Subsurface Drip Irrigation Drip irrigation is the most efficient method to deliver water and nutrients to crops. A system of water lines made out of PVC piping with a series of valves is installed underground. This becomes the infrastructure from which


Goal Analysis

The current water irrigation set up results in wasted water.  By controlling how the water is distributed both in quantity and location, the amount of water wasted to evaporation and ground can be decreased.    Presently, 50% of the water pumped to the plants is merely lost in the process, and 30% is lost between a combination of evaporation and groundwater.   

Instead of redesigning a competeable alternative pump, the process in which the water arrives at the plants from the pump can be changed and made more efficient.  By bringing the water straight to the plants an initial 50% of water  which is usually lost in the irrigation pump process will be redirected to the plants.  

The combination of an underground pipe system with a stirling pump would allow water to be brought straight to the individual plant rows.  With the addition of a stirling pump this system would saturate the areas around the plants encouraging the plant roots to grow to the pipes allowing an immediate supply of water.  With an underground delivery this would reduce evaporation losses.  

In total this redesign ideally would decrease water loss from 80% to at least 50%.


Less water to be pumped onto field—at a lower pressure—so an alternative energy pump would suffice for water supply).

  • Increased water retention

  • Irrigation and fertilization can be managed with the same system –fertilizer costs can be minimized because they can be applied precisely.

  • Can be simply managed with a battery controller (if available to the farmers)


  • The whole field would have to be restructured.

  • It may be hard for farmers to adjust to a new way of water supply/farming; it is way more complex then simply pumping a ton of water onto a field.

  • Requires high quality water—can easily get clogged/damaged and then tape must be replaced

  • Must be precisely placed to match up with plant placement or root growing will be prohibited and plants will die