British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Irrigation equipment and design of irrigation systems Van der Gulik, Ted 1980-01-07

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Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation IRRIGATION EQUIPMENT AND DESIGN OF IRRIGATION SYSTEMS by Ted Van der Gulik Ministry of Agriculture   163 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation IRRIGATION EQUIPMENT AND DESIGN OF IRRIGATION SYSTEMS INTRODUCTION The purpose of this presentation is to present the advantages and dis-advantages of different types of irrigation systems currently available to farmers. The main types of irrigation systems used on pasture, corn or alfalfa crops are handmove, wheelmove, guns on tripods, travelling guns and pivots. HAND AND WHEELMOVE SYSTEMS The relatively inexpensive handmove systems are still being used throughout B.C., but are slowly being phased-out by less labour in-tensive methods. Wheelmove systems are a good alternative to handmove on larger rec-tangular shaped fields, and are popular because of the simple operation involved in moving the lateral from one location to another. A false belief is that these systems are capable of independent movement while irrigating; but this is impossible. The pipe would be unable to with-stand the torque required to roll the system ahead if it were full of water. The lateral must be completely drained before the system can be advanced. Each section of pipe on the lateral contains a small drain which automatically opens once the water pressure is relieved. There are wheelmove systems available which will automatically advance themselves two positions when required. They consist of a mover with an electronic timing board, and a 100-foot length of flexible hose complete with an automatic valve attachable to the hydrant. When a watering set has been completed, the timing board automatically shuts off the valve which allows the entire wheel line to drain. After a set period of time, the engine is automatically restarted to advance the 165 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation system - usually 60 feet. The engine then shuts off and the valve is re-opened to allow the system to continue irrigating. The advantage of a wheelmove system is that it substantially reduces labour requirements for a relatively small increase in cost. The main disadvantages are that wheel moves are not effective in irregularly shaped fields or rough terrain, and are incapable of irrigating crops such as corn. GUN SYSTEMS A large percentage of British Columbia's corn crop is irrigated with gun systems. The simplest of these is a gun operating on a tripod. Water is distributed to the tripods by a long flexible hose or portable aluminum pipe. The tripod must be moved from one location to another three or four times per day and, although this can be done quickly, it must be done so often on larger acreages that these systems are very labour intensive. Labour requirements can be reduced by installing a network of underground piping with properly spaced hydrants, so that the portable gun can be quick-coupled to any hydrant. This latter system is expensive because of the extensive lengths of piping re-quired. The advantage of a portable gun system is that it distributes water effectively regardless of the shape or terrain of a field. If the field is larger than 20 acres and a gun system is preferred, a travelling gun is usually the best method to use. These systems are popular because irregular shaped fields can be irrigated with minimal labour. There are two basic types of travelling guns; the winch type irrigator and the reel irrigator. The winch machine draws itself along on a cable anchored at the end of the field, dragging the supply hose behind it. The reel irrigator reels in the hose and gun while the machine 166 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation itself remains stationary. The two types of machines differ greatly in operation but are similar in irrigation performance. To operate a winch type irrigator, the cable must first be drawn out with a tractor and anchored at the end of the field. The hose must also be drawn out and connected to the hydrant as well as to the traveller. When the traveller has completed