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From on-farm solid-set sprinkler irrigation design to collective irrigation network design in windy areas

AuthorsZapata Ruiz, Nery CSIC ORCID ; Playán Jubillar, Enrique CSIC ORCID ; Martínez-Cob, Antonio CSIC; Sánchez Marcos, Ignacio; Faci González, José María; Lecina Brau, Sergio CSIC
KeywordsSprinkler irrigation performance
Collective irrigation network design
Sprinkler irrigation simulation models
Solid-set sprinkler irrigation
Wind effects on sprinkler irrigation systems
Issue Date24-Jan-2007
CitationAgricultural Water Management 87 (2): 187-199 (2007)
AbstractIn this paper, a contribution to the design of collective pressurized irrigation networks in solid-set sprinkler irrigated windy areas is presented. The methodology is based on guaranteeing minimum on-farm performance, using a historical hourly wind speed database and a ballistic solid-set irrigation simulation model. The proposed method was applied to the Montesnegros Irrigation District (central Ebro basin, Spain). The district irrigates an area of 3,493 ha using an on-demand schedule. The average wind speed in the area is 2,8 m s-1. An analysis of district water records showed that farmers often reduce water demand when the wind speed is high, but their irrigation decision making is limited by the capacity of the irrigation network and by the unpredictable character of local winds. Simulations were performed for eleven irrigation seasons, two triangular sprinkler spacings (18x18 and 18x15 m), and two sprinkler models. The percentage of monthly suitable time for irrigation was determined for four management strategies. The first one was based on a wind speed threshold (3 m s-1), while the other three were based on three levels (standard, relaxed and restrictive) of two irrigation performance parameters: the Christiansen Uniformity Coefficient (CU) and the Wind Drift and Evaporation Losses (WDEL). The thresholds for the standard strategy were CU ≥ 84% and WDEL ≤ 20%. The suitable time for the first strategy (56%) was always lower than for the standard and the relaxed strategies (with respective average values of 75 and 86%), and higher than for the restrictive strategy (30%). In order to design the collective network, the hydrant operating time was equalled to the suitable time for irrigation. The differences in the cost of the collective network plus the on-farm equipment were particularly relevant between the restrictive strategy and the other three. Differences in suitable operating time were clear between sprinkler spacings, and less evident between sprinkler models. The application of the proposed methodology may be limited by the availability of historical wind speed records and CU estimates for different combinations of sprinkler models, sprinkler spacings and wind speed.
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