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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 162354, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/162354
Research Article

Required Lateral Inlet Pressure Head for Automated Subsurface Drip Irrigation Management

1University of Carthage, High School of Agriculture of Mateur, 7030 Mateur, Tunisia
2University of Carthage/High Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies of Borj Cedria, B.P. 1003, 2050 Hammam Lif, Tunisia
3Agricultural Investment Promotion Agency, 6000 Gabès, Tunisia

Received 13 March 2013; Revised 14 May 2013; Accepted 29 May 2013

Academic Editor: Vicente Gimeno

Copyright © 2013 Moncef Hammami et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is one of the most promising irrigation systems. It is based on small and frequent water supplies. Because SDI emitters are buried, their discharges are dependent on the water status at the vicinity of the outlets. This paper was targeted to design the SDI laterals accounting for the soil water-retention characteristics and the roots water extraction. The proposed approach provides systematic triggering and cut-off of irrigation events based on fixed water suctions in the vadose zone. In doing so, the soil water content is maintained at an optimal threshold ascertaining the best plant growth. Knowing the soil water-retention curve, the appropriate water suction for the plant growth, and the emitter discharge-pressure head relationship, the developed method allows the computation of the required hydraulics of the lateral (e.g., inlet pressure head, inside diameter, etc.). The proposed approach is a helpful tool for best SDI systems design and appropriate water management. An illustrative example is presented for SDI laterals’ design on tomato crop.