One limiting factor of an irrigation system is the quality of the freshwater. No matter if we are talking about private gardens and lawn or agricultural work, where the water is of bad quality, the irrigation system needs high maintenance. In these cases, the costs for cleaning and service are high.
The fundamental functionality of an irrigation or watering system is simple. First, you need water either in a tank or other sources. Second, a pump is needed for transportation as well as hoses or pipes. These supply the sprinkler system(s) or dripping system(s). A control instrument is there to monitor and operate the system.
There are different irrigation methods concerning the control tool. The easiest way to control the system is a time switch. For more complex applications there are sensors, monitoring the moisture of the soil and rain sensors which adjust the watering in accordance with these data. This works for garden irrigation and in agriculture, only the dimensions differ.
When gardening and at lawn care classical watering methods like the watering can are replaced with automated watering. Many gardens and public parks have upgraded their irrigation system. The benefits are clear: The watering can is heavy to carry and therefore on the long run responsible for back pain for the workers. Apart from that, the automated water supply is reliable even during the holiday season. Nevertheless, automated irrigation can only work if all components function properly.
Irrigation in Agriculture
For large landscapes and farming, pivot irrigation systems are used. The irrigation lines with the sprinkler heads circle around a center-pivot over the floor. The water is fed into the pivot in the center and hoses lead it to the sprinklers. An engine drives the sprinkler arms in a circle. As the average arm-length is about 400 meters, plants in a circle of 800 meters diameter are watered. The several sprinkler heads are installed along the arms to evenly irrigate the soil. Therefore the water flow at all sprinklers should be the same. For precise irrigation and water-efficient irrigation the valves, sprinkler heads and the whole irrigation system has been improved during the past years.
A second common watering system is the impact sprinkler. Here single sprinkler heads are installed on top of a water supplying pipe these are close to the floor and spin around themselves. They either perform a full or partial circle and can also be used for lawn irrigation in private gardens. With huge impact sprinklers, a diameter up to 70 meters can be irrigated. The system is driven by the water itself and the swing arm as the main part of this sprinkler system.
Possible Issues with Irrigation or Watering
As we successfully provide water treatment technology we are facing questions from all over the world concerning limescale, corrosion or biofilm in the irrigation system. The root of these issues is the water supply and namely the water quality.
Hard water contains limescale and salts which can settle in pipes and especially in small valves or sprinklers. If the water itself contains iron, metallic pipes are harmed by corrosion. Plants develop a brown color, which is an indicator of iron in the water. Lately, biofilm or biomass is a current problem in farms and private irrigation systems. Once the system is contaminated with microbial growth, it constantly produces new biomass. The risk of blocked pipes in the whole system gets higher and higher. Where the irrigation is also used for fertilizers, the efficiency of the fertilizer can be affected negatively and it is difficult to estimate the right amount of fertilizers.
Often it is not an option for chemical treatment. The amount of water used is too high and the costs are unbearable – some farms in North America, we are working with, need more than 1000m3 a month. Decalcification can be very costly.
Reducing Limescale, Rust and Biofilm with Merus Rings
If chemical water treatment is not possible for economic or ecological reasons, physical water treatment can be an option. We are providing so-called Merus Rings which are a sustainable solution for problems around water systems. The trick is to keep foreign substances solved in the water. As long as they don’t settle but are flushed out of the system constantly – blocked pipes are not an issue anymore.
In private homes, where the house is equipped with the Merus Ring, usually, the water for the lawn and vegetable garden is included. In cases of a huge landscape or a garden with a well, a second Merus Ring is needed. It is installed at the main pipe.
At farms, the amount of Merus Rings needed for a sufficient result depends on the size of the landscape and the irrigation system. Often we install more than one Merus Ring to reach every hose, pipe, valve and finally plant.