Irrigation - Spray head

From Akvopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Spray head icon.png
Spray irrigation for urban market gardening in Mali. Photo: Netherlands Water Partnership.

Spray-head irrigation requires pressure from pedal or motor pumps. In West Africa, the spray-head is mounted on a lay-flat hose connected to a small petrol pump. Spray irrigation is an intermediate option between a watering can and more sophisticated sprinkler or drip irrigation. It has high water use efficiency and saves energy and labour.

Treadle pumps combined with spray-heads are promoted by Approtec in East Africa and Enterprise Works in West Africa.

Due to its simplicity, spray irrigation technology has spread spontaneously from farmer to farmer in West-African countries such as Mali, Niger and Togo. A recent survey in Bamako, Mali, among 80 market gardeners showed that more than 60% used this method.

Suitable conditions

Advantages Disadvantages
- High water use efficiency.

- Saves energy and labour.
- relatively low investment cost per unit area
- widespread availability of equipment
- well adapted to situations with multiple low-yielding wells, requiring the equipment to be shifted every 15 to 30 minutes
- possibly enhanced plant growth and yield
- negligible problems of rodent damage or theft
- no emitters, so no emitter clogging
- African farmers quickly take up the technology

- labour requirement could be high

Construction, operations and maintenance

Options for optimization:

  • reduce the price of equipment, including that of accessories, such as layflat hose;
  • improve spraying head efficiency;
  • improve pump efficiency;
  • improve engine efficiency; and
  • replace the petrol pump with a treadle pump.


US$ 2 - 5 for a spray-head. US$ 300 - 600 for a unit with petrol pumps.

Field experiences

Location: West Africa.

Manuals, videos, and links