‘Drip Irrigation in the City’ | A Case Study

An Efficient technique largely used in Greenhouses and Agriculture, could be ‘Adapted’ to serve ‘Emerging’ City Needs – Assist Aging Populations and Address Water Shortages.
Looking at a City Case Study, Details, Pros and Cons.

This week we document Drip Irrigation used for balcony garden irrigation. The Case study is a 1000 sqft. flat dwelling, housing 2 aging persons. Having a large ground garden, while living in a metro city is a luxury most cannot afford. So, many people nurture beautiful balcony gardens. Often aging parents or grandparents may be living alone and looking after these spaces. They may or may not have access to domestic help for daily watering of plants. New developments are often also plagued with water shortages. Tiled balconies can become messy and slippery with pipe or bucket watering, thus posing a danger to aged people living alone.

We thus explore this technology, used in our case study, that may be able to address the above issues. It could remove unnecessary risk and make life a little more convenient for aged people.


The Nuts and Bolts

Looking at 3 main details

1) Origin – Tap, Tap Connector, Elbow Connector, Main Pipe

2) Route – Main Pipe, Elbow/ Tee/ Straight Connectors

3) Destination – Main Pipe, Feeder Pipe, Stake/Anchor to hold Feeder Pipes in the soil of pots, Drip Emitter

Some advanced kits also include automatic timers for scheduling the watering cycle.


Cost

The whole kit could cost between ₹ 300 to above ₹ 7000 (around $4 – $100 depending on company, number of plants)

Pros and Cons

The Pros and Cons are based on feedback for the technology by the owners. 


Note: The products utilized by the owners in the Case Study are by a company called CINAGRO™.  We are spreading information about the ‘adaptive’ use of this technology to solve important city issues. We however, are NOT endorsing the products/ company in question. You could search for Drip Irrigation Garden online. There are various companies that sell/ install such products.


Hope these details help you make decisions for your homes and the homes of other aging people with similar requirements.

Have you used a similar technology in your projects? Tell us about your experience. Did you face any other issues than the ones described above?

Do you think this ‘Adaptation’ can help address Emerging city needs?

Let us know!


Video Source: 

The rchitecture Gazette

Music Source:

“My Best Melody” catatau5 | Link

References:

  1. Alliance for Water Efficiency
  2. CINAGRO™ Products

Q & A – 1

We interrupt the ongoing Chain of posts on E@BS to introduce our ‘Q & A’ column.

Our segment on Cleantech One [published: June 18, 2018] left us with 2 questions. We address one of them today –

Q) Integration with Green has positive effects on micro-climate and energy loads. However, landscaping has associated water and maintenance costs. There are also issues of insects that may not always be welcome in an urban/ strictly controlled setting like that of laboratories. What do you think about this?

A) Water and Maintenance Costs

Water use can be optimized and maintenance can be reduced by adopting certain simple measures. Some of the following have been adopted by our case-studies, specially Park Royal Hotel [published June 25th, 2018]. These measures also help buildings gain points for LEED certification categories – Water Efficiency, Sustainable Sites.

Reduction of Need (Water and Maintenance)

  • Selection of Plant Species – Native plants that are local to the site are adapted best to existing conditions. They are thus hardy and require little to no maintenance. Many species can also survive, without any external irrigation.
  • Rainwater Harvesting – Storage, treatment an recycling of rainwater for landscape irrigation helps reduce the requirement for Potable water use. In Park Royal, rainwater from upper floors, irrigates plants on lower floors by gravity.

Supplemental measures

  • Non – Potable water – If additional water is needed, then non-potable water recycled from site or outside, can be utilized. For example in Park Royal Hotel, recycled wastewater called NEWater is used for additional irrigation needs.
  • Drip Irrigation – If supplemental irrigation is required, then drip irrigation is an extremely efficient option. Compared to overhead spray irrigation (efficiency 50-70 per cent), drip irrigation can provide water use efficiencies of greater than 90 per cent. There are multiple other benefits of this type of irrigation which make it an indisputable choice. Various small villages, farmers and projects in India are benefiting from this technology. Some benefits include –
    • Efficiency – There is reduction of  evaporative losses and as water is delivered through pipes, to the plants as they need it.
    • Yield – Farmers in the states of Andhra Pradesh (Anantapur district, Chilli Crop) and Tamil Nadu (Tuberose flowers) in India for example, have seen crop yields double by adopting drip irrigation. This is possible since water along with fertilisers or required chemicals can be delivered to the plants ina precise manner, thus improving plant health.
    • Weeds – Weeds are reduced since the area between plants is not irrigated.
    • Runoff – Runoff , Erosion and related Pollution is prevented.
  • Sensors – Landscape areas could have rain sensors, that signal to turn off irrigation, when a minimum level of rainfall is achieved (d).

 

B) Insects

Insects or pests can be attracted to areas of vegetation and water. While all insects are not harmful, and many are extremely helpful and necessary for the ecosystem; they may not always be welcome in an urban/ strictly controlled setting like that of a laboratory. Let’s look at some ways to deal with this issue –

Pests around water features

Pests specially mosquitoes can be a dangerous problem around water features. Some steps that could be taken to guard against this are-

  • Design water features deeper than 2 feet, since larvae prefer shallow water bodies.
  • Use fountains or waterfalls, which increase circulation of water and reduce stagnant water.
  • Natural predators like dragonflies and back-swimmers help get rid of mosquito larvae. Care should be taken to avoid broad spectrum insecticides, which could kill these helpful creatures.
  • Remove organic debris, which is food for larvae – Pond Skimmers are useful contraptions for larger water bodies. For smaller water features, use pond skimmer nets. Pond spikes are good for preventing algal blooms.

Pest repellent Plant species

Another simple way is to choose plant species that naturally repel certain pests. This helps avoid the use of harmful insecticides and pesticides, that have other dire consequences. Some low maintenance species to choose from are –

  • Lavender – This plant has a lovely fragrance for humans. However, it repels mosquitoes, insects and smaller animals like rabbits. It is a tough drought-resistant plant and does well in warmer climates.
  • Citronella Grass – It has a lemony scent and is a common ingredient for mosquito repellents. It is a low maintainence plant and only requires a sunny spot in the ground in warm climates.
  • Marigolds – Their smell deters not only mosquitoes, but also aphids,  whiteflies, squash bugs,   thrips, tomato hornworms, mexican bean beetles. They flower annually and are easily grown in pots.

 


 

References/ Additional Reading:

Capital Hostage for Water

Rain_Drops_on_Window_HD_Desktop_Wallpaper
Source

I sit in my living room looking at the gallons of water pouring down my window, courtesy the Great Indian Monsoons. I can’t help but feel sad seeing such a colossal waste of a precious resource – fresh water. This emotion is heightened by two reasons.

Continue reading “Capital Hostage for Water”