Irrigation Science

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 451–458

Emitter discharge variability of subsurface drip irrigation in uniform soils: effect on water-application uniformity

  • M. Gil
  • L. Rodríguez-Sinobas
  • L. Juana
  • R. Sánchez
  • A. Losada


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.


  1. Anyoji H, Wu IP (1994) Normal distribution water application for drip irrigation schedules. Trans ASAE 37:159–164Google Scholar
  2. ASAE (1996) ASAE standards engineering practices data. 43rd edn., MI, USA, pp 864Google Scholar
  3. Ayars JE, Phene CJ, Hutmacher RB, Davis KR, Schoneman RA, Vail SS, Mead RM (1999) Subsurface drip irrigation of row crops: a review of 15 years of research at the Water Management Research Laboratory. Agric Water Manag 42(1):1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bordovsky KP, Porter DO (2006) Comparison of subsurface drip irrigation uniformity designs on cotton production. ASAE Paper 06-2276. ASAE, St. JosephGoogle Scholar
  5. Camp CR (1998) Subsurface drip irrigation: a review. Trans ASAE 41:1353–1367Google Scholar
  6. Camp CR, Sadler EJ, Busscher WJ (1997a) A comparison of uniformity measures for drip irrigation systems. Trans ASAE 40(4):1013–1020Google Scholar
  7. Camp CR, Sadler EJ, Busscher WJ (1997b) Subsurface drip irrigation lateral spacing and management for cotton in the southeastern coastal plain. Trans ASAE 40(4):993–999Google Scholar
  8. Dasberg S, Or D (1999) Drip irrigation. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 162Google Scholar
  9. Day PR (1965) Particle fractionation and particle-size analysis. In: Black CA et al. (ed) Methods of soil analysis. Part I: agronomy. 9: 545–567Google Scholar
  10. Gardner WR (1958) Some steady state solutions of unsaturated moisture flow equations with application to evaporation from a water table. Soil Sci 85:228–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gil M, Rodríguez-Sinobas L, Sánchez R, Juana L, Losada A (2007) Efecto del suelo en el caudal del gotero en riego subsuperficial. Determinación de caudales máximos. Congreso Nacional de Riegos, Pamplona (Spain)Google Scholar
  12. Grabow GL, Huffman RL, Evans RO, Jordan DL, Nuti RC (2006) Water distribution from a subsurface drip irrigation system and dripline spacing effect on cotton yield and water use efficiency in a coastal plain soil. Trans ASAE 49(6):1823–1835Google Scholar
  13. Karmeli D, Keller J (1975) Trickle irrigation design. Rain Bird Sprinkler Manufacturing Corp., Glendora, CAGoogle Scholar
  14. Lazarovitch N, Simunek J, Shani U (2005) System dependent boundary conditions for water flow from a subsurface source. Soil Sci Soc Am J 69:46–50Google Scholar
  15. Lazarovitch N, Shani U, Thompson TL Warrick (2006) Soil hydraulic properties affecting discharge uniformity of gravity-fed subsurface drip irrigation. J Irrig Drain Eng 132: 531–536Google Scholar
  16. Mizyed N, Kruse EG (1989) Emitter discharge evaluation of subsurface trickle irrigation systems. Trans ASAE 32:1223–1228Google Scholar
  17. Oehlert GW (1992) A note on the delta method. Am Stat 46:27–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Phene CR, Yue R, Wu IP, Ayars JE, Shoneman RA, Meso B (1992) Distribution uniformity of subsurface drip irrigation systems. ASAE Paper 92–2569. ASAE, St. JosephGoogle Scholar
  19. Philip JR (1992) What happens near a quasi-linear point source? Water Resour Res 28:47–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rodriguez-Sinobas L, Juana L, Losada A (1999) Effects of temperature changes on emitter discharge. J Irrig Drain Eng 125:64–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sadler E, Camp CR, Busscher WJ (1995) Emitter flow rate changes caused by excavating subsurface microirrigation tubing. In: Proc. Of the 5th int. microirrigation congress ed. F.R. Lamm. ASAE, St. Joseph, pp. 763–768Google Scholar
  22. Safi B, Neyshaboury R, Bazemi AH (2007) Water application uniformity of a subsurface drip irrigation system at various operating pressures and tapes lengths. Turk J Agric For 31:275–285Google Scholar
  23. Schaap MG, Leij FJ, van Genuchten (2001) ROSETTA: a computer program for estimating soil hydraulic parameters with hierarchical pedotransfer functions. J Hydrol 251: 163–176Google Scholar
  24. Shani U, Xue S, Gordin-Katz R, Warrick AW (1996) Soil-limiting from subsurface emitters. I: Pressure measurements. J Irrig Drain Eng 122:291–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Simunek J, Sejna M, van Genuchten MTh (2006) The HYDRUS-2D software package for simulating two- and three-dimensional movement of water, heat, and multiple solutes in variably saturated media Version 1.0 PC Progress. PragueGoogle Scholar
  26. Solomon PE (1977) Manufacturing variation of emitters in trickle irrigation systems. ASAE Paper 77–2009Google Scholar
  27. Van Genuchten MTh (1980) A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 44:892–898Google Scholar
  28. Warrick AW, Shani U (1996) Soil-limiting flow from subsurface emitters. II: effect on uniformity. J Irrig Drain Eng 122:296–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gil
    • 1
  • L. Rodríguez-Sinobas
    • 1
  • L. Juana
    • 1
  • R. Sánchez
    • 1
  • A. Losada
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rural EngineeringE.T.S.I Agrónomos Universidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations