Subsurface Irrigation

Why Install Sub Surface Irrigation?

To dramatically reduce water usage - With a well designed system and the correct watering schedule you may see savings of up to 75% compared with a conventional pop up sprinkler system.

Since 1965 major pipe manufacturers have pioneered the science of drip irrigation for both commercial and domestic applications.

What is Sub Surface Irrigation?

Sub surface drip irrigation involves the application of water to lawn via pipes, which are installed totally underground. The pipe carries evenly spaced drippers, which deliver water directly to the root zone of the turf. Irrigation below ground offers several features that provide significant benefits over conventional above ground irrigation.

Sub Surface Irrigation:

  • Eliminates evaporation, thereby reducing water loss
  • Is not affected by wind, therefore eliminating the waste caused by drift, over spray and run off.
  • Does not create pools of excess water
  • Can be installed on uneven ground eg slopes, without run-off
  • Ensures water application is delivered evenly across the entire turf area
  • Enables flexible watering time. For example, your kids can continue kicking the ball on the lawn while it is being watered.
  • Has the ability to support effluent and/or grey water
  • Reduces the likelihood of vandalism to your irrigation system (lawn verges tend to be particular targets for vandalism)
  • Low pressure, low flow areas

These benefits all mean sub surface irrigation can save up to 75% water usage compared with conventional popup sprinkler systems.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sub Surface Irrigation

1) How much water will I save?
Savings upwards of 75% with only an additional 30% outlay on standard systems.

2) Can sub surface irrigation be installed under an existing lawn?
Yes. A narrow trenching machine or a vibrating plough can be used to install the subsurface irrigation system. These machines minimise the disruption to your existing lawn.

3) How is sub surface applied to a new lawn?
Sub surface irrigation can be installed under the ground before your new lawn is laid on top. Successful establishment of new lawn requires overhead irrigation for the first 10 to 15 days. This can be achieved by hand watering with a hose. Water restrictions limit the days and times you are permitted to use hoses for hand watering. However, when you purchase new turf, a water restriction exemption will be issued which will enable you to water every day for a pre determined time period. Make sure you check SA Water’s website for up to date information on current water restrictions and water compliant hose triggers. Your sub surface system can be used once the roots of the lawn are established.

4) How does sub surface irrigation water the lawn?
Sub surface drip tube incorporates small water drippers, which are evenly spaced along the length of the pipe. Water passes through the pipe and is released via the dripper, delivering water directly and evenly to the root zone right across your lawn. The type of soil will determine the depth at which the pipe is laid. The system can be set on a timer to deliver the required amount of water at prescribed intervals, thus enabling a water restriction compliant system, if necessary.

5) If the pipe is laid under the ground, what stops the drippers from clogging up with dirt?
Drip tubes designed to be installed underground contain drippers which have the ability to self flush, continuing to clean themselves while in operation, thus stopping the drippers from clogging.

6) What configuration is the drip tube laid down in?
The drip tube is installed in long, parallel lines, which are evenly spaced. The dimensions of the spacings can vary, depending on the soil type and size of the area.

7) Is drip tube available in various sizes?
Yes, drip tube is available in two sizes. 13mm pipe is generally used for domestic lawns and 17mm pipe is ideal for use in a commercial capacity (eg ovals, reserves).

8) How far apart are the drippers located along the pipe?
Drip tube is available with various dripper spacings, ranging from 25cm to 50cm. The type of soil will determine which dripper spacings are required.

9) What do I need to do to maintain a sub surface irrigation system?
all filters should be cleaned and the drip pipes flushed on a regular basis (approximately every 3-6 months, depending on soil type and quality of water).

10) Can the tube be repaired if I damage it with my shovel?
Yes. The damaged pipe can be replaced using a simple joiner. Joiners are available in 13mm or 17mm.

This document is intended as a guide only. For further information contact a specialist Subsurface irrigation manufacturer or installer.


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