.

Can be used on highly permeable sandy soil where percolation losses under
surface irrigation are too high.

Works very well on shallow soils, where depth of soil is limited by high water
table, underlain hard pan or other restricting soil layer.

It can be used for light irrigation application to shallow rooted crops, for seed
germination or during stage when roots are still shallow and crop water
requirement is low. This saves water.

Uniformity of water distribution is high

Area required for field ditches and levees is saved and can be used for production.

Does not cause erosion

Water measurement is relatively easy

Has high water application efficiency

Can be used to alleviate the effect of frost on crops

Can be used to create cooling effect

Can be used for application of fertilizer, pesticides and soil amendments.

The disadvantages of this system are:


-

Higher initial cost of equipment

88

Higher operating cost

Requires skilled persons for operation and maintenance

Difficulty in movement of portable pipes across muddy fields

Washes pesticides and fungicides applied on the crop

High evaporation losses during application especially under arid and semi-arid
climate

Under certain climatic conditions encourages diseases

Can cause rotting of some vegetables and fruits and development of fungus

Water distribution efficiency under windy condition is low.

Saline irrigation water can cause burning or death of the plant leaves.

The different types of sprinkler system available are (i) portable (ii) Semi-permanent, (iii)
Permanent (solid set) (iv) spray line (v) Rain gun (vi) Micro sprinkler. The different types
of sprinkler used are boom, towed lateral, towed-gun, wheel mounted, lateral,
automatically moving lateral, center pivot, fixed sprinklers etc. see Figure 12 Water
supply to the sprinklers comes from through a net work of main and sub-main pipe lines
which supply water to laterals and ultimately to sprinklers. The spacing of laterals and
sprinklers on the laterals depends on the pressure available, size of sprinkler nozzles and
wind conditions. To account for wind action and to obtain uniform water distribution, 30
to 40% overlapping of sprinkler range is generally provided in the design of the system

6.5. Localized irrigation

89

Drip irrigation is a system of delivering the required amount of irrigation water into the
soil through small sized openings called emitters (0.2-20l/h) that are attached to the
hosepipes laid directly on the soil surface or buried in the soil (in the case of subsurface
drip system), driving force of water is an external energy source. It is through drip system
that irrigation water can be applied at a very low rate and delivering water directly to the
roots of individual plants as often as desired and at a relatively low cost with a high
degree of uniformity and efficiency (90-95%). The high efficiency of the system resulted
usually from two factors: the first is that the water soaks into the soil before it can
evaporate or runoff. Secondly, the water is only applied where it is needed, near the
plants roots rather than sprayed everywhere. Irrigation scheduling can be precisely
managed to meet crop water demands. Since the applied water has no contact with crop
leaves, stems and fruits, thus, conditions may be less favorable for the incidence of
diseases and related crop damages, in addition, agricultural chemical fertilizer;
insecticides can also be applied through the irrigation water and reduced labor cost for the
application of fertilizer fertigation is used to describe the injection of fertilizers into
the irrigation system with the ultimate objective of distributing fertilizers directly into the
wetted soil volume to enhance nutrient uptake of plants and increase crop yields and
minimize environmental pollution. In addition, it is adaptable to all pressurized irrigation
systems. Under pressurized irrigation systems, fertigation is considered as an integral part
of plant nutrient management because such irrigation systems allow development of
concentrated and space limited root systems within the wetted soil volume).

90

Drip system suitable for cultivation of edible and ornamental plants with high
commercial values. Such as widely spaced fruit crops papaya, banana, guava and citrus,
closely spaced vegetable crops, and flowers. The volume of soil irrigated by each drip
emitter and the water flow along the soil profile are a function of the characteristics of the
soil /texture and hydraulic conductivity / and the discharge rate of the drip emitter. In
coarse textured soils, such as clay, the infiltration rate is low and there is more horizontal
movement, since the spaces between the clay particles are small and there is a strong
capillary movement.

The first drops from the dripper are quickly absorbed in the soil, since the movement of
water in dry soils is faster than in wet soils. After sometimes a small puddle is formed
under the dripper. In heavy soils, where the infiltration rate is lower, this puddle will be
larger, causing more sideward movement of the water. This facilitated by the capillary
force working against the gravitational force. As a result, the spacing as well as the
intervals between irrigations in sandy soils will be smaller than in clay soils and the
volume wetted by the drippers will be smaller than the soil volume available to the plants.
Water applications are usually frequent 1-3 days to provide a favorable moisture level to
the plants to flourish. Therefore, the intervals between irrigations and the application per
irrigation will be smaller than with other methods. This characteristic is unique to this
system. See also table 24
Adaptation and Limitation of the system
Adaptation

91

Uniform distribution of water and increased crop yields since the soil moisture
can be kept an optimum level.
Efficient use of the available water since precise water application and this
attributes made attractive particularly in areas experiencing scarcity of water or
when it is expensive.
Possibility for fertilizer and other chemicals application.
Reduced labour costs cultural practices such as weeding can be performed when
the plants are being irrigated. Since it is automated it can be automatically turn on
or off whenever required
Table 24 Typical irrigation requirements under well designed and managed drip, sprinkler
and furrow irrigation systems (mm/day).
Net crop

Irrigation

Irrigation

Irrigation requirement

water

requirement/drip

requirement/Sprinkler

/furrow method/

demand
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
5.0
5.5
6.0

method/
3.3
3.9
4.4
5.0
5.6
6.1
6.7

method
4.3
5.0
5.7
6.4
7.1
7.9
8.6

5.0
5.8
6.7
7.5
8.3
9.2
10.0

92

Figure 13 Drip systems showing localized application of water near the plant (Tomato)

Low energy requirement: lower operational water pressure required for drip
systems, particularly the pressure in the sub-mains and laterals is usually between
10 and 20 m. This allows the use of thinner walled and cheaper pipes.
Possibility of using saline water resources and reduced salinity hazard: Since the
drip lines are placed close to a row of plants, the root zone tends to be relatively
free of salt accumulations as the salts always accumulate towards the edge of the
wetted area. See also figure 14
Possibility of using marginal lands with soils such as porous and shallow depth.
Physical soil conditions are maintained: When water is applied through the drip
irrigation system only certain portion of soil volume is wetted and these allows
performing cultural practices such as weeding and cultivation, pest control
operations and other agricultural activities whenever required without causing any
delay and doesnt affect the final crop yields.
Well suited to small and varied plot sizes

93

Weeds and pests problems are maintained at minimum: Since drip irrigation
partially wetted the soil, the growth of weeds decreases and consequently the
weed competition for nutrients, light and water is reduced.
Well adopted to sloping lands and irregular topographies without causing erosion
Lesser amount of tillage operations and a possibility of uninterrupted operation
Partial wetting of the soil surface reduced the weed infestation and as a result land
preparation frequency is reduced.

Figure 14 Leaching of salt in the active root zone and Salt distribution in the wetted soil

Limitation with drip irrigation


Initial cost is high: A conventional drip irrigation system typically cost about
5,000-10,000 USD/ha. However, recent advances have introduced some
adaptations in the systems that allow accessibility of the system to small-scale
farmers. Today, simple drip irrigation systems exist, which would cost about
200-400 USD for the area covering 500m2 and even less.
Need skilled labour in design, management and maintenance.

94

Clogging of emitters and lateral blockage, clogging of emitters is the most


serious problem associated with drip irrigation resulted in poor water
distribution along the drip laterals and this affects normal plant growth and
distribution efficiency of the system.
Restricted root zone, particularly in areas of low rainfall, plant root activity is
mainly limited to the upper soil layer wetted by the drip emitters, usually a
much smaller volume of soil than the one wetted by full-coverage of sprinkler
or surface irrigation systems.
Salt accumulation in the active root zone, unlike surface and sprinkler irrigation
systems that can flush out salts below the crop root zone, surface drip irrigation
systems tend to move salts to the outer edge of the wetted volume of soils and
soil surface.
Exposed to mechanical damages: The laterals, which are placed above ground,
can be damaged by the interference of people, cultivations, birds and animals.
Lack of influence on the microclimate. Sprinkler system lower temperature and
increase humidity in dry days and during frost sprinkler raise the temperature
Poor germination, drip irrigation suits to most row planted crops. But the system is not
suited to very closely seeded crops such as clover, alfalfa, carrots, radish and short cycle
cereals such as teff and the like in Ethiopian condition
Components of a drip irrigation system
There are different kinds of drip irrigation systems varying in detail. However, the basic
components of any drip irrigation system are:-

95

1. Water source:- are discussed in the previous section since most of the time this system
need external energy to bring the necessary pressure pumps of different size used (see
section for pump) system it provides the amount of water required at the required
pressure;
2. The control head
This is a vital part of the system and much care should be taken in its planning. The size
of the head and its location depend on the size of field, topography, the water source, the
necessary discharge and the desired irrigation schedules. The head should be stable and
anchored with materials available in the localities. Usually control head consists of
valves, a fertilizer injector and water measuring and controlling devices
i. Valves
Control valves used to regulate the water flow, the main valve is used to shout every
thing off. Water meters as well as automatic water-metering valves are used to measure
and control water supply to the various sectors.

A backflow prevention or antisiphon

valve is required in order to avoid the backflow of water after the fertilizer of other
chemicals is injected in to the irrigation system. Air- release (relief valves) have to be
installed at higher points of the system in order to avoid interference with water flow
Vacuum breakers are used to avoid the collapse of pipe in steep slopes, they are
particularly necessary in subsurface drip irrigation system to avoid suction of soil
particles into the drippers after shutdown on the water supply.
ii. Flow meter/water measuring device
The water meter is parts of the control head and can be used to measure the water flowing
on to the fields. There are instrument which operate mechanically, hydraulically and

96

electronically. The basic instrument is the automatic volumetric valve, which is set
manually, and turn- off automatically when a certain amount of water has applied.
iii. Injection equipment
Injection is used to apply fertilizers and chemicals through the irrigation water in the drip
lines. These injectors (piston-type, motor driven) may be dependent on the water
pressure. The prevention of fertilizer polluting the water supply is usually carried out by a
one way (non-return) valve and a vacuum valve. It is important to situate on the highest
point in the field as it is a part the control head.
iv. Filtration
Drip emitters have small openings that are easily clogged. Therefore, due to this narrow
water passageways and low water-velocity, prevention requires a high kevel of filtration.
Inorganic materials such as sand, silt, clay and chemical precipitates, organic materials
such as algae and bacterial slimes, can clog the passageways

Filters may be cartridge.

Screen, disc suction screen, centrifugal Separator, gravity flow of sand or grave filter type
can be used separately or in combination, depending on the quality of the irrigation water
and the level of filtration required. Their manufactures describe the various filters and it
will be important to refer the specifications of the manufactures. The best type to use
depends on the type and size of particles suspended in the water to be used for irrigation.
Filtration can also be done by using a simple filter placed between the source of water
and the irrigation lines, like in the case of filters used in the drip irrigation systems for
smallholder farmers. The filter may be installed before the valve or pressure regulator,
but the inexpensive plastic filters often used should be installed after the pressure
regulator.

97

v. Pressure regulator
It maintain correct pressure and discharges in the system the reasons for using regulators
are to dictate and adjust higher pressure than necessary in the system, pressure
fluctuations, as a result of topographical difference between sections in the field
A pressure regulator is installed immediately down stream of the secondary filter to
reduce the pressure to the required head; Regulators allow the use of thinner pipe and
regulated drippers as well as the use of longer literals. Two types of pressure regulators
are available, which keep the same pressure with different discharges and which keep the
same discharge at different pressures. Each regulator has an optimal range of discharges.
For instance pressure regulators are efficient for discharge up to 4-5 m 3/ hr and for
higher discharge larger regulators are needed.
3. Main and sub- main lines
Pipes are the backbone of the pressurized irrigation system. Water moves through the
pipes to the field and is delivered to the laterals and drippers, which distribute the water
to plants. The main line is the pipe that goes from the water source to the valves, which
are made of different materials such as galvanized steel, aluminum, asbestos and plastic
materials. Polyethylene has a low burst pressure and should only be used for mainlines
where local conditions are appropriate.
Drip lateral lines
Drip lines are made from low density polyethylene tubes with diameters of 8-25 mm.
How over, the most common drip lines are in the range of 12-20 mm in diameter. Flow
rates along the drip line tend to drop and therefore, there is a higher risk of clogging of
the drip emitters by particles carried out by the water. Specifications by the manufacture,

98

results of research and local experience will guide you to select the size and length of drip
laterals required. The longer the lateral the greater the amount of water required to fill the
tube to generate the pressure required to regulate the discharge.
There are different types of connectors between the sub-mains and manifolds and the
laterals. The connectors have to withstand the working pressure as well as pressure spikes
and water hammers. Two basic types of drip laterals are used. Thick walled laterals
with on-line or in-line discrete drippers and thin-walled tapes with turbulent flow inherent
water passageway molded in to the tape during the extrusion process. Thick-walled
laterals have a PN of 1-2 bar (10-20 m) ,and tapes have a PN range from (0.4-10m) the
density of plants in the field usually determines spacing between emitters, then following
this the soil type and water quality are considered. Emitter spacing for an integral drip
lines range from 5 to 90 cm, with 30 cm being quite common for field crops and 90 cm
for orchard crops. When the soil allows for lateral spread of water and the quality of
water is good, it is possible to install a single drip line between plant rows. However, for
porous soils like that of a sandy soil, each plant is planted next to the drip emitter.
Because the lateral movement of water is very limited and the vertical movement under
gravity is dominating. Flushing the drip lateral lines provide a cleansing action for the
drip system. To flush the lateral, water is allowed to flow freely out of the end the lateral
line. This momentarily increases the velocity of water inside the lateral, thus flushing
sediments from the lateral line.
4. Drip emitters
Common drip emitters have flow rates in the range of 0.5 -15 1/hr at the standard
pressure of 1 atmosphere. The average difference in emitter discharge rates between

99

individual emitters and the lateral should not exceed 10%. Some emitters are selfcleaning and others can be opened for cleaning. Information on the emitters resistance to
clogging is supplied by the manufactures but should be supported by research data and
local experiences. A clogged emitter can be maintained by rubbing emitter vigorously
with fingers or against it self, bellowing in it, or trying to force water out of the outlet.
They are made of plastic, such as polyethylene or polypropylene. The drippers can be
classified according to working principle, discharge, type structure, working pressure,
durability, and regulated discharge. Depending on the type and structure of drippers, there
are two main types of drippers, which can be inserted or mounted on the laterals these are
on line and in- line drippers.
i. In-line drippers
In the in-line drippers individual emitters are already installed inside the drip tubing as
part of the tubing flow path with drip emitters ends on either side. The drip emitter ends
connected to each other by a lateral segment to produce the required drip line. There are
drippers that fit in to 12 mm, 16 mm, and 20 mm, polyethylene pipes and with nominal
discharge of 1, 2, 4 and 81/hr
ii. On line button drippers
The on-line button drippers that grooved cones inserted in to the lateral through punched
holes. These drippers can be inserted into the pipe of different diameters, usually more
than 16 mm. these types of emitters are suitable for field crops as well as orchards and
landscape irrigation.
iii. Integral drip emitters

100

Integral drip line drippers are inserted into the pipe during the manufacturing process and
are an integral part of the lateral. This product can be used only as drip line, the drippers
can be of ~maze~ type with or without regulations, with discharge of less than 1-10 1/hr.
The pipe diameters are generally not that of the standard size and range between 15-20
mm. The main advantage is that it is a continuous smooth pipe, which is easy to unroll
and wind up both manually and mechanically. The disadvantage is that when a dripper is
clopped, a piece of the pipe must be cut out and replaced by new section. Integra drip
lines are mainly for field crops and orchard irrigation. Regulated drippers were developed
that keep the same discharge within a certain pressure range. Generally between 0.6 and
40 m, this is usually accomplished with a diaphragm. There are regulated drippers of all
three types mentioned above. The regulated drippers allow uniform discharge in difficult
topography and, when there is enough pressure, longer laterals. Most drippers work at
about 4 atmospheres, while unregulated drippers work at less than 1 atmosphere.

