PV Irrigation System for Omani Farmers
The falaj is a traditional system for directing underground water to the surface by gravity. It has been used for domestic water supply and irrigation in Oman for centuries. Water distribution via the falaj is on a rotation basis. It is 5 days in this particular village. Traditional irrigation is via channels and surface flooding. The objective of this pilot project is to collect one farmer’s share of water in a 50m3 ground reservoir and use solar energy and modern irrigation methods to irrigate an area of 0.3 hectare on a daily basis. Perceived benefits are improved irrigation efficiency, improved crop yields and reduced labour. The area irrigated is limited only by the quantity of stored water and 5-day cycle.
Why was PV selected?
The use of a photovoltaic pump was chosen as a reliable, modern but simple pumping method for low flows into low pressure drip and sprinkler irrigation blocks. No fossil fuels are required and by using solar energy the water production of the pump is in sync with the water consumption of the crops.
- Designing and matching the irrigation pressure and block size to the output of the pump.
- Overlaying a modern irrigation system on top of a traditional channel system such that either system can still be used in case the new system is not accepted by the farmer.
- Encouraging the farmers to plant half the area to vegetables under drip irrigation and half the area to fodder cops under sprinkler irrigation in order to test both irrigation methods.
- Locating a farm with enough open area to facilitate the installation of a solar array without shading from the abundant date palms.