After successfully completing Sarah’s drip irrigation training course, team AMSS and I headed to Narjiput to do 14 Driptech system installations. With a total of 57 households in the village, that means almost 25% of Narjiput homes now have a Driptech owner in them. Most of the fields on which we worked were in close proximity to each other and boarded the village directly. Because of the layout of the land, one could see at least 8 black water tanks dotting the landscape, adding a new dimension to the village skyline (unfortunately, my camera isn’t powerful enough to capture the view).
The installations went smoothly and seamlessly, largely because every farmer worked on more than one installation. This is a trend we will continue to encourage based on the benefits discussed in my previous blog post. Though it is still relatively early in the project, Narjiput marks a critical turning point: we learned that the farmers were planning on using the systems in a way different than how we had assumed.
The most critical point of the installation process is identifying the greatest slope in the land. Aligning the submain along that slope ensures that the water flows uniformly through the submain to each drip lateral connected to it. Conducting the slope assessment is the first step of the installation and a process AMSS and I did ourselves. While we confirmed with the system owner if our assessment was correct, we did not clarify why we needed that information or why it was important. Rather, once verified, we shifted the PVC pipes to that slope to start assembling the submain.
Cutting drip laterals
Shifting drip laterals to plot
Melting the ends of the PVC pipes to connect them for the submain
Connecting drip laterals to take-offs along the submain
We assumed that once installed, the system would remain in its original place. We did not consider that farmers might need to shift systems based on available water supplies or for crop rotation – which is exactly what they need to do.
Upon learning this, we quickly realized that we need to amend our approach to the installations to make sure each farmer understand how his system must be laid out in addition to understanding how it is assembled. Moving forward, we will incorporate such a discussion with the farmers at the start of each installation. We will organize meetings to address this component with farmers in Narjiput and Girlaguda as their installations are complete.
Driptech is also developing a slope diagram to illustrate the concept for all system owners should they need to reference it. AMSS is currently testing the efficacy of the diagram with Driptech farmers in Girlaguda and Narjiput. I am glad we learned of the farmer’s intended use for their systems so early in the project. I am lucky to be working with a team that moves so quickly to address both the immediate and long-term needs of the system owners.