Irrigation system efficiency is a measure of how efficiently and accurately the irrigation system is applying water in relation to the amount of water required by a crop, plant, or landscape. Total irrigation system efficiency incorporates irrigation system performance, the uniformity of water application (distribution uniformity), soil types , soil water holding capacity, crop evapotranspiration rates, weather patterns and irrigation cycle schedules. An efficient irrigation system provides a crop with the required amount of water at the correct time and helps avoid costly overwatering.
Growers with one or more acres of planted, irrigated agricultural material are eligible to receive a free irrigation system evaluation conducted by the District’s Agricultural Program Director. This service is provided free of charge to agricultural producers within San Diego County who utilize imported, municipal water from water or utility districts. This irrigation system evaluation provides growers and managers with valuable tools to manage their agricultural properties and water resources.
During an irrigation system evaluation, the Agricultural Program Director assesses the existing irrigation system while it is operating to determine system pressure, system uniformity, flow-rates, and application rates. A visual inspection of other factors and conditions affecting system performance is also completed. Soil characteristics and rooting depth are ascertained in order to determine the on-site soil-plant-water correlation.
Growers will be given a report that details the evaluation’s finding. The report includes the results of the uniformity test, ranking of the existing irrigation system’s total efficiency and problematic areas in the irrigation system. The report also details recommendations for improving overall system efficiency and includes a recommended irrigation schedule. The Program Director will discuss observations made of the system while in the field and provide information on the use of CIMIS, irrigation scheduling, water budgets and Best management practices (BMPs).
To sign up for a free agricultural irrigation system evaluation, contact Lance Andersen, the District’s Agricultural Program Director, at (760) 728-1332 or (redacted).
Funding for this program is provided by the San Diego County Water Authority.