The Pros & Cons of Drip Irrigation
1. Low pressure requirement (leaks are less critical).
2. Energy savings (lower pumping costs, lower psi)
3. Low flow rates (water large areas with small pipes).
4. Water savings (only specific areas are wetted).
5. Reduced or no runoff (another benefit of low application rates).
6. Reduced weed growth (areas between plants are not watered).
7. Reduced puddling (avoiding high evaporation).
8 . Precise water control (a product of low application rate and highly accurate irrigation timers).
9. Doesn't seal the soil (slow application avoids saturation).
10. Low installation costs (lower than underground sprinkler systems).
11. Efficient Fertilizing (through injection devices).
12. Saline water use (higher salt content can be tolerated because water isn't sprayed on leaf surface).
13. Better plant growth (constant moisture available).
14. Less plant stress (wet/dry syndrome reduced).

After establishing the above list of advantages, the majority of the class is convinced that drip irrigation is the only way to water landscape projects. However, to complete the discussion, I put forth a list of  problem areas or disadvantages and a typical list of opinions and ideas supplied by the participants concerning drip irrigation.

1. High maintenance (system requires constant checking).
2. No environmental effects (like cooling/frost control with sprinklers).
3. Can't wash down foliage (like with overhead sprinklers)
4. Requires pressure regulation (more often than sprinklers do).
5. Susceptible to insect and rodent damage (in relation to soft tubing).
6. Susceptible to vandalism (particularly surface systems).
7. Potential of salt build up (at perimeter of wetted area).
8. Potential for clogging (very small openings).
9 . Filtration often required (to reduce clogging).
10. Can't see drip working (compared to sprinklers).
11. Shoddy products (some producers and their products flashed on the drip irrigation industry scene and winked out as suddenly as they came when their products failed to perform).
12. Slow learning curve process for the landscaping industry concerning drip irrigation.
        a. Many landscape designers are not comfortable with drip.
        b. Many landscape and irrigation contractors are not comfortable installing drip systems.
        c. Maintenance people are not familiar with drip system care.
13. Because the wetted area is much smaller when delivered by a drip system compared
to sprinklers, control is more critical in replacing water used by the plant to avoid stress.
14. Design information for drip irrigation is highly polarized between the ultra-simple leaflet and the highly complex technical textbooks Compared to design information available on sprinkler systems; drip design seems shrouded in mystery.
              As you can see from these two partial lists, drip irrigation has a lot going for it, and yet still needs some work in the eyes of the landscaping industry. The fifty plus years of modern sprinkler system practices have produced a mountain of information and experience. The relatively new drip irrigation field is developing rapidly, along with its accompanying industry-wide experience and data.
             As you step through the drip irrigation design process outlined in the site, I think you will see that some of the disadvantages of drip irrigation are "evaporating" because of improved product, more precise control, and further expansion and clarity of necessary information. 


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