6.5.1. Small-scale drip irrigation systems

It is a low- pressure system intended for a family plot and no central pressurized water
system or power source is required, and the technical level is such that it is easy to
manage. This system is being used in some parts of Africa, the Chapin bucket kit, the
waterboys bucket by resource poor farmer with success. It operates under pressures of
0.5-25m head. The coverage area determines the water pressure required to overcome
friction losses associated with water delivery and filtration. In low-pressure systems,
water containers such as buckets/ drums, raised 0.5-1.5m above the ground, are used as

101

header water tanks to enable the filling of the container manually by pails or, hand
pumps.
Common preparation requirements and features are as follows:

1. Initially it will be important to prepare the land to be irrigated. This could be


simple land preparation or involve the formation of planting beds.
2. Construct the water container stand firmly to hold the container with full water at
the required height and this gives the height necessary to provide the water
pressure required to operate the system;
3. Mount the required accessories with the system such as water outlet ,water
filtration and flow regulator fittings
4. Lay out the water distribution system components that connect the water
container to the individual drip lines and make sure that the open ends are closed
in order to avoid foreign material entering the pipe;
5. Unroll the drip lines and lay them along the full length of each row of plants to be
irrigated;
6. Connect the drip lines with the water distribution system;
7. Flush the system to remove any foreign matter that may have entered the pipeline;
8. Close the end of the drip lines in order to avoid foreign material entering the pipe.

It must be emphasized that any training or advice on the use of drip irrigation kits
should not only cover actual kit installation and maintenance, but also all aspects of
crop management practices should be given equal emphasis. This will give a chance

102

to participants to acquire basic knowledge in the application and overall management


practices.
Water management

1. Maintain an optimum soil-moisture regime by applying the required amount of


water at the right frequency. In this case, shallow sandy soils require more
frequent irrigation 1-2 days interval, while deep clay loam soils require less
frequent irrigation 3-7 days interval;
2. During early stages of growth the plant roots are shallow and therefore, there is a
need of applying water more frequently, but with less water per irrigation;
3. During critical periods of crop growth stages, particularly at flowering and fruit
setting for most crops, there is a need to ensure adequate moisture to avoid
moisture stress;
Planting
1. In order to plant crops where they can best benefit from the water supplied by the
emitters, it is vital to pre irrigate the field and then planting the crop in the
wetted circle of soil;
2. Apply the required amount of manure in the planting hole, wherever available in
order to increase crop yields and parallely, improve the soil structure and water
holding capacity of the soil.

6.5.2. Common low pressure drip systems


i. Bucket systems (Chapin, waterboys, IDE kit are some)

103

The standard kit system consists of two drip lines placed 0.5 m apart on a bed with a
width of 1 m. a bucket is placed on a stand at one end of the bed and connected to the
drip lines. These bucket systems can irrigate 10-20 m2, depending on the length of the
drip tube and plant spacing. The bucket should be filled with water once in the morning
and once in the afternoon to supply 30-60 liters of water to the crop per day. The actual
amount of water to be applied depends on the crop water requirements and rainfall. In
very dry areas and during the dry season 60 liters of water will be required per day.
Despite, there simplicity, bucket systems are extremely successful, saving precious water
and labour needed to water each plant individually. Furthermore, it has been shown that
plants that are grown under the bucket drip irrigation system have higher yields the
average cost of this kit is about 150 ETB.
(a) Water boys drip system
Waterboys have adapted drip irrigation technology and developed a bucket kit for
smallholder farmers in Uganda (see figure 15). The kit comprises of one 30-litre bucket
and 2*10 m of drip tubes connected to water distribution manifold. The drip outlets in
standard kit are spaced at 30 cm. Since no filter is included in the system, it requires
water that has already been filtered for irrigation. This may not be the case in many
instant in our case tie a clean cloth on the mouth of the bucket and always pour the water
required for irrigation through it.

104

Figure 15 Waterboys bucket system


Assembly instructions

Prepare the planting bed 1 m wide x 10 m long;

Construct a bucket stand and mount the bucket on its stand

Lay the pipes since all the pipes are connected, one only need to lay them out on
the bed;

Connect the manifold to the bucket with a snap in collar;

Connect the two drip lines to the tee joint.

ii. Drum systems


The standard drum kit system comprises a drum, control valve, a manifold and drip
lines. The drum should be filled with the valve in closed position. During irrigation it
is important to open the valve fully since it allows the water to be distributed quickly
through the drip lies and allows for good water distribution.
KARI-drum kit drip system

105

This is adapted from the Chapin bucket kit and involves a drum of about 200 liters
capacities or equivalent of five bucket drip irrigation systems. Acquiring this system cost
on average 1000 ETB.

Figure 16 KARI-drum system adapted from Chapins bucket kit

Assembly instructions
1. Prepare a rectangular area 7.5 m wide and 16 m long;
2. Demarcate the position of beds and paths to accommodate 5 beds each having
1 m wide and 15 m long and leave 20 cm space for walking between beds;
3. Connect the manifold by cutting the pipe into 3 pieces each 1.25 m long;
4. Use PVC glue for leak-proof fitting and wait the required time to allow
bonding;
5. Lay out the drip tapes on the beds, two lines per beds and insert the filter
plugs into the open ends of the outlets in the manifold;
6. Finally, connect one end of the connector tubing to the filter plug and insert
the barb fitting to the other end. Connect the drip tube to the drip lock fitting.

106

iii. Family drip system


The drip tube is made from heavy-duty polyethylene pipes /inside diameter 6 mm,
outside diameter 8 mm for low-pressure performance giving a drip emitter flow rate of
0.65 l/h at 1 m pressure. The drip outlets are spaced at 30 cm. The system costs about
1,500 and 3,000 ETB for 500 m 2 and 1,000 m2 respectively. Family drip system consists
of 920-litre plastic water tank; 1 inch screen filter/120 mesh/; control valve; 20 m * 40
mm pipe; 14 drip line start connectors for pipe; 14 insert connectors for drip line; 14 drip
line end closures and 800m*8mm drip line (see also figure 17.).

Figure 17 Family drip systems

107

Figure 18 indicating a farmer working in his family drip system

Micro Tal system:- The system was developed in Israel. It is gravity system that is
adapted to take advantage of the benefits of the drip irrigation method without requiring
expensive water pressure system. The system consists of 920 liters drum; gravity filter;
capillary micro tube 4 mm out side diameter; low flow in line drip emitters 16 mm PE
pipe and 16 mm x 4 mm connectors.

Figure 19 Micro-Tal drip systems


108

Assembly instructions
1. Prepare a 60 m x 20 m garden to be irrigated by making planning beds as
required.
2. Lay out a 16-mm PE pipe along the longer sides of the garden and every 20 m
connect the feeder lines with 16 mm pipe. This makes a network water delivery
system that essentially divides the garden into three 20 m x 20m units.
3. Locate the tank at the upper end of the garden. Unroll 20 m lengths of the 4 mm
capillary micro-tube along the length of the garden.
4. Cut the micro-tube according to crop spacing and connect the inline Micro- Tal
drip emitters
5. Connect drip lines to feeder lines with female connectors using the snap in collar.
6. Connect the set to a drum on platform 0.5-1 m high.
7. Connect the gravity filter inside the drum.
Plastro system
The plastro system developed in Israel as a low pressure drip irrigation system with high
water efficiency, clogging resistance and durability. The system consists of 920-litre
water tank; screen filter /120 mesh/; control valve; 24m x 32mm PE pipe; 2 x 32mm
bends ; 2 x 32mm equal tees; 16 drip line start connectors; 16 drip line end closures and
600 m standard 16 mm drip tube.

109

Figure 20 Plastro system

6.5.3. Design drip (Low pressure) irrigation system

When designing new drip irrigation systems there are a number of parameters that should
be considered
1. The systems discharge capacity should be compared to peak water demand of the
crop.
2. Necessary information must be gathered, topic discussed in crop water
requirement estimation in the earlier section,
3. The maximum pressure differential is 20 % and the maximum allowed difference
in the flow rate between emitters in the plot is 10%. Therefore, the head loss, both
in the secondary and the laterals, must be included. The relationship between
pressure and discharge can be found in the manufacturers catalogue. Calculation
of head losses when water flows in pipes is the primary step in the design of the

110

system. It is recommended to analyze several alternatives, Comparing initial


investment cot, labour and energy expenses
4. The number of emitters to be used per unit of area is determined primarily by the
crop type and its planting distance and consequently the plant density. As a
general guideline, 2 emitters are used per plant at minimum. However, trees or
fruits may need more. Usually, using two emitters per plant gives an opportunity
for a back up if one clogs up. On the other hand, if plants are close together one
may need even one emitter per plant in order to maintain the minimum spacing
between emitters. Minimum spacing for emitters is at least 45 cm apart under
80% of the leaf canopy of the plant. That is where the roots are and the roots need
water. Therefore, when deciding on the distance between the drippers, the
principle is to supply equal amounts of water and fertilizer to each plant. This
decision should be based in the results of field trials.
5. In orchards, one or two laterals per row of trees are used. In medium to heavy soil
the spacing between the drippers is 0.8-1.2 m. In order to save water and have less
weed competitions in the first two years, sometimes only two drippers per tree are
installed initially. But as the tree grows requires more water and additional
drippers can be added later.
6. For field crops, in medium to heavy soils one lateral per row or one lateral per
two rows is used. The distance between the drippers in the lateral is 1.0-1.25 m.
But on the same soil types for vegetable crops, one lateral is used with one or two
rows per bed and two laterals with four rows per bed. The distance between the

111

drippers is 0.5-1.0 m. In general, in sandy soils the distance between drippers


should be smaller than in heavy soils.
7. The application rate of drippers depends on the distance between drippers and the
distance between laterals. This can be calculated using the following formula:
Application rate, mm/hr = q/(De*DI)
Where, q= dripper discharge (l/hr), De= distance between drippers (m) and
DI=distance between laterals (m)
Sample calculation 1
Given: Dripper discharge = 4 l/hr distance between drippers =1 m; and distance between
laterals is equal to 2 m, and calculate the application rate in mm/hr Solution: application
rate, mm/h = 4 l/hr/(1m*6m) = 0.67 mm/hr
Net daily crop water requirement (mm/day or m3 /ha/day)
= Daily evaporation (mm)* crop coefficient *10
Gross daily water requirement (mm/day or m3 /ha/day) =
Net daily crop water requirement /application efficiency
Net daily water requirement per irrigated area (mm/day or m3/day) =
= Net daily requirement *irrigated area
Gross hourly water requirement =gross daily requirement divided by the number of water
supply hours. Supply hours never exceed 20 hours per day. The extra hours are set aside
for maintenance.
Sample calculation 2
The following data are collected to design a drip system to produce Tomato:
Using those given values Design of drip irrigation system for tomato field production

112

Maximum daily evaporation during the irrigation season: 4.9 mm


Crop coefficient: 0.75;
The daily irrigation area: 30ha;
Application efficiency: 90 %
Available water supply hours per day: 14 hours;
Net daily crop water requirement = 4.9 mm/day * 0.75 = 3.675 mm/day and 3.675
mm/day * 10 =36.75 m3/ha/day;
Gross daily crop water requirement: 36.75 m3/ha/day/ 90 % = 40.83 m3//ha/day;
Gross daily crop water requirement per irrigated area =
= 40.83 m3/ha/day * 30 ha = 1225 m3/day;
Hourly water demand: 1225 m3/day/14h/day = 87.5 m3/h;
Crop data, Crop: Tomato, Variety Marglobe, Area = 10.4 ha
Spacing =20cm between plant, Irrigation season (main)
Harvest, Active root depth, Maximum allowed water depletion, Highest crop coefficient:
Soil data
Soil texture: loam clay, Depth: 1.20- 1.50m, Bulk density: 32 %, Wilting point: 15 %,
Available water: 17 %, Wetted soil volume diameter /by a single dripper/: 80 cm
Climatic data
Peak season daily pan evaporation = 8 mm, Water supply data, Maximum supply hours =
14 hours a day, Maximum available hourly discharge = 100 m3/h, ECw , 1.2 dS/m
Chloride content: 150 mg/l
Estimation of peak season water demand:
1. ETm = EP *area = 8 mm/day * 10.4 ha = 83.2 mm/day = 832 m3/day

113

( 1 mm = 10 m3/ha).
2. Average hourly demand: ETm/Max. Supply hours = 832/14 = 59.43 m3/h.
The initial alternatives are Netafim in-line non- compensated 122 dripper (OD = 12 mm)
with flow rate of 2.1 l/hi at 10 m head and 2.6 l/hr at 15 m head, spaced 1 m on the
lateral. The second alternative is Ram 16 compensated dripper (OD= 16 mm) with flow
rate of 1.2 l/hr, spaced 50 cm on the lateral.
Dripper manufacturers publish data about the maximum allowed length for drip laterals
on flat land, keeping drippers flow rate variation due to friction in laterals within 10%(+/5% of the average).
Table25 Manufacturer data about the allowed lateral length of Netafim in line
drippers maximum lateral length (m) on level ground at 10 % flow rate variation.

