Development and Evaluation of a Low-Tech Sprinkler Irrigation System for Small Scale Farmers of North Eastern Nigeria
Surface irrigation by flooded basins is the dominant irrigation water distribution method practiced by the majority small scale dry season irrigation farmers along the river systems flood plains (Fadama) of the north-eastern Nigeria. This low efficient water distribution method takes greater part of the farmersí time, expenditure and labour. They do not have alternative systems that fit their farming systems, skills and economy. A simple manually operated mobile macro - sprinkler irrigation system was designed, constructed, assembled and evaluated. The study involved field requirements evaluation, design of a water distribution and carriage units, drawings, constructions, assemblage and performance evaluations. The developed system has four rotary sprinkler heads spaced 3m apart with a recorded discharge of 0.3 L/s and 0.45 L/s at maximum and minimum pressure heads respectively. The system irrigated up to 2700m2 area of land in three strips per day. Each strip of 900m2 was irrigated in 8 shifts and the estimated cost of one set of the system was US169. The measured system application efficiency (AE) in this study was above average, with values 75, 75 and 80%. The system distribution uniformity (DULQ) recorded across the entire irrigated field was between the range 82 -94%,. Above average values of PELQ (70.6, 71.0 and 74.0%) were recorded at the corresponding pressure(100kPa,120kPa and 140kPa ) and discharge levels(309, 367 and 442lit/hr) respectively. Low PELQ range of values (59 to 67%) and ( 66.7 to 69.7%) were recorded. When the range of the operating pressure were low (40 to 80kPa) and when it was higher range(160-200kPa).The average CU observed in this study for the entire irrigated strip was 96.2%. There was no significant difference between means of AE when the system discharge was raised from 309, 367 and 442 litres per hour respectively(ᾳ = 0.05). Also there was no significant difference between means of PELQ (ᾳ = 0.05). The was also no significant difference between means of DU and CU (ᾳ= 0.05).
Keywords -Sprinkler System Developed, Small Scale Irrigation, Farmer, Performance.