its run, a purge pump should be used to remove the water from the hose. The hose must then be reeled in on a trailer, moved to a new location, and then drawn out again. The traveller must also be moved to the new location and the cable drawn out. The reel irrigator requires less labour then the winch irrigator for two reasons; the hose and gun are drawn out together, and the machine reels in the hose as it is operating. When the irrigation cycle has been completed the entire system can be towed to a new location. The hose used on the reel irrigator is a nard durable plastic and is not collapsible as is the hose on the winch irrigator. Most travelling guns are powered by available water pressure. The two basic types of driving mechanisms available are the piston drive and the turbine drive. A piston drive system is a bit jerky and needs to release some water from the system as it moves. This water must be disposed of near the machine. The turbine drive is quiet, smooth and does not discharge any water; however, it requires slightly more power than the piston drive. The limitations of all travelling guns are their: a. high water application rates so they do not operate very efficiently on soils with low infiltration rates (i.e. muck or clay) b. requirement for a much higher connection pressure than other systems because of the friction losses in the hose and power required for the driving mechanism 167 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation c.  need for special care and attention in operation because of the high pressures and the intricate mechanisms involved. CENTRE-PIVOT SYSTEMS Centre-pivot systems are popular in the United States. They are generally permanent installations on very large acreages and are avail-able with either hydraulic or electric drive. Twenty to thirty of these machines are working satisfactorily in British Columbia. Most British Columbia farms are of small acreage, so pivot manufac- turers have developed (but not yet marketed in the province) a small pivot which can be end-towed from field to field. The advantages of the small pivot are that it can: a. irrigate odd-shaped parcels of land by distributing water in partial circles; b. be set up and then operated with minimal labour; c. apply the exact quantity of water needed by the crop; d. operate on much less pressure than travelling guns because low pressure nozzles can be used. Its principal disadvantage is that it takes three to four hours to move them from one location to another. IRRIGATION SYSTEM DESIGN For proper irrigation system design, information regarding crops, soils and climate must be acquired. It is also necessary to know the type of crop, soil depth and soil texture (see Figure 1). The evapotranspira- 168 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation tion rate is also important, consequently, to assess this, wind speeds and precipitation data are required. The system can be designed by completing the 13 planning steps which follow: Step 1   Determine the effective rooting depth of the crop. From Table 1 we find that alfalfa, for example, has an ef-fective rooting depth of four feet. Step 2   Determine the soil texture and the depth of each soil layer. Step 3   Determine the available water storage capacity. Unce the soil texture is known, the available water storage capacity of that soil can be determined from Table 2. (Sandy loam 1.5 in./ft.) Step 4 Calculate the total available water storage capacity for the entire rooting depth.  Assuming we have four feet of sandy loam soil, then the total available water storage capacity = 4 x 1.5 =6.0 inches of water. Step 5 Determine the maximum allowable soil deficit. Alfalfa can effectively extract only 50% of the total available water storage capacity before it begins to suffer (Table 3). The maximum allowable soil deficit is therefore (6.0 in. x 0.50) = 3.0 inches of water. 169 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Step 6   Determine the maximum design application rate. Soils have the capability of absorbing water at a certain rate over a specified period. The intake rate decreases as time increases. For most irrigation designs we are interested in a long application period. From Table 4, the maximum application rate is 0.45 in./hr. for a sod cover. Step 7  Determine the evapotranspiration rate. From Table 5, for One Hundred Mile House the evapotranspira-tion is 0.20 in./day. Step 8  The safe irrigation interval is the maximum soil water deficit over the evapotranspiration rate. 3.0 in./O.20 in./day = 15 days Step 9  Select an appropriate application efficiency.  