Micro Irrigation Basics

Save Water & Time with Dipper Irrigation

As soon as the Adelaide summer heat starts drying out the garden, you’ll thank yourself that you’ve installed a dripper irrigation system. Not only does it save lots of time and personal effort  watering by hand, but the drippers are very water-wise as well.

Re-Configurable Drippers

Over time I’ve evolved a re-usable irrigation system based around products I was introduced to by the fabulous team at Menzel Plastics. It is based on 8mm line with internal drippers spaced at either 150 or 300mm – I prefer the 150mm version myself.

I use a network of 19mm irrigation pipes as an arterial water feed throughout the garden. Then I tap a series of 8mm pipes at intervals and lengths to suit the vegetables I grow in that area. These are pinched off a the desired length using short lengths of 12mm irrigation pipe as illustrated below.

When an individual 8mm pipe is no longer needed, I pinch it off – again using 12mm pipe – as close as possible to the 19mm feed. When the 8mm dripper line is needed again I simply relocate the 12mm pinch to where the dripper feed should end. This enables me to quickly reconfigure the garden’s irrigation layout to suit the changing vegies without wasting the relatively expensive 8mm line. Also I can selectively pinch of lengths to save water or double them up for extra thirsty vegies. I also use the same system around the fruit trees sometime with mulitple looks of dipper line nd duoble ups to deliver the amount of water I think is needed at the time.

Irrigation System Longetivity

So far Ive been using the same 8mm dippers for 5 years and havent really had any problems at all. Of course filters from your water source is absolutely mandatory!

Pumped rainwater and mains water

Ive also setup a rainwater tank pumped water feed and a mains fed back feed into my network. This allows me to use rainwater while its available but fall back to mains water when the rain water tank inevitably runs out. I have a good quality tap timer on my mains feed which operates as a backwash preventer, and I turn the rainwater tank off at its cock-stop preventing mains water from flowing back into the tank.

It all seems to work well and is quite low maintenance – except if you slice the line with a shovel 😉