Lateral Type , mm Flow rate

Dripper spacing ,m
0.40 0.50 0.60 0.80 1.00 1.25 1.50

0.30
l/hr
121
12**
1.0
47
60
73
84
106 127 150
122
2.0
30
38
46
54
68
87
96
124
4.0
19
25
31
36
45
54
63
161
16***
1.0
83
104 124 142 176 207 242
170
1.5
63
79
95
108 164 158 185
162
2.0
53
66
79
91
112 133 156
164
4.0
35
44
52
60
75
88
103
168
8.0
22
27
33
37
47
55
65
*Distal pressure==10m,**OD = 12.5 mm/ID =10.1 mm, ***OD= 15.8 mm/ID = 13.2

171
111
73
274
210
177
117
73

Ram 16 pc (OD 16 mm) ,Flow rate- 2.3 l/hr ,allowed lateral length (m), distal head =10m
Head in
Dripper spacing, m
0.15
0.20 0.25 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60 0.80
1.00
1.20
inlet (m)
15
38
50
61
72
93 113 132 168
201
235
20
44
57
70
83 107 130 152 193
231
275
25
48
63
77
91 118 143 168 214
255
305
30
52
68
83
99 128 155 181 230
276
325
114

35
55
72
89
105 136 165 193 246
40
58
76
94
111 143 174 203 259
Source: Drip irrigation, second edition, Moshe Sne, Israel, 2005.

294
310

351
376

Drippers and laterals are chosen according to the manufacturers data. The table
presenting in line dripper hydraulic data shows that for laterals of type 122 with
drippers spaced at 1 m , a length of 80 m is marginal . To be on the safe side, it is
recommended to choose the type 162 dripper lateral with 16 mm OD tube instead of a
12mm OD that has the same flow rate as the 122 dripper. The maximum allowed length
of these laterals at 1 m spacing is 133 m instead of 87 m.

The design process includes two phases. In the first phase, head loss is calculated from
the tail to the head of the plot using average values of head and flow rate. In the second
phase, the design is checked, going from the head to the distal end. At this stage, the
calculation relates to precise data. The map of the plot is divided into sectors and detailed
calculations are performed on each pipe segment. The data have to be registered in the
design form. Head losses in accessories are calculated using the data of equivalent length
indicating head losses in a virtual pipe of the same diameter as that of the accessory. Most
manufacturers provide table and monograms of head losses in their products. In the
absence of detailed data about head losses in these accessories, a total head loss in the
control head of 5-10m is assumed.
Table26 Irrigation scheduling estimation for annual crops (Tomato)
Crop: Tomato;
A Parameter

Soil type :loams

Growing period
Irrigation method :drip
Growth stages

115

Establishment Vegetative
B

Individual
growth

14

Flowering Fruiting

Maturity

development
30

20

30

70

29/6-28/7

29/7-17/8

18/8-

17/9-

25

30

16/9
35

25/11
35

stage

length , days
Growing period , 15-28/6

dates
Wetted

percentage
Anticipated

20

rainfall ,mm
Rainfall

50

efficiency ,%
Effective

10

rainfall , mm
Average daily

5.5

6.5

7.0

6.5

5.5

mm/day
Total evaporation 77

195

140

195

385

per stage ,mm


Precipitation

195

140

195

385

area 15

evaporation,

67

balance per stage,


K

mm
Field capacity

18

per Wt.,%
Table 26 cont
L

Wilting point per

12

Wt., %
116

M Available water,

%Wt.
Bulk density

g/cm3
Available water,

%volume
Average root

20

50

80

100

100

zone depth, cm
Available water 18

45

72

90

90

40

30

40

50

1.5

in root- zone ,
R

mm
Allowed

40

depletion
S

percentage,%
Allowed water 1.4

17.2

36

45

deficit , mm
Crop coefficient 0.2

0.5

0.6

0.9

0.8

per stage
Average

3.25

4.2

5.85

5.6

water use, mm
Interval between 1

irrigations , days
Net water dose 10

65

168

351

448

daily 1

per irrigation ,
X

m3/ha
Irrigation

50

70

80

90

90

,efficiency , %
Gross
water 20

93

210

390

498

volume

per

117

application

m3/ha
Source drip irrigation, second edition, moshe Sne, lsrael, 2005.

6.5.4. General Maintenance guide for all types of drip system

Drip irrigation requires careful; maintenance. Particular should be given to the weak
points of the system:
The narrow water passageways in the drippers are prone to clogging;
Using a piping system of low working pressure renders it highly sensitive to
pressure spikes;
The filtering systems are sensitive to clogging by dirt load, which increases head
losses and may decrease the filtration system performance;
Sediments accumulate at the distal ends of manifolds and laterals. Routine
flushing is therefore, essential.
The best maintenance policy is to inspect the whole system periodically and
systematically.
The time interval between inspections depends on the water quality and attributes of the
systems components. Inspection may be weekly, monthly, or twice a year in favorable
conditions.
Monitoring drip irrigation performance (of any kind; be it manufactured abroad or locally
made) is not an easy task. The low flow emitters do note facilitate visual observation of
application uniformity, particularly of sub surface drip systems, where laterals are buried

118

under ground. Nevertheless, there are some procedures that can be implemented to
roughly maintain performance:
1.

The first step is to check the hourly flow rate at the main water mater and
compare it with the designed flow rate (the number of emitters multiplied by the
drippers nominal flow rate). Deviation from the designed floe rate is an
indication that there are problems in the system. Flow rates lower than the
calculated value indicates possible clogging .A flow rate that is higher than the
calculated value is an indicator o f possible rupture of the main line or manifolds
as well as torn or punctured of laterals.

2.

The second step is to check all the pressure gauges installed in the plot and
compare the measured values to the designed pressure for each set. If a high
flow rate variance is suspected, on farm inspection of dripper flow rate
uniformity should be performed. The minimum number of drippers in the sample
is 20. The recommended number is 40-50. Once measured, the DU can be
calculated. If the calculated DU value is unacceptable, the drippers should be
cleaned with acid, flushed with pressurized air or replaced. The system should be
rechecked after the treatment as well.

3.

Visual indicators of inadequate system performance are random stressed plants,


surface run-off, surfacing in SDI and white salt spots on the soil surface.

4.

Protective measures are filtering, chlorination, acidification and flushing.

5.

If the system includes a pumping unit, this is subject to wear and requires
periodic lubrication. Periodic pump testing, every five years guarantees longlasting performance of the system.

119

6.

Pressure regulators are based on spring resistance or hydraulic equilibrium


maintenance. Springs are weakened after prolonged operation and should be
inspected and calibrated once every two years.

7.

Vacuum relief valves perform an important function in drip systems. When the
irrigation is turned-off, the water that remains in the system flows downhill to
the lowest outlets. The water vacating the high points creates a vacuum, which
causes the emitters in this section of the plot to suck in air and dirt. In extreme
cases, PVC mainlines and thin-wall laterals may collapse. Vacuum relief valves,
installed at the high points of the system, are prone to clogging and need
periodic inspection to guarantee that no solid objects are caught inside and that
they are not stuck in the open or shutdown position.

8.

The collectors of sand separators, should be purge periodically, otherwise the


excess of accumulated sand reduces separation efficiency.

9.

The filtration system should be thoroughly inspected. In many filter types, the
steel body coated with epoxy paint to protect from corrosion. Screen filters
should be opened and the screens visually inspected for wear, tear and blockage
by organic matter, silt and precipitates. The same is relevant for disk- type filters.
If the filter is the manual cleaning type , the should be cleaned carefully when
the pressure difference between its inlet and outlet exceeds 5 m. Automatic backflushing filters require periodic visual.

Back- flushing filters components,

hydraulic valves, solenoids and rotating brushes or vacuum devices may require
periodic servicing and lubrication.

120

10. In water containing organic matter, iron, sulfur and manganese bacteria, routine
oxidation by chlorine is essential. Chlorination can be accomplished
continuously with 2-5 ppm of active chlorine or intermittently as a shock
treatment when there is a high build up of slime in the system.
11. Periodic flushing of mainline, manifolds and drip laterals is an essential
maintenance practice. The best way of manual flushing is to release the lateral
end stoppers one after another and let the dirt water exit until clean water
appears. Automatic line flushing valves can be installed at lateral ends, which
automatically flush the laterals at the beginning of each irrigation cycle.
12. Fertigation system performance should also be checked in order to control
excessive fertilization that can induce salinity damage and leaching down of
nutrients beyond the active root-zone.

6.6. Selection criteria of irrigation Methods.


The selection of right irrigation method is most important as wrong choice could lead to
failure of the irrigation scheme. It can cause soil erosion, water logging, and soil
salinization, thus cause serious damage to the soil in addition to waste of scares resources
used for the installation of the irrigation system. Irrigation projects differ widely from one
another in soil types, topography, climatic conditions, and choice of crops and availability
of water resources. Similarly, each of the irrigation method discussed above are suitable
only under a given set of conditions. It is, therefore, extremely important to select a
method that is most suitable under a given set of conditions prevailing in a particular
environment. The selected method should optimize crop production and conserve soil and
water. Some guidelines for the selection of irrigation method / methods are provided in

121

tables 27. The selection of suitable irrigation method /methods can also be made by
allotting appropriate grade points to each of the factors that influence different irrigation
methods and finally adding up the grade points. The method/ method scoring the highestgrade points is most suitable for the given set of conditions. The irrigation method /
methods getting zero point for any of the factors considered should not be considered for
selection. If more than one-irrigation methods score the same grade points, the one with
lower standard deviation is preferred. The over all grade points can be calculated as:Overall grade point = sum of grade point/ no. of factors considered

Table 27 Guide for Selecting a method of irrigation (FAO, 1984)


Irrigati Topography

Crops

Remarks

on
metho
d
Widel

Land slopes capable of being deep rooted close The most desirable surface method for irrigating

graded to less than 1% slope growing crops and where topographical conditions are favorable. Even

spaced

and preferably 0.2%

orchards

of irrigation is required on flat land and is desirab

border

slopes of more than 0.5%. Grade changes should

grades must be avoided. Cross slope is permissib

differences in elevation between border strips of 6-9

122

Closel

Land slopes capable of being Pastures

Especially adapted to shallow soils underlain by

graded to 4%slope or less and

have a lower water intake rate. Even grade in the di

spaced

preferably less than 1%

desirable but not essential. Sharp grade change

border

should be smoothed out. Cross slop is permissib

differences in elevation between borders of 6-9cm.

may have less width a greater total cross slope is


Check

Land slopes capable of being Fruit

border irrigated alfalfa.


This method is especially designed to obtain ade

back

graded to0.2%slop or less

penetration of moisture in soils with low water intak

and
cross
furrow
s
Corru-

Land slopes capable of being Alfalfa, pasture and This method is especially adapted to steep land

gation

graded

0.5%and 12%

to

slopes

between grain

streams. An even grade in the direction of irrigatio

essential. Sharp grade changes and reverse grade

smoothed out. Due to the tendency of corrugations


Grade

Variable land slopes of 2.25% Row crops and fruit

and cause serious erosion,


Especially adapted to row crops on steep land, tho

but preferably less

possible erosion from heavy rainfall. Unsuitable for

contou

or soils that crack excessively. Actual grade in the

0.5-1.5%.No grading required beyond filling gu

furrow

abrupt ridges.

s
Conto

Irregular slopes up to 12%

Hay,

pasture

and Especially adapted to foothill conditions. Require

123

ur

grain

grading.

ditches
Rectan Land slopes capable of being Orchards

Especially adapted to soils that have either a relativ

gular

graded so single or multiple tree

intake rate. May require considerable grading

checks

basins will be leveled within 6

(levees cm
)

Table 27 Cont

Contour

Slightly irregular Fruit,

levee

land slopes than grain


1%

rice, Reduces the need to grade land.


and Frequently

forage crops

employed

to

avoid

altogether the necessity of grading.


Adapted best to soils that have either

a high or low intake rate.


pasture Especially adapted to

Portable

Irregular slopes Hay,

pipes

up to 12%

and grain

Sub-

Smooth-flat

surface grading.
Shallow rooted Requires a water

irrigation

conditions. Requires little or no


table,

very

crops such as permeable subsoil conditions and


potatoes

Sprinkler

foothill

Undulating
1>35%slope

grass
All crops

or precise leveling. Very few areas


adapted to this method.
High operation and maintenance
costs. Good for rough or very sandy

124

lands in areas of high production and


good markets.
land- Any crop but Considerable loss of productive land

Contour

Sloping

bench

best for slopes particularly

terraces

under3%but

Sub-

useful to6%
cultivated crops control.
Flat to uniform Any crop; row Requires installation of perforated

irrigation

slopes up to1%, crops or high plastic pipe in root zone at narrow

(installed

surface

pipes)

be smooth

suited

should value

due to berms. Requires expensive


to drop structures for water erosion

crops spacing. Some difficulties in roots

usually used

plugging the perforations. Also a


problem as to correct spacing. Field
trials on different soils are needed.

Localized

This is still in the development stage.