A figure of 72% is a good value to use for a sprinkler system. Step 10  Calculate the depth of water that must be supplied by the irrigation system. 3.0 inches = 4.16 inches 0.72 Step 11  Calculate the minimum time of application. 4.16 inches  (Gross water required) =9.2 hours 0.45 in./hr. (Max. appl. rate) 170 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Step 12      Select an appropriate application time. e.g.    11-1/2 hours leaving 1/2 hour for moving the  system. The design application rate =  4.16      =    0.36 in./hr. 11-1/2 Step 13      Select a sprinkler. After a spacing is chosen, Table 6 can be used to select a sprinkler. Application rate = 0.36 in./hr. Sprinkler nozzle:    3/16" x 3/32" Pressure:    49 psi Flow rate:    9.0  gpmApplication efficiency:    72% The final system design consists of 9.0 gpm sprinklers operating at 49 psi on a 40 x 60 foot spacing. The net amount of water applied to the crop in 11-1/2 hours is 3.0 inches, which will allow for an irrigation interval of 15 days on the sandy loarn soil. 171 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Table 1 EFFECTIVE ROOTING UEPTHS OF CROPS GROUP 1 GROUP 2 GROUP 3 Shallow Irrigation     Medium Irrigation      Deep Irrigation (1-1/2’) (3’) (3’ plus) Peas Potatoes Alfalfa Beans Beets Asparagus Lettuce Broccoli Tree fruits Onions Carrots Hubbard squash Radish Strawberry Corn (field) Spinach Cane fruit Grapes Celery Squash Cauliflower Corn (sweet) Cabbage Cereals Ladino Tomatoes Turnip Peppers Cucumbers Eggplant Pasture species Brussels sprouts Red clover Table 2  AVAILABLE WATER STORAGE CAPACITY (AWSC) INCHES OF WATER PER FOOT OF SOIL Available TEXTURAL CLASS        Field     Permanent   Water Storage Capacity   Wilting Point   Capacity Sand 1.3 0.3 1.0 Loamy Sand 1.7 0.5 1.2 Sandy Loam 2.2 0.7 1.5 Fine Sandy  Loam        2.6 0.9 1.7 Loam 3.3 1.2 2.1 Silt Loam 4.0 1.5 2.5 Clay Loam 4.5 2.1 2.4 Clay 4.6 2.2 2.4 Organic Soils Muck        to be added 3.0 172 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Table 3 AVAILABILITY COEFFICIEHT (MAXIMUM FRACTION OF AVAILABLE WATER STORAGE CAPACITY TO BE REMOVED BEFORE IRRIGATION IS REQUIRED) CROP AVAILABILITY COEFFICIENT Potatoes 0.35 Tree Fruits (Coarse textured soils) 0.40 (Other soils) 0.50 Peas 0.35 Remainder of Crops (Until additional data available) 0.50 Table 4  MAXIMUM DESIGN APPLICATION RATE INCHES PER HOUR Grass Sod     Cultivated Sand 0.75 0.40 Loamy Sand 0.65 0.35 Sandy Loam 0.45 0.25 Loam, Silt Loam                        0.35 0.20 Clay Loam, Silty Clay Loam               0.30 0.15 Clay 0.25 0.10 Peat and Muck                                   1.0             1.0 173 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation FIGURE 1 GUIDE FOR TEXTURAL CLASIFICATION Per cent Clay         174  Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Table 5 DETERMINATION OF MAXIMUM DAILY WATER USE FOR VARIOUS AREAS IN B.C. MAXIMUM AVERAGE DAILY  WATER USE  FOR LOCATION 10-day period     20-day period     30-day period in inches/day      in inches/day      in  inches/day Lumby 0.23 0.22 0.21 Lytton 0.29 0.28 0.27 Malakwa 0.20 0.18 0.18 Merritt 0.26 0.25 0.24 Nanaimo 0.19 0.17 0.16 Natal 0.18 0.17 0.16 Notch Hill 0.20 0.19 0.18 Oliver 0.25 0.23 0.22 One Hundred Mile House 0.20 0.19 0.18 Osoyoos 0.28 0.27 0.26 Oyster River* 0.17 0.15 0.13 Parksville 0.17 0.15 0.14 Pitt Meadows 0.17 0.15 0.13 Port Alberni 0.20 0.19 0.18 Prince George* 0.22 0.18 0.16 Princeton 0.25 0.24 0.23 Quesnel* 0.23 0.22 0.21 Radium 0.20 0.19 0.18 Riske Creek* 0.24 0.22 0.21 Saanichton* 0.17 0.16 0.15 Salmon Arm 0.17 0.16 0.16 Smithers 0.17 0.15 0.14 Spillimacheen 0.20 0.19 0.19 Sumas 0.17 0.16 0.15 Summerland 0.25 0.24 0.23 Terrace 0.20 0.19 0.18 Vancouver 0.18 0.17 0.16 Vanderhoof 0.20 0.19 0.19 Vavenby 0.20 0.18 0.17 Vernon 0.23 0.22 0.21 Walhachin 0.25 0.24 0.23 Westwold 0.26 0.25 0.24 Williams Lake 0.24 0.22 0.21 *Values adjusted to actual field experience. 