Filtration, a key stage in precision irrigation
The filtration of the water that accesses the irrigation system of our farm is one of the most important and essential phases for the proper functioning of the rest of the system. If the filtration phase is planned and executed correctly, it will have as main benefit the increase of the useful life of the installation. However, if it is projected or planned incorrectly or erroneously, or even all factors are not taken into account, it may cause access to the irrigation facility of poor quality, contaminated water or with an incorrect composition, which can cause us serious trouble.
This phase is more important in precision irrigation systems, such as drip or micro spray. Therefore, to be able to work with a high level of demand, a plug-free installation is required both in the control, protection and measurement elements, and in the emitting drippers. Filtration is the phase that protects us against these potential obstructions.
Did you know that for every hour of operation you can accumulate between 1.5 and 2 kg of sand in the filters? Taking into account that the pollutant load of water is approx. 20 ppm and work with a flow rate of 100 m3/h.
Why is an efficient filtering system necessary?
The filtering phase in our irrigation system aims to eliminate particles and other elements that reduce water quality. The group of pumps and hydraulics drinks water from different natural sources (wells, ditches, canals, …) water, which in its natural state usually carries associated impurities.
Our filtering system will be installed just after the extractor group, to ensure that all the liquid element that enters the system has the necessary quality.
Thus, the filtration system is an insurance to avoid subsequent installation failures. Therefore, it is necessary to correctly design the filtration system of our farm.
Let’s look at some key points:
- Protects the irrigation system from possible breakage and marked load losses due to obstruction in the irrigation emitters considerably reduces the uniformity of the system, causing a bad distribution of water and nutrients in our crop.
- Extends the life of the issuers, saving direct costs of buying new and indirect issuers by saving you the labor of reviewing and changing those elements. In addition to the time that will be the installation without service while performing these maintenance tasks.
- General cost savings of the installation by increasing its useful life. The obstructions are the most damaging enemy for the irrigation systems, mainly due to the problems that may come later (water hammer, breakage, poor closing of valves, …).
What factors should we consider to select the filtering system?
The selection of the filtering system will be based on the quality or polluting load of the source water source of the system (an important fact is the amount of suspended solids, that is, the size and concentration of particles). For this, it is necessary (and recommended) to carry out an analysis of the quality of the water in the laboratory, to see the technification of equipment and the volume of water needed to filter according to the demand of our exploitation.
Although in a general and simple way we can have some idea of the impurities that we will find in the water depending on where we take it:
- If we take water from aquifers and/or wells, we can find inorganic particles in suspension (sand, silt, clay).
- If the starting water comes from canals/rivers, depending on the climatic conditions we can find more or less organic matter load, along with solids from the trawlers.
- If the starting water is stored in deposits or reservoirs discovered, we will find organic matter (algae) and inorganic.
An important aspect that should not be overlooked is if our irrigation facility has an associated fertirrigation system. If so, it is necessary to have a filter (mesh or rings) just after the fertigation equipment in order to retain precipitated salts that may have formed when mixing fertilizers with water.