Any topographic Row crops or Perforated pipe on the soil surface

(drip,

condition

trickle, etc.) suitable for row


crop farming

fruit

drips water at base of individual


vegetable plants or around fruit trees.
Has been successfully used in Israel
with saline irrigation water. Still in
development stage.

125

Table 28 Criteria for the selection of irrigation method


Method

of Soil texture

irrigation

Average

Topography

Stream Crops

Remarks

infiltration and land slope size l/s


rate

I.Check

Medium

basin

heavy

(cm/h)
to 0.5-1.0

%
Levelled lands

15-25

0.1

All

crops Less

suited

to

except those mechanized


sown

on cultivation,

ridges

& wastage of land

susceptible to in
water logging

channels/

ridges

Labour

requirement high
and problem of
II.

Border Medium

1.0-2.0

strip

Uniformly
graded

12-30

All

drainage
crops Needs

except rice

precise

grading,

long

fields are better.


III. Furrow

Light
moderately

to 0.5-2.5

0.3-0.6

1.0-2.0 Row
except

Labour saving.
crops Good for crusting
soils,

provides

126

heavy

vegetable

better

aeration

and

drainage,

leaching
IV.

Very light and 2.5

Rolling

Sprinkler

sandy

undulating

and 5.0

All

not

possible
crops Less suited

except rice

canal

system.

Needs

regular

power

for

running
V. Drip

Light
heavy

and 0.5-2.5

Level to slopy

5.0

to

pumps,

initial cost high.


Vegetable and Less suited to
perennial

canal

system,

fruit crop.

needs

highly

skilled

operator.

Labour
requirement
low.
Source Directorate of Publication, Haryana University, India,1986

127

is

Table 29 Assessment of suitability of different irrigation methods


Factors for comparison

Irrigation Methods
Check basin

Border strip

Furrow

Sprinkler

Drip

5
3
3
2

0
4
3
0

0
5
3
2

5
5
4
5

5
5
4
4

4
5
0
2

3
4
2
2

3
4
3
4

5
4
1
2

5
5
0
2

0
5
3
4
3

0
4
3
3
1

0
3
3
3
3

5
5
5
4
2

5
3
5
5
4

5
4

5
3

3
4

2
5

2
5

3
5
3
3
4
3
5
5
3

4
3
3
4
4
2
5
5
3

0
0
5
5
5
4
2
0
4

5
1
4
5
4
4
5
5
5

0
0
1
1
3
5
1
0
5

2
4
1

3
4
1

3
4
1

4
2
5

4
3
5

Versatility

Requirement of machines

Loss of land

Requirement of material

Requirement of energy

Cost of maintenance

1
Surface Topography
Level land
Moderate land slope
Steep land slope
Undulation land
soil
Light
Heavy
Erosive
Salinity prone
Water application
Small depth
Large depth
Controlled rate
Loss of water
Use of saline water
Source of water supply
Canal
Tube well
Crops
Grain crops
Rice
Sugar cane
Tuber crops
Cotton
Vegetables
Fodders
Pastures
Vine yards
Labour and technology
Labour
Technical understanding
Possibility of automation

Lay out and management

128

Cost of installation

Cost of operation

(Directorate of publication, Haryana University, Indea)

Sample Calculation
A newly developed farm in Middle awash Valley has moderate land slope (1-2%). The
soil is medium to heavy. Irrigation application will range between 100 to150 mm (large
depth). The water supply is available through a canal system. It is intended to grow small
grain crops such as Sesame, cotton, and other fodder crops. There is little chance of
automation, labour is cheap and owner cannot afford to invest high initial cost for
installation of irrigation system. Which irrigation method will be most suitable? Grade
Points scored
Table 30 Scores for different irrigation methods
Factors

Irrigation methods
Check basin
Border strip

Furrow

Sprinkler

Drip

4
4
4

5
4
3

5
4
5

5
5
3

3
5

4
5

0
5

5
5

0
5

of 3

29 (4.1)

28 (4)

considered
Slope
3
Soil texture
5
Amount
of 5
irrigation
Source

of 5

water supply
Type of crops
labour
cost
installation
Total score

29 (4.1)

129

From above, it is obvious that check basin and border strip methods are equally suitable.
Since standard deviation of border strip is low, therefore, in the order of merit border strip
is first, check basin second and sprinkler third. If, however, initial investment cost is not a
limiting factor, then sprinkler method would be more suitable.

6.7. Irrigation water measurement for Surface irrigation

Importance of accurate irrigation water measurement for efficient water use cannot be
over estimated. Accurate flow measurement is essential to know how much water has
been diverted from head works to the main canal, how much has it reached to the project
area and how much has actually been applied in the field to meet crop water
requirements. Irrigation flow measurement helps in the estimation of conveyance
efficiency, application efficiency and over all irrigation efficiency. The knowledge of
proper irrigation scheduling will not help in optimizing water use and crop production
unless the estimated amount has been accurately applied to the field. Accurate flow
measurement is, therefore, vital for optimizing water use efficiency. There are a number
of ways to measure water flow in the irrigation system. These include weirs, orifices,
current- meters, flumes and siphons. These are described below.
6.7.1. Weirs
Weir is a notch of regular form through which water may flow. There are different types
of weirs in use for flow measurement. These are classified according to the shape of the
notch, the type of crest and weather these are contracted or suppressed. The different

130

types of weirs in use are rectangular weir, V-notch weir and trapezoidal weir. The weirs
could be sharp crested or broad crested

Figure 21 Diagram of Wiers and Orifices


The weir when properly constructed and installed is one of the simplest and accurate
methods of measuring water flow. Under most field conditions, the accuracy may be
within 5 to 15 percent. The weirs can be easily installed. To do so, set the weir structure
in a straight irrigation channel (no bend within 4 to 5 m on up and down stream). Place
the weir at right angle to the direction of the flow and make sure that the face of the weir
structure is perpendicular and weir crests straight and level. Avoid and obstruction on
upstream side of the weir.
The thickness of crest and sides of the weir notch may not be more than 3mm. The height
of the crest of the weir, above the bottom of the channel upstream from the weir, should
be at least twice and preferably three times the depth (or head) of the water flowing over
the crest. The distance from the side of the weir notch to the sides of the channel of weir
131

box (except for suppressed weir) should be at least twice the head of water passing over
the crest. Make sure that the length of the weir crest is such that the head to be measured
exceeds 5 cm and the maximum head preferably is not greater than one-third the length
of the weir crest. The crest of the weir should be constructed such that air can circulate
freely beneath the over flowing water. The flow through a weir can be measured by
measuring the water depth or head in the weir crest. The head should be measured at a
point upstream from the crest where surface drawdown curve does not affect the
measurement. Water head in the weir crest can be measured by using a scale, or by a staff
gage or hook gage. Once water head is measured, following formula can be used to
measure flow in different types of weirs:
Table 32 Different types of weirs:
No.
Type of weir (All sharp crested)
Recommended Formulae
1
Rectangular (Without contraction)
Q =3.33 LH 3/2
2
Rectangular (With contraction)
Q =3.33 (L-0.2H) H3/2
3
Trapezoidal
Q = 3.37 LH 3/2
4
90% Triangular
Q = 2.49 H 5/2
Where Q = discharge in l/s, L = length of weir crest in cm, H = total water head in cm

6.7.2. Orifices
The orifices used in open channel are usually circular or rectangular openings on to bulkheads placed across the channel. The edges of the openings are sharp and pf ten
constructed of metal. The cross-sectional area of the orifice is small in relation to stream
cross section. These conditions allow complete contraction of the stream flow and
velocity of approach becomes negligible. The different types of orifices used to measure
irrigation water are:- i. Submerged orifice with fixed dimension, ii. Adjustable sub-

132

merged orifices, iii. Calibrated gates: The following formula can be used to measure flow
through an orifice:

Q 0.61 A 2 gh

Where: Q =Discharge in l/s, A = cross- sectional area of the orifice. g= acceleration due
to gravity = 981 cm/s, h = water head in cm

6.7.3. Current Meters


The current meters are widely used for measuring irrigation flow. Three general types of
flow meters are in use. These are (i) cup type with vertical axis (ii) propeller type with
horizontal axis and (iii) electro- magnetic probe. The choice of the current meter depends
on the conditions under which meter will be used. The cup type current meter is more
sensitive to disturbances such as flow near the bank and not being held stationary. The
cup meter is more rugged than propeller meters and can be used by relatively unskilled
technicians. The propeller meters can be used for higher ranges of velocities than cup
meters. The cup type flow meters are superior to propeller meters for field observations
where as propeller meters are more useful for measurement in the pipes and for
laboratory observation. The use of electromagnetic probe is based on the principle that
when probe is immersed in flowing water, a voltage is created around the probe. This
voltage is proportional to the velocity of water. Each flow meter comes with a manual
which describes in details the methods of measurements.
6.7.4. Flumes
The flumes in principle are channel section which causes flow to pass from sub- critical
through critical to the supercritical state forms a control and the discharge is a singlevalued function of upstream water level. There are different types of flume in use. These

133

include parshall flume, H flume and Cut-throat flume. Off these, parshall flume is most
commonly used and hence its construction, installation and operation is described below:
parshall flume is a simple and an accurate water flow measuring device. It can be
constructed using wood, fiber glass or sheet metal and installed in most channels with
very little head loss. A 7.5 cm parshall flume can measure flow ranging between 0.8 to
27.5 l/s under free flow conditions, hence is suitable for measuring flow in field channels.
Figure 22 exhibits design of a 7.5 cm parshall flume. It consists of a converging section, a
throat and a diverging section. The converging section has a level floor and vertical walls
converging towards the throat. The walls of the throat are parallel and the floor is inclined
downwards. The walls of the diverging section are vertical and diverging outwards and
the floor is inclined outwards. Under free flow conditions, the only measurement required
is the water head in converging section at a distance of 2/3 of the length of the section.
The water head can be measured with the help of a scale fixed at 2/3 length of the section
along the inside of the vertical walls. The installation of the parshall flume is very simple.
It should be fixed in a straight section of the irrigation channel where there is no bend
within 4 to 5m on either side of the selected site. Place the flume in the channel such that
longitudinal section of the flume is parallel to the channel and to the direction of the flow.
Level the bed of the channel before placing the flume. When installed, the converging as
well diverging sections of the flume are perfectly leveled and 2-3 cm above the bed of the
channel to avoid submergence. In case enough slope is not available to avoid
submergence raise the flume a few cm until free flow condition is obtained. Once the
flume is properly set, the less permeable earth should be filled and compacted between
the walls of the flume and the sides of the channel so that the entire flow takes place

134

through the flume. For accurate measurement of irrigation water leaking, if any, must be
sealed through proper compaction. A scale can be fixed permanently within the diverging
section to record the water head. The flume is then ready for flow measurement. To start
measurement, divert the entire flow through the flume and wait until the flow assumes a
steady state condition. Record the water head in the diverging section at 10 to 15 minutes
interval. If flow is found to be constant, the reading can be taken at an interval of half an
hour or even an hour. The flow rate is a function of water head in the diverging section of
the flume. The flume can be calibrated and a table or a graph can be prepared showing
discharge (Q) in l/s against water head (H) in cm. Time required irrigating a given field
can be calculated using the following equation:
T

A D 10
Q 60

--------------------------------------------------------------equation 23

where T = time in minutes, A = area to be irrigated in m2 , D = depth of water to be


applied in cm, Q = discharge in liter/second
Sample Calculation
A parshall flume is showing discharge of 20 l/s. How much time will be required for 70
mm irrigation application to an area of 1000 m2?
T = 1000 * 7*10/(20*60) = 58.33 say 58 minutes

135

Figure 22 Design of 7.5 cm Parshall flume


6.7.5. Siphons
Siphons are simple and an accurate flow measurement device. The siphon tubes are
generally made of durable plastic pipes and curved to fit a half cross section of the field
channel. The use of siphons is becoming popular for accurate irrigation application using
surface irrigation methods. The siphons of different diameters are made in Ethiopia and
are commonly used in Middle Awash State farms because these are easily portable and
flow can be controlled by adjusting the head as well as the number of siphons. However,
the siphons have to be primed but this is not a difficult task. An average irrigator can
prime a siphon and put it in to operation in less than a minute. For accurate flow
measurement, it is essential to maintain a constant head in the field ditch from water is
delivered to the field through siphons. This can be done by constructing a temporary
earthen dam or by using a portable canvas sheet across the channel and letting the excess
water to over flow after maintaining the desired head. It is desirable if the siphon is
submerged end but it is not necessary. Under certain conditions free flow will have to be
used. Figure 23 shows siphon operating under free and submerged flow conditions
respectivly. The upstream end of the siphon should be at least 10cm in the water to

136

prevent air entering the tube. It is necessary to calibrate the siphons if calibrated siphons
are not available. This can be easily done in the field by obtaining the siphon flow in to a
container in a given time and then by measuring the water in the container. This
procedure can be repeated under different water heads and calibration table can be
prepared. Table 34 gives discharge of siphons of different diameters against varying head

Table 33 Free flow through Parshall flume (Hanson et. al., 1979)
Upper
Head,

Throat Widths (cm)


7.5
15

23

30

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

2.5
4
5.4
7.3
7.3
9
11
13
15
18
21
24
27
29
32
35
38
42
45
49
52
56
60

Flow l/s

61

91

122

152

183

244

27
34
41
51
60
69
78
90
101
111
122
137
149
161
173
190
204
216
234
248

35
45
54
67
79
91
103
119
133
147
162
181
197
213
230
252
270
288
310
332

67
83
97
112
127
148
165
183
201
225
246
266
286
312
336
356
383
414

79
99
116
133
152
176
190
218
240
270
295
317
342
347
404
430
464
495

130
152
176
200
233
260
288
316
356
388
421
454
495
531
570
615
660

Ha
(cm)
0.78
1.2
1.6
2.3
2.9
3.5
4.3
5
5.3
6.5
7.5
8.5
9.6
10.3
11
12
13
14
16
17
18
19
21

