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Irrigation water leaks

Editor Lynn Jaynes Published on 30 April 2015

Irrigation Leaks

 If you had a sack of money slung over your shoulder and someone told you the bag had a hole in it and coins were falling out, you’d probably fix it. If dollar bills were falling out, you’d not only fix it, you’d retrace your steps and pick up every darn one.

Yet somehow, during irrigation season when the sprinkler pipes or nozzles are leaking, we don’t value it as we would lost money. Yet we not only lose water but also the electrical costs associated with the leak.

So it’s hard to decide whether the leak is the worst of your problems, or not fixing the leak.

Dr. Howard Neibling, Biological and Agricultural Engineer at University of Idaho extension, gives some graphic examples of what even seemingly minor leaks can mean.

Neibling conducted a study funded by Idaho Power and measured the flow and calculated the costs from several leaks he found in irrigation equipment.

Prepare for a sobering reality check.

For all calculations in the following examples, full-season use is assumed as 1500 hours of operation at 50 psi, with a cost of $0.079 per kilowatt hour. If pumping from a canal, a 30-foot rise was estimated, and a 300-foot rise was estimated if pumped from a well.  FG

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