Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sub-surface Drip Irrigation -KISSS a superior option

While sub surface drip irrigation has been available for quite a few years now in Australia, with several of the major companies offering systems, a unique patented Australian system has improved the concept enormously.

Several major issues were identified by users of the existing systems:

  • often poor water distribution with overwet soil near emitters, and near dry soil elsewhere

  • this poor distribution often lead to poorly distributed root patterns

  • root intrusion

  • blocked emitters due to soil particles blocking the openings

  • uneven soil water profile vertical distribution

  • rapid loss of water below the root zone

While some of these are related to installation and management issues eg root intrusion can be corrected via herbicides, and blockages can be eased via correct pipe orientation, it has often meant more, not less hassles to use the system.

Enter KISSS - Kapillary Irrigation Sub Surface System in which most of these isuses are rectified and soil water for plant use is greatly enhanced. The concept can reduce irrigation water use by 60% over existing best practice overhead irrigation, and they have well verified trial results to back it up. See for a lot more details. It is the enormous improvement in water wetting patterns that really allow KISSS to stand above all others.

The system uses existing sub surface piping and wraps it in a highly effective geotextile on the top of the pipe, with a polyethylene layer in the centre [ to stop water tunnelling to the surface] and a polyethylene layer below the pipe to dramatically reduce deep drainage. The geotextile creates an even distribution of water between emitters, and also essentially prevents root intrusion. While a herbicide treatment is useful, and there are systems available to allow this treatment, it may be thought of more as a useful tool, rather than essential to prevent root intrusion and thus impede water flow.

There have been many installations in Australia, and with severe drought along the east coast, users of the system have been able to reduce water use, and still maintian "green" areas. Major public sector bodies are using it very successfully, with most planning an expanded role for the system.

Naturally, as it is below ground, the concept has major potential to use any form of treated grey or sewerage effluent in an unrestricted access area..........people do not come into contact with the effluent! A number of systems are installed already, and more to come. In this case, all system piping uses the lilac colouring to distinguish it from the normal blue colour used with clean water.

Call 08 8948 1894 for more information in either electronic or hard copy format, or email to

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