SSJID’s Irrigation Enhancement Project was designed to use significantly less water and provide area growers using micro, drip and sprinkler systems (pressure systems) with individualized, automated irrigation access through the use of online and mobile technology. The unique system, consisting of 3,800 acres of farmland near Ripon, CA, was designed by Stantec and constructed over a three-year period. SSJID is now evaluating the potential for replicating the system in other district divisions, and the project is serving as an industry model for other irrigation agencies.
“This pressurized system will play a critical role in better serving the individual needs of our growers while preserving our natural resources in an entirely new and efficient manner,” said Sam Bologna, Engineering Department Manager. The pressurized system enables sprinkler and drip system customers to irrigate on a more flexible schedule. Additionally, flood irrigators within the Pressurized Irrigation Service area are able to receive volumes of water on a more reliable schedule.
Water at the touch of an iPad: a new era in water conservation
Previously, this district region solely operated using a gravity based system which relied on a network of irrigation ditches to deliver water. With the new system, irrigation water is distributed to customers through 19 miles of pressurized pipeline.
Using an online system similar to an airline ticketing platform, growers in the District’s pressurized service area are enabled to log-in and schedule water deliveries based on current and past weather forecasts, previous water usage and historical evapotranspiration rates. Each farmer then selects from available delivery dates and later receives alerts via email and text message before and after delivery to confirm volume and flow rate data. Also supporting the system, moisture sensors placed in the ground on each grower’s property help indicate optimal ordering times when almond and walnut trees are at their greatest need.
After providing each parcel with water through solar-powered customer connections – including vales and meters – the new system also utilizes a seven-acre basin for water storage and use.