…when it has to do with water. Drip irrigation systems are by nature very efficient. However, by adding a manual inline shut-off valve to a drip irrigation system, it becomes uber efficient. This is due to the fact that you can completely stop water from flowing through a section of tubing. When is this helpful? Below you’ll find a few examples of when it’s useful to use a shut-off valve, but there are many more creative examples out there.
When using raised beds to garden, it is common to have each bed planted with different vegetables that have different growing seasons. As vegetables begin to ripen for harvest, certain plants finish their life cycles before others. If a bed contains plants that are past harvest, a shut-off valve can stop the flow of water to that bed without affecting others in the system. This keeps you from watering dead plants and wasting water. All of our raised bed kits contain ½” shut-off valves, and we recommend installing one for each bed.
Large Drip Tape Systems
In large agricultural tape systems, the number of tape rows coupled with long row lengths incorporate so many drip points in one system that if all the rows were watered at the same time, it would exceed the capacity of the system. A creative workaround is to use tape takeoff valves to connect each row of tape to the header row of tubing. This allows a set number of rows to be watered while the other rows are turned off. When rows have been watered long enough, the valve is closed, and the next set of rows are then turned “on.”
1/4" Valves as Drippers
A cool use for ¼” shut-off valves is to use them as a dripper in your system. The valves are adjustable and can be completely closed, allowing no water out, or adjusted slightly open to allow a slow drip, or of course adjusted all the way open if a lot of water is needed. We include these in our dirty water gravity kits because they have a large orifice and are less prone to clogging than drip emitters that tend to have a smaller opening. Besides being used as a dripper, these can be added inline and used to control water flow to individual plants or pots.
Shut-off valves are very handy items to incorporate into a drip irrigation system, and the examples above are just a few of the many ways you can utilize them to better control the water flow and distribution in your drip irrigation system.
Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone. If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: Mike Ricker on Google+