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New pocket guidebook helps irrigatorsNew pocket guidebook helps irrigators

The National Center for Appropriate Technology offers a free book through its Soil for Water project.

July 6, 2023

2 Min Read
Irrigation water pump, system in field
IRRIGATION GUIDEBOOK: Created with input from irrigation experts in over 20 states, the Irrigator’s Pocket Guide belongs in every irrigator’s hip pocket. It explains everything you need to know about soil moisture and crop water use, and shows you how to optimize crop yields while conserving water, soil, and energy.Brian Brown/Getty Images

Responding to water shortages and uncertainties throughout the western United States, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has released a new edition of its popular The Irrigator’s Pocket Guide

“With growing conflict over water supplies, and with irrigators feeling the pinch to save water, energy, and money, we wanted to come up with a concise and super-useful guide to water and energy conservation,” says Mike Morris, NCAT’s southwest regional director, who headed up the project.  

Irrigation experts from more than 20 states have weighed in on The Irrigator’s Pocket Guide over the years, and more than 30,000 copies have been distributed.

This new edition was developed through NCAT’s Soil for Water project, with funding from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In this new edition of The Irrigator’s Pocket Guide, we decided to go beyond pump and motor maintenance and irrigation scheduling, and incorporate recent advances in soil science,” Morris says. “When soil gets healthier, it catches and holds more water. Taking care of soil health, therefore, needs to be a priority for all irrigators.”

Equipment and water maintenance

The equipment maintenance half of the book features clear and detailed maintenance and troubleshooting procedures for pumps, motors, engines, control panels and distribution systems. The water maintenance section of the book covers soil health and gives step-by-step instructions for running all common types of irrigation systems efficiently — matching water applied to the needs of the crop.

The compact 150-page book includes dozens of diagrams, tables, handy conversions and formulas for calculating things like flow rates, area, pressure, power, friction losses and how long to run a system to apply a given volume of water. With its small 4-by-6-inch size and durable waterproof covers, the book is a friendly companion to carry in your hip pocket or the glove box of your truck.

Free copies are available by mail or online at the ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas) website or The Irrigator’s Pocket Guide.

Along with the updated edition of the original Irrigator’s Pocket Guide, new state-specific editions are also available for irrigators in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, as well as an updated version of the popular The California Microirrigation Pocket Guide. All these books can be found on the ATTRA website.

NCAT has been helping people build resilient communities through local and sustainable solutions that reduce poverty, strengthen self-reliance and protect natural resources since 1976. Headquartered in Butte, Mont., NCAT has field offices in Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah. Learn more and become a friend of NCAT at ncat.org.  

Source: National Center for Appropriate Technology

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