1.4
2.3
3.1
4.5
5.7
7.1
8.6
10
12
13
15
17
19
21
23
25
27
29
32
35
37
40
43

9.8
12
15
18
21
24
27
31
35
38
42
47
51
55
59
64
69
73
78
84

18
23
28
35
41
46
52
61
68
75
82
92
100
108
117
127
136
145
155
166

137

24
25
26
27
28
29
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50

22
23
25
26
27
30

45
48
51
54
57
6370
76
83

64
68
72
76
80
84
93
103
110
121
131
142
152
163
174

89
94
100
105
110
122
134
146
157
170
184
198
210
230
240

176
186
199
209
220
244
270
290
320
350
380
400
430
460
490

264
278
298
313
330
368
400
440
480
520
560
600
650
690
740

350
370
398
418
440
488
540
590
640
690
750
810
870
920
990

440
463
496
522
550
612
680
740
810
880
940
1010
1090
1160
1240

525
555
595
625
660
734
810
880
970
1050
1140
1210
1310
1400
1490

698
730
780
835
880
980
1060
1168
1300
1400
1520
1630
1750
1870
2000

Figure 23 Siphon at free and submerged condition and submerged siphon during
operation
Table 34 Discharge through Siphon under varying heads (Kandiah,1981)
Head cm
4

Internal siphon diameter


6.6cm

4.2cm

2.4cm

1.98

0.80

0.24

138

6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
26
28
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50

2.24
2.80
3.13
3.43
3.70
3.96
4.20
4.43
4.64
4.85
5.05
5.24
5.42
5.60
5.77
5.94
6.10
6.26
6.42
6.57
6.71
6.86
7.00

0.98
1.13
1.26
1.39
1.30
1.60
1.70
1.79
1.88
1.96
2.04
2.12
2.19
2.26
2.33
2.40
2.47
2.53
2.39
2.65
2.71
2.77
2.83

0.29
0.34
0.38
0.42
0.43
0.48
0.51
0.54
0.56
0.59
0.61
0.63
0.66
0.68
0.70
0.72
0.74
0.76
0.78
0.80
0.81
0.83
0.85

The rate of discharge in siphon can be measured using the following formula:
Q CA

2 gh

----------------------------------------------------------------------------equation

24
Where Q = discharge in cm3, C =discharge coefficient, A = cross sectional area cm 2, g =
acceleration due to gravity, h = head in cm
Assuming g = 981cm/sec and also converting Q into l/s, the above equation can be rewritten as Q C 0.044 A h
The value of C can be found during siphon calibration. This value comes to about 0.66.
Putting this value in the equation, the equation becomes:- Q 0.029 A h
Sample Calculation
An area measuring 250m2 is to be irrigated using 4 siphons each having discharge (Q) of
1.5 l/s. How much time will be required to apply 10 cm irrigation
Total discharge = 4 x1.5 6l/s
139

T 250

10 10
70 min utes
6 60

6.7.6. Volume measurement


The flow in small irrigation streams can be measured volumetrically. This is done by
collecting the flow in a container of known volume and by recording time needed to fill
the container. Discharge (l/s) =
= Volume of container / Time required filling the container ---equation 25

6.7.7. Velocity and Area Measurement


This method employs continuity equation. The rate of flow in a channel passing through a
point is proportional to cross section of the channel and flow velocity. The flow is
determined by multiplying the cross sectional area of the flow section, at right angle to
the direction of the flow, by the average velocity of flow.
Q = A x V -------------------------------------------------------------------------------equation 26
Where Q discharge in l/s, A = cross sectional area m2, V = flow velocity m/s
The cross-sectional area can be measured directly and the flow velocity by a float method
i.e. by placing a float in the middle of the stream and measuring the length of the area
covered in a given time. The velocity of flow is assumed 0.85 time the surface velocity or
using current meter as discussed earlier.

6.8. Irrigation Water Control Structures


The gravity irrigation system generally consists of a main canal, distributor canals and
field channels. As the main canal leaves the head works, it starts distributing in to

140

distributor canals while moving downwards. The distributor canals then branches in to
the field channels. The amount of water diverted in to the main canal and in to each
distributor and ultimately in to each field channel depends on the size of the area to be
irrigated. It is, therefore, vital to have a complete control over water after it enters the
main canal and until the required amount reaches the root zone.
As a first step, gross and net irrigation requirements of the entire project area and area
served by each distributor canal and by each field channel are computed. The required
quantity of water, to meet gross irrigation requirements of the project area, is diverted in
to the main canal. To deliver required amount of water in to main canal, each distributor
canal and field canals, a number of water control and water measuring structures are
required.
The different water control structures include head regulator, controlled check drops,
field channel off-takes, division boxes, checks, field outlets, rejection spillways, side
spillways and miscellaneous structures.

6.8.1. Head regulator


It is built at the diversion point from where main canal takes-off from the head works. It
regulates daily water supply in to the main canal depending upon the irrigation
requirements in the project area. The flow is regulated through slide gates and with the
help of a gage installed at the head regulator.

6.8.2. Control check drops

141

These are built on the main and/or distributor canals from where distributor canal and
field channels take-off. These are also built to maintain desired flow velocity and
minimize erosion where slope is steeper. These are provided with overshot gates and a
gage to divert desired flow in to a distributor or a field canal. The check drops maintain
irrigation water in the main canal and distributor canals upstream of the gate at full
supply level while passing the required discharge over the gate to the down stream area.
The spacing of the drop structures depends on the slope of land. If a canal is passing
through an area with steeper slope, more frequent drop structures are required than if a
canal is passing through an area with flatter slope. Such drop structures are also some
time required on field ditches if slope is steeper. One of the functions of the drop
structure is to dissipate the energy of the falling water so that it does not erode the canal.
A stilling basin or a concrete or a rock apron is generally provided to absorb the energy of
the falling water.

Figure 24 check drop


6.8.3. Division boxes
Quite often, there is more than one shareholder at the same field channel. To divert water
in to more than one field channels, division boxes are constructed in the field channels
where more than one share-holder receives water. These structures have more than one

142

outlet for distribution of water. The size of each outlet is proportional to area to be
irrigated.

Figure 25 Division box


6.8.4. Checks
The check structures are built in the field ditches to raise the water level in the field ditch
so that water can flow freely in to the field. The checks also serve to confine water to
only that part of the ditch, which is delivering water to the field being irrigated. The
spacing of the checks depends upon the slope. More closely spaced checks are required if
the slope is steeper compared to flatter slope. Different types of checks are used in the
field. These could be earthen dams, concrete checks, metal sheets or even portable canvas
sheets are used as checks. Metal gates are also some time used as checks in concrete lined
ditches. Permanent slots are made in the concrete lining in to which gates can be inserted
or removed.
6.8.5. Field Outlets
Different devices used to divert water from the ditch in to the field, are called field
outlets. The main function of the outlet is to control the amount of water being released in
to a field with a given irrigation methods (basin, border, and furrow).

7.0. Land development for irrigation

143

It is a pre-requisite to Survey the area of any new irrigation scheme to find out its
suitability for irrigation and if found suitable to develop the area to make it fit for
irrigation. The land development operations generally include topography survey, soil
survey, forest clearance, leveling and grading, Weed clearance, removal of rocks and
stones, leaching of excess salts if any. Some of these operations are described below
Topography is one of the most important factors considered to evaluate land for irrigation
because it directly influence the choice of irrigation method, drainage needs, soil
conservation, irrigation efficiency, cost of land development, size and shape of fields,
labour requirements and choice of crops. It is, therefore, necessary to carryout a
topography survey to the area to be developed for irrigation and to find out whether the
area would be commendable or not. The four aspects of topography which have a special
bearing on irrigation suitability are slope, micro relief, macro relief and position of the
area.
Slope. The land slope determines the choice of irrigation method/ methods, soil
conservation program for the control of erosion, cropping pattern and mechanization.
Therefore, one must know land slope before planning land development for irrigation.
The land slope is determined through topography survey and detailed contour maps of the
area are prepared.
Micro relief. It refers to minor undulations and irregularities of the land surface, with
difference in height between crest and trough ranging from 4-5 cm in plain areas to 4-5 m
in areas of windblown sand. The expenditure on land leveling depends on the conditions
of micro relief and method or irrigation to be used. For example, sprinkler, drip and
subsurface irrigation does not require land leveling and grading where as surface

144

irrigation especially basin, border and furrow needs land leveling and grading. The
micro-relief indicates the extent of land leveling involved.
Macro relief. It is the relief of an area includes permanent topographic features such as
frequent changes in slope, gradient and direction which may influence the choice of
irrigation method, field sizes and shapes and land development cost, particularly for
surface irrigation method and mechanized farming. Other macro relief features of interest
are big depression, hillocks and swamp where irrigation may not be possible. These areas
may have to be excluded from the irrigation scheme.
Position of the area. It is the area in relation to elevation and distance of the water source
may affect the irrigable land for gravity irrigation. For example, a good irrigable tract of
land may be available but it may not be commendable because of its higher elevation
than water source. Sprinkler and drip irrigation are possibilities under such condition:
although the area could also be brought under irrigation by construction of special
structures such as a tunnel, pumping station, reservoir construction etc but at additional
cost. Position of the area in relation to a big city or a market is also important as it
determines the choice of crops. For if the area is away from a beg market or a town or
from a connecting road, it may not be advisable to grow high value perishable crops such
as fruits and vegetables.
Soil Survey. It is a pre-requisite to determine irrigation potential of the land by carrying
out soil survey if the topography survey shows that the area is commendable. The soil
survey reveals depth and suitability of soil for irrigated agriculture. Based on soil survey
data, the land may be classified in to different land suitability classes using
FAO/UNESCO or USBR classification system and land suitability classification map

145

prepared. The land suitability classification helps in the selecting of cropping pattern
suitable for different land classes. While selecting cropping pattern, climatic conditions
are also taken in to account.
Land clearing. Once it is established that the area is commendable and has good
irrigation potential, the next step is to clear the land of forest, bushes, weeds, rocks,
stones etc. During land clearing, the important factors that should be taken in to account
are (i) cost of clearing (ii) value of timber, fuel wood or other products.
Criteria for land leveling. Land leveling is an expensive, laborious and time-consuming
operation. It is, therefore, necessary to find out whether land leveling is feasible before
actually embarking upon the land leveling program. The following points should be
considered before undertaking land leveling operations:(i) Irrigation method: The choice of irrigation method greatly influence the extent of land
leveling needed and cost involved. Sprinkler, localized (drip or Trickle) and subirrigation may or may not require land leveling. Wild flooding and corrugation requires
only minor land leveling where as basin, furrow and border irrigation demands precise
land leveling
(ii) Topography: The land slope, micro and macro-relief determine the extent of land
leveling required and expected expenditure. For example, if the slope is too steep (greater
than 10%), land leveling may become too expensive. If there are frequent abrupt changes
in land gradient, contour leveling may be called for. Similarly, with undulating
topography having numerous small depressions and raised spots or big depression and
hillocks, the land leveling may become too expensive.

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(iii) Soil Depth: The soil is cut from high spots and moved to low spots to provide
uniform land surface during leveling operations. If the depth of top fertile soil is shallow
there is a danger of exposing less fertile or saline sub-soil during and leveling operations.
Under such situation, a great care should be taken not to expose sterile sub soil. The
depth of the top fertile soil some time determines the extent of cuts and fills. The results
of soil survey can be helpful in such a case to plan land leveling.
(iv). Cropping pattern: Depending upon soil, water, climatic conditions and accessibility
to market, choice of high value crops (fruits, vegetables and other) may justify high land
leveling cost which ordinary cropping may not.
(v) Cost of Land Leveling: The cost of land leveling can be prohibitive if too much earth
is to be moved for longer distance. Generally if more than 1000 m 3 of earth is required to
be moved per hectare, the land leveling may be comes uneconomical. In such situation, it
may be feasible to go for sprinkler or drip irrigation. The comparison of the cost of land
leveling and installation of sprinkler/drip irrigation can be made which may help in the
choice of irrigation method.

8.0. Institutional set up Irrigation development in Ethiopia


Based on the recent restructuring, federal level responsibilities with respect to planning
and development of large-and medium-scale irrigation project fall within the mandate of
the MoWR. The small-scale irrigation and water harvesting schemes are planned,
implemented and governed under the MoARD at the federal level. The intuitional set-up
and accountability issues vary from region to region, and are not stable. As a result, there
is confusion on mandate, resulting in same cases of schemes failure due to lack of
accountability. Some of the regional bureaus mandates involve planning, design and

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construction of small-scale irrigation schemes and handover to another bureau for


management, operation and maintenance. In the region of Amhara SSNP and Tigray, the
planning, design and the construction of small-scale irrigation is carried out by the
regional irrigation or water Bureaus and the schemes are then handed over to the
Agricultural Bureaus for further implementation, operation and maintenance. This
institutional form has led to unsustainable development in many instances. In same other
region such Oromia, irrigation schemes are fully implemented by the Oromia irrigation
Development Authority (OIDA) the Authority has its own extension wing.