175 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Table 6  SPRINKLER SELECTION FOR 40'   X 60'  SPACING APPLICATION EFFICIENCY APPLICA- SPRINKLER PRESSURE FLOW COEFFICI- _______________________ TION NOZZLE AT PER ENT OF WIND Cool Hot RATE SIZE NOZZLE NOZZLE UNIFORMITY RANGE     Climate   Climate (in/hr) (in) (psi) (US gpm) (%) (%) (%) 0.13 1/8 51 3.25 86 1-3 75 73 0.14 9/64 37 3.50 85 1-2 74 72 0.15 9/64 43 3.75 86 2-5 74 72 0.16 9/64 48 3.95 83 2-7 74 72 0.17 5/32 37 4.30 80 0-1 74 72 0.18 5/32 41 4.50 86 2-7 74 72 0.19 5/32 46 4.76 87 5-7 74 72 0.21 11/64       38     5.23 86 2-5 74 72 0.22 11/64       42     5.51 86 4-6 74 72 0.23 11/64       45     5.70 86 3-4 75 73 0.24 5/32x3/32 38 6.01 82 3-6 74 72 0.25 5/32x3/32 42 6.25 77 5-10 74 72 0.26 5/32x3/32 45 6.48 79 5-7 74 72 0.27 5/32x3/32 48-1/2 6.73 82 2-6 74 72 0.28 11/64x3/32 40 7.03 82 3-4 74 72 0.29 11/64x3/32 42-1/2 7.25 83 2-3 74 72 0.30 11/64x3/32 45 7.46 85 4-7 74 72 0.31 11/64x3/32 74-1/2 7.70 84 3-6 77 75 0.32 3/16x3/32 40 8.00 84 3-6 78 76 0.34 3/16x3/32 44 8.50 83 3-7 74 72 0.36 3/16x3/32 49 9.00 84 0-1 74 72 0.38 3/16x1/8 40 9.48 84 1-2 74 72 0.40 3/16x1/8 44 10.00 88 3-7 80 78 0.42 3/16x1/8 49 10.50 90 0-1 80 78 0.46 13/64x1/8 46 11.50 85 4-7 78 76 0.48 13/64x1/8 50-1/2 12.00 89 4-8 80 78 176 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation DISCUSSION RELATED TO TED  VAN DER GULIK’S PAPER Questioner Unidentified: On how steep a slope would you consider gun irrigation? Answer: We don't really have any figures on that, but it would be determined by your application rate. You should check the appli-cation rate of the kind of gun you have. At the Ministry of Agriculture, we have a manual called the B.C. Irrigation Guide which contains a slope correction factor. If you have, say, a sandy loam soil, and an application rate of 0.45 inches per hour, and you're on a slope, you should decrease the rate by maybe twenty-five percent so you're allowing only 0.3 inches per hour. Then find out what your gun can do, and if it's putting out more than 0.3 inches per hour, you shouldn't be using it. There are many different kinds of guns, and their size will make a big difference to the application rate. The kind of vegetation cover you have is also an important consideration. Questioner Unidentified: Well, assuming a sandy loam, what would be the maximum slope? Answer: You should use a small gun on a slope of not more than ten or fifteen percent. It depends upon the type of gun; for example, if you have a gun on a tripod, and your slope is twenty-five degrees, you may have difficulty in keeping the tripod upright. Questioner Unidentified: Do you have any costs, say, on a per acre basis and on equipment that can be rented? 177 Proceedings of the 4th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1980. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Answer: When I was in Calgary we rented a system for 80% of the cost of the system. We had to consider possible damage to the rented system. If the guy laid it out in the field and then ran tractors over it, it would come back all bent and beyond further use. So, people will rent, but I'll be very surprised if they'll rent to you at a reasonable rate. The only reason the guy wanted to rent from us was because he needed just a little bit of water for a week. We charged him 80% on the understanding that if it came back in good shape, he would get a rebate of some sort. Renting is not really the best approach, for if you find someone who will rent equipment, you're pretty lucky. The per-acre cost depends a lot upon the size of your acreage. If you have a wheel system and you're irrigating 40 acres, I would say the cost could be about 300 or 400 dollars an acre. If you have a travelling gun system, it would probably be about 500, 600, or 700 dollars an acre. If you're looking at a solid set for orchards, then it would be roughly 1,000 dollars per acre. These costs are only rough es-timates. Obviously, a guy can buy a travelling gun and have only twenty acres to irrigate, while the machine is capable of doing forty acres, so his acreage costs are doubled. Costs per acre also depend upon where you are getting the water from, for it may be necessary to pump it a long distance. 178 

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