Emitter discharge variability of subsurface drip irrigation in uniform soils: effect on water-application uniformity
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- Gil, M., Rodríguez-Sinobas, L., Juana, L. et al. Irrig Sci (2008) 26: 451. doi:10.1007/s00271-008-0116-1
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Emitter discharge of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) decreases as a result of the overpressure in the soil water at the discharge orifice. In this paper, the variation in dripper discharge in SDI laterals is studied. First, the emitter coefficient of flow variation CVq was measured in laboratory experiments with drippers of 2 and 4 L/h that were laid both on the soil and beneath it. Additionally, the soil pressure coefficient of variation CVhs was measured in buried emitters. Then, the irrigation uniformity was simulated in SDI and surface irrigation laterals under the same operating conditions and uniform soils; sandy and loamy. CVq was similar for the compensating models of both the surface and subsurface emitters. However, CVq decreased for the 2-L/h non-compensating model in the loamy soil. This shows a possible self-regulation of non-compensating emitter discharge in SDI, due to the interaction between effects of emitter discharge and soil pressure. This resulted in the irrigation uniformity of SDI non-compensating emitters to be greater than surface drip irrigation. The uniformity with pressure-compensating emitters would be similar in both cases, provided the overpressures in SDI are less than or equal to the compensation range lower limit.