8.1. Modes of implementation


The potential merits of affordable micro-irrigation technologies, Like low pressure drip
kits, treadle pimps, small diesel pumps, RWH technologies, including in situ water
conservation practices, small basins, pits, bunds/ridges and runoff based systems
(catchment and/ or storage), are increasingly recognized by the government and many
NGOs in Ethiopia. How ever, there is littlie experience in the country as yet with a)
methods for widespread manufacturing and dissemination, and b) integrated approaches
that cover the whole range of production factors and that need to be in place in order to
derive full potential benefits. International lessons on these related aspects will contribute
to accelerated uptake and augmented incomes among thousands of farm households,
benefiting from net income increases

8.2. Organizational development of irrigation schemes

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The government organs currently involved with SSI,MI and RWH in Amhara Region
include: the commission for Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Rehabilitation in
the Amhara Region (Co-SAERAR) Bureau of Agriculture (BoA), Amhara Regional
Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI),and the Bureau of Co-operatives.NGOs and
donors are many, but same of the major ones are: organization for Rehabilitation and
Development in Amhara (ORDA), Amhara Micro enterprise Development, Agricultural
Research, Extension and water management (AMAREW), Swedish International
Development Agency (Swedish-SIDA), Ethiopian Social Rehabilitation and development
fund (ESRDF),United States Agency for International Development (USAID) German.
Development Cooperation (GTZ), Canadian International development Agency (CIDA),
International found for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and CARE Ethiopia. The
diffuse institutional arrangement is not optimal and may create institutional separation
and difficulties of operation, which makes the implementation of Integrated Water
Resource Management (IWRM) much more complex. In Oromia Region, the government
organs currently involved with SSI, MI and RWH include: OIDA, Bureau of Agriculture
(BoA),Bureau of water, and the Bureau of Cooperatives. The many NGOs and donors
include: ADF, ESRDF, IFAD, JICA, USAID, CARE, and Oromoia Self help. The Oromia
Irrigation Development Authority (OIDA) is well organized. It executes the various
activates in relation to irrigation. While in Tigray region Commission for Sustainable
Agriculture and Environmental Rehabilitation for Tigray (Co-SAERT), which has
recently been merged under the Bureau of Water Resource Development (BoWRD),
Bureau of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Co-operatives. The NGOs and donors are again
numerous but same of them are: Relief Society for Tigray (REST), ESRDF, USAID,

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CIDA, CRS, Irish Aid, and FAO. In the SNNP regions involved are: Southern Irrigation
Development Authority (SIDA), Bureau of Agriculture (BoA) Bureau of Co-operatives,
Southern Agriculture Research Institute (SARI), Rural Development Coordination Office
(RDCO), and the Cooperative Promotion Bureau (CPB). The numerous NGOs and
donors include: Irish Aid, Farm Africa, World vision, Lutheran world Federation, Action
Aid, and ESRDF But the institution arrangement SIDA in SNNPR with respect to
irrigation almost resemble that of OIDA, except that is does not have an extension wing.
The lack of coordination among them with regard to the development and management of
irrigation schemes was strongly emphasized. Due to this lack of coordination, there are
same overlapping responsibilities, while other activities are overlooked. The abovementioned fact is more or less true in all regions.
Managing an irrigation scheme often involves different organizations:-The scheme
operators, who mange the water from the main intake structure to each of the outlets
shared by a group of farmers; the farmers who share a common outlet. If financed by the
government, there is even a third party involved (the government). An Irrigation scheme
is more difficult to manage because:1. It often involves two different organizations; an irrigation scheme often supplies water
to a group of farmers, who then have to distribute the water to individual members of the
group.
2. It involves more complicated operation; the managers must have information on the
farmers' water requirements, then draw up a delivery schedule, adjust the gate settings
throughout the scheme, make the deliveries, and then start all over again for the next
round of applications

150

3. There is more likelihood of conflicts:- among farmers within a group of water users;
among groups of water users; the groups and the managers of the main system, Such
conflicts are more difficult to solve
4. Obtaining payment from the farmers is more difficult It is much more difficult to stop
water deliveries to one farmer when water is delivered to a group. While it is technically
possible to close off a whole group, this is not attractive for the irrigation scheme
manager. They cannot sell their supplies to other customers outside the irrigation scheme!
5. Irrigation demand may exceed supply the maximum supply is limited by water
availability and canal capacities. This is another source of conflicts!
In irrigation schemes, the organization that distributes the water is often of a public
nature, while the group of farmers receiving the water is often again a private institution.
This mix of public and private institutions that all have their different rules priority makes
irrigation management especially difficult. Not all irrigation schemes have this mixed
type of management.
Two other types exist:- Public-managed schemes and Farmer- managed schemes.
In Ethiopia public- managed schemes (these are medium & large scale); the government
agency is responsible for water management. As all decisions about cropping schedules
and water deliveries are made by the same agency, there are fewer conflicts.
In farmer- managed schemes, farmers make all decisions on irrigation and agricultural
issues. The irrigation issues above the farm level, such as main system farmers operating
as a group perform operation and maintenance. The individual farmer decides irrigation
and agricultural issues at the farm. How to cope with difficulties in irrigation
management:- it is by providing service agreement which specifies:-

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1. The irrigation services that the scheme operator s will provide to the farmers (water
deliveries and maintenance).
2. What the farmer has to contribute in cash, labour or otherwise in return for the
irrigation services.
3. The methods used to check weather the services are provided and weather the farmers
contributions are made as was agreed upon.
4. The action that will be taken if any party falls short of fulfilling the agreed upon
obligation
8.2.1. Service agreement
The service agreement is between two parties: the farmers (or their WUAs) and the
scheme operators. When the service agreement is being drawn up, the two parties have to
negotiate with one another. It is believed that farmers and scheme operators need to
develop their own methods and skills, so that these are well suited to their culture and
customs. In Small- scale schemes, the negotiations could probably be conducted in a
series of meetings attended by all the farmers and the scheme operators. But since it is
not always possible for every farmer to attain every meeting the farmer group must agree
on the number of farmers who need to be present to make the decisions. Another
important issue is the participation of women in these discussions. In many irrigation
schemes, women are very active in irrigated agriculture; this means that they also need to
be involved in drawing up the service agreement.
8.2.2. The role of Water Users' Associations
Developing, operating and maintaining an irrigation scheme almost always require joint
action by the water users. In traditional irrigation schemes, farmers would get together to

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build a diversion weir across a river or dig an access canal, because these were things
they could not accomplish on their own. Without a capacity for organization and
decision-making among the users, it was simply not possible to complete a scheme. This
capacity helped users to develop an organization capable of operating and maintaining
the scheme. In A modern scheme where most of the preparation and construction is done
by a government agency, the water users have much less experience in organizing
themselves. Yet the fact that in such schemes the water is usually delivered to a group of
farmers requires a water users' association (WUA) that is capable of assuming
responsibility for water distribution among farmers. In many cases, the WUAs are also
responsible for maintenance and for collecting irrigation fees. In many cases, the WUAs
could also play an important role in negotiating with the scheme operators on the service
agreement. In Ethiopia these associations have long been exited to manage traditional
schemes. They are generally well organized and effectively operated by farmers who
know each other and are committed to cooperating closely to achieve common goals.
Typical associations comprise up to 200 users who share a main canal or to branch canal.
They may be grouped in to several teams of 20 to 30 farmers each. Such associations
handle construction, water allocation, operation and maintenance functions.
8.2.3. Financial arrangements and source of fund
Financial system is the different schemes should be in place so as solicit funds to support
sustained development activity. Founding sources could come from irrigation water
annual fees, membership fees, fines for the violation of by-laws. This should also have
the effect of encouraging farmers to use the water efficiently. Assistance should be
extended to farmers setting up registered cooperatives so that they can access credit from

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commercial banks at favorable rates, and open savings accounts, etc. Farmers should be
informed earlier that they will eventually be expected to contribute to the irrigation
scheme, so that they can prepare for this. Farmers in communities which have suffered
famine and drought in the recent past need to be able to recreate their asset base before
taking over financial responsibilities. Provision should be made for financial assistance
(from the government) in disaster cases such as flooding and drought. Timely assistance
is cheaper than emergency relief. Market-oriented agriculture should be promoted to
enable farmers to raise funds
8.2.3.1. Government support
The government has a critical role to play in supporting farmers to realize their potential.
The points listed below all relate to what the government needs to do. Monitor all smallscale development programmers to ensure that the intended

support

reaches the

targeted beneficiaries. Provide infrastructure support to cooperatives such as storage


sheds, equipment etc, and provide training in management and maintenance of the
infrastructure as well as new extension requirements, and the extension service provides:new cost-effective techniques in the utilization of the irrigation system, business skills
such as negotiating skills to the farmers cooperative; provide community natural
resource management training, encourage and strengthen women in irrigated agricultural.
Provide support to NGO-operated program to facilitate efficient attainment of intended
sustainable food security targets. Strengthen irrigation extension capacity by increasing
the number of capable development agents (contact farmers).

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Government should initiate source of funding and set targets for the promotion of
irrigation development as the key sub- sector of the economy in the achievement of food
security and act with development partners to formulate proposals that address the
complete spectrum of project development and practice of sustainability. Adequate
legislation should be institutionalized to attract private investors to the sub-sectors to
encourage increased production. Of both investors and land owners to address the issues
of land tenure and water rights. Policies and legislation should be institutionalized to
attract private investors to the sub-sector to encourage increased production.
8.2.3.2. Private company support
Adequate extension services for quality production should be provided to contact
farmers; private companies should request extension support and incentive from
government in the form of an attachment for extension staff attached to these companies.
8.2.3.3. Donor support
Donors should be approached especially in situations requiring additional funding
(natural disasters such as floods and droughts). Projects should be designed in such a way
that the activities yield positive results intended and the projects goal should be achieved
and targeted beneficiaries should be reached. And in this case, government conducts
extensive monitoring and evaluation of supported projects.
8.2.3.4. Policy regulations and institutions that farmers benefit
WUAs should be registered as legal entities, and be strengthened for effective
management transfer, acquisition of credit, operation and maintenance and group
marketing. Government support farmers through price regulation and improved postharvest technology, quality control, and hygiene standards. Demonstration fields should

155

include short-duration and high-value crops. The plots should be identified and labeled to
show the type of crop and planting date; contact /model farmer system should be
strengthened and encouraged and introduced in areas where it is not present; farmers
should pass on their knowledge to other farmers who have not received training/advice;
exchange visits should be encouraged between cooperatives to exchange ideas and
experiences in this instance government and NGOs support play in fulfilling these
exchange visits.
8.2.3.5. Marketing
Synchronize production with marketing Assess market demand before production.
Market assessments and surveys carried out by the government and supporting NGOs
should be coordinated. Focus on the production of high-quality produce so as to be able
to compete with other produce employ good agricultural practices, for example, use
high quality seeds, manure, etc. Form /strengthen WUA/farmer cooperatives and
marketing organizations. Farming should be approached as a business-there is a need to
develop marketing skills. Diversify Explore the possibility of growing other crops that
are high in demand. Explore other markets outlets other than local. Access roads need to
be upgraded and maintained for this government and donors have a critical role to play.
Government staff should take activity to participate in the project exit strategies and
should take up part of the responsibility for maintenance to gather with the community.
Donor agencies should provide continuous backstopping support for those programmers
that have been handed overt to the community.

8.3. Operation and water distribution

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The most important services that the scheme operator provides to farmers is the delivery
of irrigation water. One method of water distribution is flow sharing or proportional
delivery. Every farm receives an equal share of the canal discharge. The structure that is
suitable for this method of water distribution is the proportional division box. The flow
over each weir is proportional to the width of the crest, provided that these crests have the
same height and shape. This method of water distribution does not need any action by
farmers or operators for regulating the flow of irrigation water to the farms (see also
figure 26)
Another method is time-sharing or rotation; every farm in turn receives the full canal
discharge. The duration of an irrigation delivery to one farm must be chosen in a way that
both meets the irrigation water needs of the crops and is convenient to the farmers. With
this method, there is no need for a flow division structure. It may be convenient to have
structures which allow either closure or passage of the full canal flow. The method does
require action from operators or farmers to direct the canal flow to the farm that is
scheduled to receive irrigation water (see also figure 27). If the irrigation system is
pressurized irrigation then the gates and division boxes are changed by pipes, elbows and
other fittings

157

Figure 26 Flow sharing or proportional division

Figure 27 Time sharing or rotational of flow


8.4. Irrigation system planning and scheduling
8.4.1. Irrigation planning

158

Irrigation planning involves making decisions on the cropping pattern for the coming
irrigation season. In some schemes, irrigation planning is done by the managers of the
scheme. In those schemes, farmers grow crops that are prescribed by the scheme
managers. Preference, however, is to consider the farmer as the person who is responsible
for running his or her own business. This includes making decisions on what crops to
grow. In deciding on what crops to grow in the next season, the farmer will consider:
- Crops that meet the farming familys basic food requirements:
- Crops that can be sold in the market at a profit.
When farmers are absolutely free to select their own cropping pattern; a situation may
develop during the irrigation season in which the water resources available to the scheme
are no longer adequate to meet the irrigation needs of the farmers in the scheme. This risk
can be reduced if farmers submit their cropping plan to the scheme operators before the
start of the irrigation season. The scheme operators could check if the expected water
resources available to the scheme are adequate to meet the expected irrigation needs. If
water resources are not adequate, this is one reason for imposing some restrictions. Other
reasons for limiting the individual farmers freedom of choice are:

159

Figure 28 A combinations of flow sharing and time sharing of gated division boxes
Drainage problems. If one farmer grows rice and wants to maintain a water depth of
some 0.1 m on top of the fields, the water leaking from these fields may create problems
in neighboring farms that are planted with crops that require a well-drained soil.
Water delivery problems. In designs that use division of flow within the tertiary unit, it
difficult to adapt water deliveries to irrigation requirements of individual farms.
- To avoid these problems in schemes where farms are grouped into tertiary units, it is
recommended that farmers within each tertiary unit get together for drawing up their
cropping pattern for the next irrigation season. As a general rule, they should try to avoid
the combination of rice and non-rice crops in one tertiary unit. If this is not acceptable to
the farmers, they could consider concentrating rice cultivation in one part of the tertiary
unit. This part needs to be chosen in such a way that the water management activities for
the rice crop minimal problems to the other crops. In order to much irrigation need with
irrigation supply, the scheme managers may propose a number of strategies:-

160

Set a maximum discharge for the area that can be cultivated with crops that have a
high irrigation need.

Stagger the growing season within each tertiary unit, in order to reduce its peak
water requirement.

Concentrate the planning period within each tertiary unit and stagger planting
periods at scheme level. In this way the peak water requirements of the tertiary
units will occur one after another , instead of simultaneously;

Restrict number of tertiary units with crops that have a high irrigation need

Irrigation Scheduling at scheme level is the activity of making the program for the
coming week (or 10 days, 2 weeks, one month) of the water distribution in the scheme
during that period. There are two main reasons for preparing such a program.
1. The farmers wants to know when they will receive irrigation water (timing); how
much ( flow rate) and for how long (duration)
2. The scheme operators need to know when and how to adjust gate setting.

