Sustainable Irrigation in the Developing World
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This SIP analyzes an application of physical theories to the design of a sustainable irrigation system like the one constructed in the village of Pawaga. Unlike most physics SIPs whose subject matter is supported by organized research experiences or internships, this SIP was supported by a volunteer experience. My specific contributions to the project (both on and off location) include surveying the system site, researching and studying fluid mechanics, aiding with the system’s design and installation, and project funding. The individual components that make up the system are as follows: Little Ruaha River (source of water), 3-acre horticultural plot (sink for water), drip-line irrigators, 5000 L reservoir tank, electric pump, solar panels, electrical grid control box, water filter, and connective piping of varying diameters. I was able to develop a physical model using the irrigation system’s parameters and other data that pertains to the site. The model will study the flow of fluid through the system. Measurements were taken repeatedly throughout the project’s schedule. Specifically, I measured distances, diameters, flow rates, and air pressure. With these measurements I calculated hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressure, measured the angle of the slope that separates the tank and river, and modeled the water moving from elevated source to sink. The irrigation project is an overall success. This project is an ongoing one as I depart from the project site. Since my departure updates on the project and communication with the student’s SIP mentor has been maintained. As the system exists now there are 3-acres of irrigated soil. Since its construction, the system has yielded one successful season of crops. This SIP has presented a dripline irrigation system that successfully functions at a scale above that of a home garden and argues that its design may be implemented as a solution for regions of the world that are challenged with regards to agriculture.