Sprinkler Irrigation System

Sprinkler Irrigation system in Kenya

Sprinkler irrigation system is yet another common irrigation system that you could install on your farm to compensate for the low rains that Kenya has been experiencing for quite some time. Actually, a sprinkler irrigation system can be termed to be the opposite of a drip irrigation system.

This type of irrigation system, supplies water from an overhead position. The sprinklers rotate, distributing water to the plants on your farm from above. However, rest assured that you will find a variety of sprinkler irrigation systems from major irrigation equipment suppliers in Kenya.

Sprinkler irrigation system is  used for many crops like maize, beans, vegetables and other types of plants that require much water on different types of soils in various types of land slopes.

The system is best suitable for irrigating sandy soils at different slopes. This is because sandy soils have high filtration rates thus much water is needed to irrigate the land.

Sprinkler irrigation  system is best suitable for shallow soils that do not require proper leveling, areas with steep slopes with high washing of soil .i.e. erosion and high valued crops.

      Advantages of Sprinkler Irrigation System

  • Much water saving since side movement or percolation of water can be avoided by constructing terraces.
  • Land leveling is not necessary thus reducing the leveling costs.
  • Practiced in areas with non uniform slopes.
  • Practiced in areas where water is limited or scarce.
  • Pesticides and chemical applications can be done together with routine application of water.
  • Uniform application of water can be made in high porous soils.


Precautions required while installing Sprinkler Irrigation System

These are the points in which the farmer must consider before installing the sprinkler irrigation systems to ensure proper budgeting and operation of the system.

  • Sprinkler Irrigation System requires clean water to prevent the blockages of sprinkler nozzles.
  • It requires high technical personnel to operate and maintains the system.
  • Areas with strong wind are not advisable. This because the wind strength can blow away the system
  • Pipe laid on the soil can interfere with other farms of operation like plowing and harrowing purposes if not properly installed.
  • General operating cost is high.


Design and installation of Sprinkler Irrigation System.

These are the part and parcel of the system in order for the system to operate normally.

  • Screen or debris filter.

    It is used when the surface water is the main source of water for irrigation. The main function of the screen is to filter out the large solid particles that may block the sprinkler nozzles.

When irrigation water is comes from streams, open ditches and wells having silts, the desilting basins are used to trap out the silts instead of using the screen or disc filters.

  • Pumping Unit.

    Since the sprinkler irrigation water requires high pressure to provide water over the plants pumping unit is highly recommended to achieve this task.

The pressure forces the water though sprinklers or through perforations or nozzle in pipeline and then form a spray. A high speed centrifugal pump is used when the distance from the pump inlet to the water surface is less than eight meters.

For pumping water from deep wells or more than eight meters a turbine pump is highly recommended. The pumping driving unit may be either motor or an internal combustion engine.

  • Piping and tubing.

    The tubing consists of main line; sub main line, laterals and risers. Main line conveys water from the source and distributes it to the sub main line.

The sub main lines convey water to laterals which in turn supply water to the sprinklers. HDPE pipes and PVC pipes are usually used as main lines and sub mainlines for the buried and surface systems.

  • Pipe connectors.

    These are the pipe connectors that are used to quickly and easily join and disconnect pipes.

Pipe connectors should provide a reuse and flexible connection, be water tight, be simple and easy to join and disconnect, be light, non-corrosive and durable.

  • Sprinkler head

    . Sprinkler head supplies water uniformly over the field without runoff or much waters loss due to side movement or percolation.

Different types of sprinklers are available. They are either rotating or fixed type. The rotating type can be used in various applications and spacing.

Sprinkler heads are effective with pressure of about 10 meter to 70 meters head at the sprinkler. Working pressure of most sprinkler heads range from 16 meters to 40 meters head are the commonly used and practically achieved.

  • Fittings and accessories

    . The following are some of the important fittings and accessories used in sprinkler irrigation system for connection and flow measurements.

  1. Water meters. It used to measure the amount of water delivered.
  2. Flange, coupling and nipple used for proper connection to the pump, suction and delivery.
  3. Pressure gauge. Use in measuring whether the sprinkler is working at required pressure to ensure uniform water application.
  4. Bends, tees, reducers, elbows, hydrants, valves and plugs.


 Quantity of water required for a lawn.

Most lawns need about three centimetres of water per week. Though some compounds are different.

Sandy soils may require more water but heavy soils require less water. It’s best to water deeply and infrequently heavy soils to ensure percolation rates are catered for.

Allow the soil to dry between watering and water for longer periods to encourage deeper, stronger roots this ensures that water is adequately and properly utilized before next watering.

Frequent and light watering promotes shallow roots. Your grass then becomes dependent on you to provide the water that it needs.

A lawn with a strong root system is able to survive drought. In many climates, a healthy lawn can survive several weeks of drought dormancy, with little or no water, and green up again in the fall.

Appropriate time of lawn watering

Morning is the best time to irrigate your lawn. Midday watering when the sun is high should be avoided to prevent water loss by evaporation.

Watering in the evening increases the risk of disease, because grass stays damp all night. This diseases are mostly fungal related diseases.

Watering newly planted lawns

Newly planted lawns need more frequent irrigation than established lawns. Depending on the weather, new lawns may need to be watered daily.

Water enough to keep the soil moist, but not too wet. Over watering can wash away seeds, make seeds rot, cause disease, or slow the growth of grass.

As the grass becomes established, water less frequently but for longer periods to promote deep roots.

Lawn Sprinklers and Irrigation Systems

Cheap and reliable lawn irrigation system

You don’t need to have a complicated an in-ground system to have a nice lawn. A good  hose pipe or flexible pipe and portable sprinkler will be enough.

But for the lawn that are uniform or with given lawn pattern, we can also use drip system of closely placed emitters to ensure water is closely supplied to the lawn.

Select a sprinkler based on yard size and shape. Try to supply a uniform amount of water to the entire lawn. You can monitor this by placing containers at various points beneath the sprinkler’s pattern.

Measure the quantity of water captured in each container and overlap sprinkler patterns to supply the entire lawn with a uniform quantity of water.

Automatic Lawn Irrigation Systems

Lawn irrigation systems consist of timers, valves, underground piping, and sprinkler heads

An in-ground lawn irrigation system can save you time.

Log hose pipe and sprinkler from spot to spot is a lot of work, particularly if you have a large yard.

Automatic lawn system installation

  • Adjust your irrigation system based on current weather. There’s no point in watering during a heavy rainstorm, for example. Soil can only absorb so much water at once.
  • Change your watering schedule with the season. Your lawn needs less water during the spring, fall, and winter than it does during the summer.
  • Program your timer to water in cycles. Heavy soils and slopes sometimes can’t absorb water fast enough to prevent it from running off. Program your timer to water for several shorter periods, with about an hour in between, to let the water soak into the soil.






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