Development of a sustainable, hydro-powered water saving irrigation system

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment


In classic irrigation systems, the water is distributed from main channels into smaller trenches, which then irrigate the fields or plants. This requires a lot of water, and today it is desirable to utilise water saving drip or sprinkler irrigation systems. These however require pressurised flow. Electric pumps are a possible solution but such systems need electricity lines (the irrigated field may be kilometers away from the next village), pumps and of course electricity. At Southampton University, we developed a very simple water wheel, which combines high efficiency with such low head differences. The wheel can combined with a very simple spiral pump, which could then drive the drip irrigation. In this project, we want to
(a) investigate the use the ultra low-head hydropower converters (HPC, H = 0.10 to 0.30 m) to drive water saving irrigation systems using the hydropower available in the irrigation canals.
(b) develop the technology up to field testing stage.
The aim of the project is, to create a sustainable, cost-effective system, which employs the available hydropower in irrigation canals to drive water saving irrigation systems. This includes the development of a theoretical model for the HPC/pump/delivery point system, the integration of the hydropower system into the irrigation system itself as well as the development of novel solutions for water supply. Within the project, we will build and test small scale and near-full scale systems and install a system in Spain (near Valencia). The project will run in cooperation with aQysta Ltd. (Delft / Netherlands, and is supported by the European Commission / SME instrument through aQysta Ltd..


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509747/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
2105854 Studentship EP/N509747/1 01/07/2018 31/07/2022 Magali Rodriguez