An approach to costs and energy consumption in private urban Spanish Mediterranean landscapes from a simplified model in sprinkle irrigation

G. Arbat, J. Pujol, M. Pelegrí, J. Puig-Bargués, M. Duran-Ros, F. Ramírez de Cartagena


The number of private gardens has increased in recent years, creating a more pleasant urban model, but not without having an environmental impact, including increased energy consumption, which is the focus of this study. The estimation of costs and energy consumption for the generic typology of private urban gardens is based on two simplifying assumptions: square geometry with surface areas from 25 to 500 m2 and hydraulic design with a single pipe. In total, eight sprinkler models have been considered, along with their possible working pressures, and 31 pumping units grouped into 5 series that adequately cover the range of required flow rates and pressures, resulting in 495 hydraulic designs repeated for two climatically different locations in the Spanish Mediterranean area (Girona and Elche). Mean total irrigation costs for the locality with lower water needs (Girona) and greater needs (Elche) were € 2,974 ha-1 yr-1 and € 3,383 ha-1 yr-1, respectively. Energy costs accounted for 11.4% of the total cost for the first location, and 23.0% for the second. While a suitable choice of the hydraulic elements of the setup is essential, as it may provide average energy savings of 77%, due to the low energy cost in relation to the cost of installation, the potential energy savings do not constitute a significant incentive for the irrigation system design. The low efficiency of the pumping units used in this type of garden is the biggest obstacle and constraint to achieving a high quality energy solution.


watering gardens; irrigation costs; pump efficiency; hydraulic design

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2013111-3113