Start the new year on a good foot by investigating the effectiveness of your irrigation systems. The success of any given irrigation system is dependent on a wide variety of variables. However, two very important aspects should never be neglected if you want to enjoy some solid return on investment – 1) investment in high-quality components and 2) proper system maintenance.
Even if you are on a budget, maintaining your drip irrigation system will ensure that you get the most out of it in the long run. Depending on the type of set-up you have, this could include everything from checking electrical components, nozzles, and gearboxes, to adjusting sprinklers to facilitate even and consistent water distribution.
The water distribution components of your system should also be checked and maintained regularly. In the case of drip irrigation, this includes your drippers and driplines, which need to be kept scrupulously clean to keep the risk of clogging to a minimum.
Here are a few top drip irrigation tips from the Bekmar team to help you do so:
IMPORTANT MAINTENANCE STEPS TO KEEP CLOGGING AT BAY IN A DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Choose the right kind of drippers
Once it dripper is clogged, it’s rather hard to restore flow. As such, we recommend that you start by selecting drippers that do not clog easily. Ideally, you want to invest in drippers that have large filters, a design that facilitates maximum turbulence and has a pressure-regulating diaphragm that promotes self-flushing.
Get the system design right
When it comes to drip irrigation systems, you want to ensure that the design allows for sufficient flow to allow for the flushing of laterals. This is one of the most important aspects of drip irrigation maintenance.
If you are having a professional design done, request flush valves to be installed on the main and sub-main pipelines, and that each block has individual valves and injection points. This allows you to apply customised treatments to each block. You also want to have enough capacity to handle chemical treatments if it should ever come to it.
Test your water source!
Understanding your water source is key if you want to stay ahead of the clogging curve. Take a sample and send it for a full lab analysis during your planning phase. Ideally, you want to start with enough lead time, so you can take samples at different times of the year, and in different seasons to ascertain whether there is a change in quality.
The results of these tests provide professional system designers with invaluable information when it comes to choosing components and created a design that keeps clogging to a minimum. They will be looking out for things like elevated levels of iron, manganese, total suspended solids (TSS), and organic matter.
Do spot checks
Aside from adhering to a regular maintenance schedule, you should also take the time to do a few visual spot checks now and again. This entails physically cutting open a few drippers in your system to see if there are any clogs, and what could have caused it.
Apply suitable chemical treatments as required
If you do find that you have big clogging issues due to high levels of iron, manganese, total suspended solids (TSS), and organic matter, there are chemical treatments that can help. For instance, in the case of organic matter, a hydrogen peroxide treatment will oxidise the organic matter, producing harmless carbon dioxide and water that will move through the system quite easily.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DRIP IRRIGATION MAINTENANCE BY BEKMAR
Feeling a little overwhelmed? No problem – we’re here to help. Please feel free to get in touch with the Bekmar team. One of our knowledgeable consultants will be happy to provide you with the info you require. We look forward to discussing your drip irrigation maintenance needs, as well as finding and providing a cost-effective way to keep your systems in prime working condition for many years to come.