Variable-Flow Solar Powered Tail-water Recovery Pump System


Arkansas and the mid-south region are primarily furrow and flood irrigated.  Currently agriculture uses 90% of the groundwater resources and the aquifers withdraws are only about 50% sustainable. There are several methods that can be used to improve furrow irrigation efficiency. One method is tail water recovery, this method collects the tail water runoff and returns it to the irrigation supply source.  Conventionally this is done using tail water pits, ditches, canals and reservoirs.  This is done because the volume and duration of tail water is variable and unpredictable and to collect rainwater runoff for additional water. Arkansas soils seal considerably and tail water ratios are very high around 40-60%.

The concept is the idea of using a pit-less variable flow pump to collect irrigation tail water and return it to the irrigation distribution pipeline. The advantage of this approach is that no irrigable land is removed from production.

This invention improves irrigation efficiency by capturing irrigation tail water and allowing for its immediate reuse. The devices employed improve efficiency for furrow irrigation.  The concept reduces the amount of irrigation water that needs to be applied to the crops grown. In the mid-south region, farmers use primarily furrow and flood irrigation. This approach allows for improved irrigation efficiency from 50-70%, or in our tests measured 39% irrigation efficiency to >95% irrigation efficiency. This efficiency is comparable to that of the most efficient center pivot irrigation systems. Additionally this is accomplished at a fraction of the energy and capital cost of center pivot irrigation systems. The system is capable of operation via either grid power or off-grid solar.

The main value of this invention and concept is that it provides a new enhancement to furrow irrigation improving irrigation efficiency substantially. Thus, producers using it may benefit from similar irrigation efficiencies as found in other higher efficiency and higher cost irrigation systems.  This is in essence, a new type of irrigation system.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Bryan Renk
Associate Director for Technology Commercialization
University of Arkansas TCO
Christopher Henry
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