8.4.2. Irrigation System Scheduling


Irrigation Distribution at scheme level of three kinds:1. Scheduling with proportional distribution,
2. Upstream control with vertical slide gated,
3. Upstream control with weirs,
4. Scheduling with downstream control
8.4.2.1. Scheduling with proportional distribution.
There is no need for irrigation scheduling if the flow that enters the main canal is
distributed evenly over the tertiary units by means of fixed structures. With a gate

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installed at the entrance of the main canal. The flow into the scheme can be reduced or
completely shut off. Such a gate facilities scheme maintenance and helps to conserve
irrigation water in periods of zero or low irrigation demand. Farmers must be consulted
and notified of such closures of flow reductions before the start of the irrigation season,
so that they can plan their cropping patterns and practices accordingly.
8.4.2.2.. Upstream control with vertical slide gated
This design allows delivery of water to the tertiary units in accordance with the actual
irrigation needs of each unit and the water supply available to the scheme. Because of the
difficulties involved in setting the gates to the required discharge, it is not recommended
to reset the gates more often than once a week.

Figure 29 Lay out of proportional distribution

Farmers or member (WUAs) at each tertiary units submit weekly request indicating

162

The number of hours per day for which they want to receive irrigation
water in their tertiary unit.

The flow rate that they want to receive at the tertiary off take.

8.4.2.3. Upstream control with weirs


Irrigation scheduling for this design uses the same principles as the previous one. Due to
the duckbill weirs which maintain a nearly constant water level and the discharge
distributors that can be set to the required discharge in a single operation; resetting the
tertiary off takes is much easier than in the design with vertical slide gates. This makes it
possible for the operators to change the setting more often than once a week. If necessary;
they can close the off takes of some tertiary units while continuing deliveries to others.
This means that operators can make irrigation deliveries exactly as requested; provided
that there is no shortage of irrigation water. In periods of water shortage; the procedures
discussed in the previous section can be applied.
8.4.2.4. Scheduling with downstream control
With downstream control; there is no need for irrigation scheduling. Farmers can set the
discharge from the off takes according to their requirements. In periods of water shortage;
the operators may have to restrict flow rates; timing and duration of water deliveries

163

Figure 30 Distribution with upstream control with vertical gates

Figure 31 Distribution with upstream control with Duckbill weirs

8.5. Irrigation scheme Maintenance

164

Many irrigation schemes around the world do not provide adequate service to farmers;
because gates can no longer move due to rust or because parts are missing or broken;
canal sections have collapsed or are full of silt; water level gauges have disappeared etc.
All mentioned above are the result of poor maintenance. A newly-built irrigation scheme
is expected to function for thirty years or more.

Figure 32 Distribution with downstream control


Maintenance activities for an irrigation scheme fall into three categories;
I. Routine maintenance
II. Emergency works
III. Scheme improvement
I. Routine maintenance

165

Routine maintenance activities have to be repeated throughout the lifetime of an


irrigation scheme to keep it functioning. Some of these activities are daily routines, which
do not require special skills;
-

Greasing of gates

Removing vegetation from embankments, canals and drains

Removing silt from canals drains and structures.

Whenever possible, these daily routines should be done by the water users themselves
and otherwise by operational field staff.
Other routine maintenance activities require skilled artisans; such as a mechanic, a
mason; a carpenter. They may be needed to do routine maintenance work such as:-

Repairs to gates and measuring structures

Installation of water level gauges

Maintenance and small repairs of pumps and engines.

Larger routine maintenance jobs are usually done between irrigation seasons, when the
canals are drained. These include:1. Major repair or replacement of gates; pumps and engines,
2. Large-scale silt clearance from canals and drains;
3. Largescale maintenance of roads and embankments.
II. Emergence works
Emergence works require immediate and joint action by irrigation staff and farmers to
prevent or reduce the effects of unexpected events such as:
-

Breach or overtopping of canal embankment or river dike, causing flooding

166

Critical failure of pumps or headwork causing interruption of irrigation water


supply

Natural disasters such as floods, earthquake or typhoons.

III. Scheme Improvement

The routine maintenance and emergency repairs described above are all aimed at
keeping or restoring the technical infrastructure in the condition it was in when it was
newly built. There are a number of reasons, however, not just to maintain the scheme
in its original condition but to gradually improve it. The main reasons are:
-

A newly constructed scheme is hardly ever perfect. Some alterations are usually
necessary to make it fully operational.

It is sometimes better to construct a scheme at minimum capacity with low cost


structure then, if the scheme proves to be a success, it can be gradually expanded
and the structure replace with more permanent ones.

Conditions change both inside and outside the scheme. Improvements are
necessary to ensure that the scheme continues to deliver that correspond with
farmers needs.

8.6. Irrigation costs


There are two main types of irrigation costs:-

Investment and

Operation and

maintenance costs.
8.6.1. Investment costs
Investment costs are all the expenditures needs for making a new scheme. These are not
only the costs of construction material (cement, Steel) and equipment (pumps; gates) but

167

also the salaries and wages of those involved in the design and construction of the
scheme and the operational costs of all the machinery used during construction.
Investment costs for a new scheme are usually much higher than the amount of money
the farmers of that scheme can contribute.
Example of investment costs in irrigation
I. An irrigation ditch is to be constructed at Werer research field so that a newly reclaimed
15 ha to be irrigated which is one km away from main distributor. The ditch will have
width (b) of 5 and 2 meters and side slopes of 2 to 1. Notes giving distance from
centerline and cut ordinate for stations 52 + 00 and 53 + 00 are c 0.8/4.2, c 1.0, c 1.2/5.1
and c .7, c 1.2, c 1.3/5.1. Compute volume of soil to be removed by average end area
method for the two widths given.
Area = [b/2 (h1+h2) + h (w1 +w2)]--------------------------------------------------equation 27
Area at station 52 +00 = [5/2(0.8+1.2) +1.0(4.2+5.1)] = 7.15 m2
Area at station 53 +00 = [5/2 (1.0 +1.3) + 1.2 (4.7+5.1)] = 8.755 m2
Assuming the station distance to be 1000 meters
Volume = (7.15 +8.755) * 1000 = 7952.5 m 3 of volume of soil is to be removed for 5
meter width canal with the same method 4000 m3 of soil is to be removed and in the next
table total cost for excavation is given for the location indicated.
Adding some 40 % of the excavation for over head cost and distribution utilities close to
5000 birr is added to the investment cost and making it 17000 birr. Investment cost
during selection of irrigation methods and types plays a major role. In this case it will
come dawn to comparing ground water using pump (specialized irrigation like sprinkler,
drip system as the same time purchasing all the accessories needed) if available in the

168

localities, canal irrigation from the near by river or main canal supplying the other
schemes
Table 34 Investment cost associated to excavating irrigation canals
Type

Amo

Types

Rat

Required

Rat

Opera

Fuel

Total

Total

Rent

of job

nit

unt

of

hour

tion

consum

fuel

fuel

and

excav

per

per

total

ption

consum

consum

fuel

ator

hou

Gros

hou

cost

per

ption

ption in

total

hour

per

birr

Net

hour
4

9=

10=

6/8

9/.85

11

12=

13

11*10

14=

15=14*

16=

13*10

unit

15+12

price
Canal

excav

4000

ation

213

18.

22.0

408

9001.

um

.75

71

.87

61

Medi

213

37.

43.7

408

17938

um

.75

20

.87

.97

28

616

3355.4

12355

.06

6666.6

24685

.63

reach

Canal

excav

ation

Medi

7952

28

1225

reach

II. A scheme of 100 ha has been developed for a group of 200 farming families. The
average farm size is 0.5 ha. The investment cost was 2,000,000 ETB. This corresponds
to!- An investment cost 1 0000 ETB per family, or
- An investment cost of 2 0000 ETB per ha.

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In investment cost of 10000 per family is high compared to the increase in family income
due to irrigation. Using horticultural production the increase in income could be
substantially higher as is demonstrated in the next example
In the above example and from table 35, the additional income from two crops of tomato
would be sufficient to repay the investment. These examples demonstrate that his/her
ability of farmers to repay the investment costs of their irrigation scheme depends very
much on the type of crops that they are able to produce and sell.

Table 35 Example of income from tomato production using two production systems
Production per ha
Market value per ton
Production cost per ton
Income per ha
Income per family (farm size 0.5 ha)
Increase in family income due to

Without irrigation
20 tons
1200 ETB
500 ETB
1 4000 ETB
7000 ETB
0

With irrigation
40 tons
1200 ETB
500 ETB
2 8000 ETB
14000 ETB
7000 ETB

irrigation

8.6.2. Operational costs

Operational costs are the expenditures for operating, Maintaining and managing the
scheme. These expenditures come back year after year, for as long as the scheme is kept
in operation. Therefore, they are also called recurrent costs. An important principle is that
operational costs an irrigation scheme should be paid by the users. If users are not
capable or willing to pay the operational costs; this is an indication that something is
wrong in the system:Recurrent costs are too high
Possible cause: Poor design leading to high cost of water distribution
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High maintenance costs


Possible cures: Improve design, more farmers involvement in operation
Additional income from irrigated agriculture is too low
Possible cause: Irrigation services are not adequate, other farm input are not adequate
(These are out of the control of scheme manager)
Possible cures: Improve design and management.
Farmers believe they can get away by not paying.
Possible cause:- Design and implementation of physical structure before farmers
organization capable of assuming financial responsibility was in place
Possible cures:- Do not start construction before agreement with farmer organization
on how recurrent cost will be paid by users.

8.7. Methods of charging users.


There are various methods for charging users by; the irrigation volume, the size of the
irrigated area, share of the harvested crop, tax on irrigated land, sales tax on crop that are
produced with irrigations. Imposing and collecting taxes are responsibilities of the state
and not of the irrigation scheme managers or the farmers organization. Only the first two
methods are discussed.
8.7.1. Charging by irrigation volume
The advantage of these methods is that it encourages efficient water use. It requires
measuring and recording of volumes delivered at each. This is relatively easy if water is
delivered from pressured pipes. Outlets from such pipes can be provided with a meter

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that records the total delivered volume. One reading per year is sufficient to determine the
volume delivered in the last year. Recording delivered volumes from outlets in open canal
schemes is more complicated (water measurement). In order to calculate the delivered
volume (V), the discharge and the length of delivery time need to be recorded

V delivered = Q * t ,

With V delivered = Delivered volume (m3) , Q = Discharge (m3/s),

T = Length of delivery time (s)


If the outlet set at different discharges, the total volume in one year or one irrigation
season can be calculated, provided that at each application (1,2,3.n) the discharge (Q)
and length of application (t) were recorded:
Vtotal = (Q1 x t1) + (Q2 x t2) +.+ (Qn x tn)---------------------------- equation 28
8.7.2. Charging by the size of the irrigation area
This method exercised at Amibara irrigation scheme (Middle Awash). A fixed amount is
paid per hectare of irrigated land. There are various possibilities in applying this method.
a) A yearly charge for every hectare of land within the irrigation scheme.
b) A Yearly or seasonal charge for every hectare of irrigated land.
c) A seasonal charge for every hectare of irrigated land, depending on the type of crop
cultivated. The only record needed with method (a) is the size of each farm within in
scheme. The charge for a particular farm is the same each year, unless the unit rate is
changed. The second method requires measurement of the irrigated area on each farm.
Method (c) involves recording irrigated area and crop type on each farm. Charges for
crops with high irrigation requirements, such as rice and sugar cane are higher than that
of the other irrigated crops.

9.0. Pump used in irrigated agriculture

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A pump is a machine for moving fluid from one place to another against a resistance. In
our context the fluid is principally water for irrigation and the resistance depends of
friction in the supply system, the required operating pressure, and the height through
which the irrigation water to be moved. Different types of pump required for their
particular pressure, quantity and flow rate.
Technical terms in the design principle
I. Suction lift
Most pumps can pull as well as push water. Suction (pull) depends on reducing the
pressure with in a water pipe, so that atmospheric pressure outside will force the water up
the pipe in an attempt to equalize internal and external pressures. At sea level,
atmospheric air pressure is about 1 bar or 100 kN/m 2 = ( support a column of water ~
10m high), but the creation of negative pressure or vacuum pumps work at a suction lift
not more than 6-7m. When ever optimizing a lift required putting the pump nearer the
source of water is one gateway.
II. Head
A static column of liquid exerts a pressure at any point depending on the height of water
above. In pumping, the dynamic head expresses the total pressure against which the
pump has to work and it is the sum of the static, pressure and friction heads
Static Head is the vertical distance which the pump must raise the liquid. This includes
both the suction and delivery sides of the pump. It is measured in meters and for water 10
m head = ~1 bar.
Pressure Head

is the pressure equivalent required at the delivery outlet

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Friction Head is equivalent to the pressure lost in overcoming friction losses from pipe
walls, bends and valves. An additional source of loss is that due to water inertia for
smaller schemes with relatively low pipe diameter and water flows the loss is small and
can be conveniently ignored.

III. Priming
The majority of pumps must be full of water before starting unless it is below the level of
the water supply (self priming = may range form simply unscrewing a plug in the pump.
Priming may range from simply unscrewing a plug in the pump casing and pouring water
in to it form a bucket to the use of a hand operated priming pump, which will suck air
out of both the pump and the supply pipe. Once a pump is primed, however, the use of a
foot value in the supply pipe or in some cases with in the pump itself will enable the
pump to retain its prime. As a general rule pumps should never be allowed to run dry or
severe damage may occur.
9.1. Types and selection of Pumps
They are of two kind positive displacements and variable displacement or rotodynamic.
In Positive displacement pumps the quantity of water produced is constant for a given
operating speed, irrespective of the head/pressure against which the pump is working.
i.e. the liquid is handled in discrete, equal sized lumps handled in a given time and
output depends on the number of lumps. While in variable displacement pump, however
liquid flows through in a uniform stream and a rotating device increases the liquid
velocity while it is within the casing. These liquid velocities automatically converted in to

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pressure or head thus an increase in pumping pressure (obtained by reducing the available
flow by converting more velocity into pressure). Some of the pump and their operation
criteria discussed in the coming section.
9.1.1. Positive displacement pumps
I. Reciprocating pumps
They are positive displacement since the amount of water delivered on every stroke of the
piston is equivalent to the displacement made by piston in its stroke. Many reciprocating
pumps are made double acting in that both sides of the piston are used in the pumping
operation. Movement of the piston in one direction with in the cylinder draws water in
and on its revere stroke the some water is expelled. Inlet and outlet of exhaust valves
ensure that the water goes in the right direction and on many pumps these valves operate
entirely automatically. They are one-way valves, which shut or open when the direction
of flow changes. It is essential pressure relief value be fitted to this set since water is
incompressible and any blockage in the delivery pipe will stop the pump, stall the motor
or burst part of the system or possibly all three. Varying the discharge from the pump fit a
by- pass value leading water from the discharge side back to the pump inlet because it is
convenient than arranging for a variable speed drive
II. Rotary positive displacement pumps have continuously rotating parts in addition;
they do not have inlet and delivery valves. When used at pressure well with in their rated
performance range; these pumps provide an output which for most purpose is directly
proportional to operating speed.
III. Shallow well reciprocating pumps

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Being fairly bulky, they can only be sited on or near the surface and draw water from the
source by suction, though double-acting versions give a more even discharge than single
acting versions nevertheless the discharge necessarily pulsates with the strokes of the
piston, and most pumps of this types are supplied with an air vessel on the delivery main
to even out the pulsations. Output can varied by adjusting pump speed, or by an
adjustable by-pass valve. For irrigated agricultural, a piston speed of 0.3m/s should not be
exceeded otherwise the life of the pump will be shortened and its efficiency reduced.
Drive is usually through V-belts, the use of which also provides a voluble safety factor in
the event of pump stall due to blockage and/or failure of the relief value.
IV. Diaphragm pumps
This type of pump is capable of supplying higher discharge pressures than centrifugal
pumps. By interposing a flexible diaphragm of rubber, neoprene between the piston and
the water being pumped, wear from solids in the water is avoided. Alternative lubrication
methods for the piston may have to be adopted, but often in practice the piston as such is
dispensed with, the piston rod being connected direct to the diaphragm. Diaphragm
pumps are also used as metering pumps for injecting nutrient feeds into irrigation water
in horticulture
9.1.2. Rotodynamic pumps
Even though the basic principle is the same, such pumps may be classified as centrifugal,
mixed flow or axial flow according to the liquid stream. The main feature of rotodynamic
pumps in their performance is that the liquid flow rate varies invasively with the pressure
or head against which the pump is working. This means that the pumps are to a certain
extent, depending on individual design, self-regulating and non-overloading, which is a

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useful feature. They cannot, however, develop high pressure as positive displacement
pumps but on the other hand, they are inherently robust and long lasting for the attributes
its impellers need not be made to fit casings.
I. Centrifugal pumps
In these pumps the fluid enters along the centerline, is accelerated radially and reaches a
maximum velocity at the outer edge of the rotor. At this point it is converted into pressure
head in the volute or snail-shell casing of the pump. This outer casing directs the liquid to
the pump discharge. Liquid flow rate can be controlled by means of a suitable valve in
the delivery pipe work as considerable power is still absorbed when the value is shut-off
it should not be left for any length of time in this condition of heating will occur. See
figure 32. These kinds of pumps are not basically self-priming and need priming devices
and in the majority of cases it is driven by direct coupled electric motors.

Figure 32 Typical performance of centrifugal pump running at a constant speed


A Shows Head discharge characteristics. B. Shows power and efficiency characteristics for water and
similar liquids

II. Multi-stage centrifugal pumps


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Centrifugal pumps can be connected in tandem as multi-stage machines to increase the


pressure. In this case several impellers are mounted on the same shaft with in a casing
such that as the water leaves each impeller it is passed onto the intake of the next, finally
leaving the pump by the delivery pipe. The pump is driven by an electric motor with
sealed winding, designed to operate immersed in water. The whole pump is made to fit in
to the borehole and is lowered -motor first down the bore with its delivery pipe and
electricity supply cable connected to the surface termination.
III. Deep well jet pumps
The principle is that of a centrifugal pump on the surface pumps the water, in addition by
bleeding off, provides a smaller supply of water at pressure which is returned down the
well by a second pipe to operate a hydraulic ejector. This ejector, working through a
venturi has the effect (in combination with the positive head developed by the returned
water passing back down the bore) of giving positive or flooded suction conditions to the
pump. Its advantage is that suction lift can be artificially increased from the theoretical
maximum of 10 m to commonly 30 m, with up to 90 m being possible, with a further
30m of delivery head above the pump. Clearly careful priming of the system is required,
to gather with adequate maintenance to ensure that the prime is not lost between periods
of use. The system is attractive in that a single stage pump may be used, and that most of
the working parts are on the surface. It is not intended for high volume outputs.

IV. Submersible dewatering or drainage pumps


Designed to pump out sumps, pits, is robust, self-contained units, they are powered by
sealed electric motors and lowered in to the required position by a rope (not by their
electric supply cable!) They will pump water containing abrasive or other objectionable

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materials including acids and can operate dry or under snore (sucking air and water)
conditions without harm* pumps of this type can frequently find a place in rural
applications.

9.2. Selection criteria of pumps.


The choice has to be between the reciprocating type and centrifugal pumps. Since
reciprocating pumps are not affected by fluctuation of heads they are better suited for
high and fluctuating heads. But they are quickly eroded by sandy water. They therefore
are suitable for hilly region where the raw surface water is clear. They can also be used
for pumping treated water in to the distribution systems. In case of ground water supply
shallow well pumps are generally reciprocating type. Centrifugal pumps are better suited
to work under steady low heads. They are more durable and non-eroded type. So they can
be used for lifting raw surface water from rivers in plains which contains much of sand
and silt. They can also favorably be used for pumping treated water against low constant
heads in to the service or distribution reservoirs.
Capacity of pumps. Generally a number of smaller pumps are used to have total required
Capacity plus standbys, if any. The advantage of doing is that when the full capacity is
not required for pumping, some pumping set can be cut out of operation. This
arrangement also permits the pumps to work at their maximum efficiency and gives full
economy of operation and saving of energy at low demand periods, Standbys are required
during breakdowns of some units. The maximum capacity required by the pumping
station will depended upon the method of supply. When the direct pimping is done the
maximum capacity will be equal to meet the maximum hourly demand. When the
pumping is done with storage it will depend up on the balancing or equalizing storage.

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The capacity of pumping station also depends upon the working schedule if the net
working hours in a day or more rate of pumping will be low and vice versa

9.3. Motor and pipes in Irrigation


Electric motor is the ideal form of power unit of driving pumps in most farms if the
power line is available? They are robust machines with a long operation life and lend
themselves for automatic control and they can operate in situation impossible for
combustion engine such as submerged in borehole.
Pipes of various kinds for farm water supply are available in the market which are
designed and manufactured to meet different requirement, however their use depends on
scale of individual requirement and capacity. There are steel; Copper; Plastic (polythene;
(low or high density); unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC); and acrylonitrile
butadiene styrene (ABS)) pipes
Pipe friction and hydraulic gradient: Water will flow through a pipe when a force or
pressure is exerted upon it which is greater at one end than the other. This pressure of
force may be simply due to the fact that one end of the pipe is higher than the other and
the water flow by gravity or mechanically applied pressure resisting this flow will be pipe
friction. The amount of this friction depends on the diameter and length of the pipe, the
material it is made from, its age and condition, and the resistance exerted by bends and
fittings. In the relatively simple calculations involved in farm water supply work, it is
usual to allow for the additional friction imposed by bends and fittings 10% to the actual
length of the pipe, and then calculating pipe friction on the new length, as if it were an
unbroken straight pipe. Two exceptions to this rule occur and in addition the 10%
suggested, the following additions should also be made to the actual pipe length; foot

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valve and strainer 15 m. Tap or stop tap 45 m. The total length of pipe arrived at after all
additions are the equivalent pipe length. And the hydraulic gradient of a pipe is the
difference in head between one end of pipe and the other, divided by the equivalent pipe
length. By using the latter, allowance is made for pipe friction and its effect on head, or
pressure, as well as the effect of vertical changes of level.

Estimating pipe size The pipe Flow Chart in Appendix 1 enables suitable sizes of
different type of pipe to be calculated, given the value of the hydraulic gradient, the
required pressure, and the rate of flow. The following examples will show the way in
which simple calculations can be carried out. They demonstrate the principles used, but
where larger or more complex schemes are being considered a pumping specialist should
be consulted, it is also assumed that a constant diameter may be used over the pipe length
and that precautions are taken to avoid water hammer by avoiding a abrupt changes of
water flow rate. Several cases of water hammer can give rise to pressure surges sufficient
to rupture the pipe when safety margins are insufficient.

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Figure 33 Reservoir situated above some farm building

Sample calculation
A reservoir is situated 65 m vertically above some farm buildings (see figure 33). The
length of pipe required to lead water from the reservoir is 750 and the pressure required at
the buildings is 30 m head. Rate of flow required is 2 m 3/hr (2000 liter/hr). If the head
available due to the height of the reservoir is 65 m, and the pressure head needed at the
buildings is 30 m the head available for overcoming friction is 65-30 = 35 m being the
difference in head between the ends of the pipe. The equivalent length of the pipe is
becomes; Actual length (750 m) + 10 % (750 m) = 825m
Plus (say) 1 tap+2 stop taps

= 135m
Total =1060

The hydraulic gradient = pressure difference/ Equivalent length -------------- equation 29

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= 35/1060 = 1/30
Since the maximum head is 65m, class C (9 bars or 90m) pipe is required and referring
to Appendix 1 it can be seen that a 32 mm nominal diameter Class C low density
polythene pipe would satisfy these requirements.

Figure 34 Irrigation pump supplying water from a river to hydrant


Sample calculation
The case in this example is the reverse of the previous one. It concerns an irrigation pump
supplying water from a river through 1000 m of aluminum main to a rain gun (hydrant)
see figure 34. The gun requires 50 m 3/ hr (50 000 liter/hr) at a connection pressure of bar
(80 m head), the irrigator supply hydrant being 10 m vertically above the river level. Now
pumping main size are determined by economic considerations, the lower cost of a
smaller pipe being balanced against the extra pumping energy used to over coming

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additional friction. The most economical size for most pumping mains is that which
requires a hydraulic gradient of about 1/30. Thus in this case it is simply a matter of
looking up the diameter in Appendix 1 of aluminum pipe which will deliver 50 m 3/ hr at
hydraulic gradient of 1/30 this will found to be 100 mm nominal and actual diameter,
taking aluminum to be smooth like copper or plastics. The maximum pressure head being
9 bar (8 bar+ 10% to supply friction head loss) at the lower end might be wise to specify
Class D pipe (12 bar though Class C [9 bar] would normally suffice even though
operating its maximum rated pressure)

9.3. Power requirements


In the case of pumping, it is calculated by the rate at which a known mass of water is
moved against the total resistance or total pumping head. The power required to operate a
pimp not only depends on the weight of water moved and the distance through which it is
moved vertically, but also frictional resistance, and the efficiency of the pump it self.
In SI units, power is measured in kilowatts (kW)
1KW = 1000 joule second (J/S)
= 1000 Newton- meter /second (Nm/s)
= 1 kilo newoton-metre/ second (kNm/s
Now IN = 102.2 gf

so 1kN = 102.2 kgf (Pw=water power)

Pw = Mass (kg) of water moved per second x head in meters/(102.2)


Pw = kg /s *H(m) /(102.2) kW
Water for most practical purposes can be taken as occupying 1 liter/kg, so
Pw (kW) = liter water/s * H(m)/(102.2)
Pw (kW) = liter/min x H(m)/ (6132)

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Pw (kW) = m 3 /hr/ H(m)/(367)


Pw (kW) = liter/s * bar/(10) since 10.2 m head = 1 bar
To find motor shaft power Pp the expression must similarly by divided also by efficiency
of the pump ( 1)
Thus Pp (kW) = litre/s * H (m)/ (102.2*1)
To find motor input power (deriving motor) (Pm) the expression Pp must similarly by
divided also by motor efficiency ( 2)
Thus Pm = liter/s *H(m)/ (102.2* 1 x 2)
Overall efficiency = water power provided by pump / in put power to prime mover
=Pw/(Pm)
Note that in both cases total and effective head H includes suction lift from water to
pump, static head from pump to highest delivery point, delivery head and total friction
head. As in calculations for equivalent pipe length, allowance for friction head can be
made by adding 10% to the sum of suction, static and delivery heads. Pump efficiency 1
depends on a number of factors, the main one being the type, Age and condition,
particularly of any valve, the pressure against which the pump is working. All pumps
manufacture supply values for the efficiency of their pumps, usually in the form of a
graph which show the relationship between pump power requirement, pressure and
delivery.
Sample calculation
Taking the case in Sample calculation 2 and assuming that pump efficient is 75%,it is
now required to calculate the pump power equipments.

185

Pp (kW) = liter/min * H(m)


6132x 1
Liters/min = 50000/60 =833.3
Suction head (= 1m)
Static head

(=10m)

Delivery head (=80m)


Friction head of 1000m aluminum pipe (Smooth bore) In this case approximately
10% of total suction, Static and delivery head
= pump efficiency (0.75)
i.e Head (H) = 1+10+80+9 = 100m
Pp = 833.3 *100/ (6132 *0.75) = 18.1 kW
When determining a suitable electric motor for supplying this power a small amount of
confusion may arise. This is because in SI units both the input electrical power and the
output drive power are both described in kW, Care must be taken to know which of these
is being used. In sample calculation 3 the pump drive power has been calculated. It is
now necessary to allow for the motor efficiency in order to assess the electrical input
power required
Sample calculation 4
Taking sample calculation 3 and assuming a typical electric motor full load efficiency of
89%. The drive motor electrical input power required is
Pp = Pm/( 2) = 18.1/(0.89) = 20.3kW
(Where 2 is efficiency of the electric motor)

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Appendix 1 (Pipes flow chart)

187