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Interesting piece in the New York Times' Green Inc. blog today on an initiative in Idaho that pays farmers to shut off their irrigation in the afternoons. An excerpt: Some experts say that irrigating in the late afternoons is inefficient anyway, because some of the water will evaporate in the heat of the day. However Sid Erwin, who farms alfalfa and other crops in southern Idaho and is vice president of the Idaho Irrigation Pumpers Association, said that most local farms — including his — ran their pumps 24 hours a day. There is not enough evaporation to justify paying to send a worker to turn off the pumps in the afternoon, he said. With the power company paying, the calculus changes. Mr. Erwin estimates that he could save upwards of $10,000 from the program — out of a $40,000 annual pumping bill. That, he said, should be enough to “pay a man or two or three men” to make sure the pumps are properly turned off and on. Click here for the post.

In Idaho: Saving Water, Energy and Money With the Switch of the Pump

Interesting piece in the New York Times’ Green Inc. blog today on an initiative in Idaho that pays farmers to shut off their irrigation in the afternoons.

An excerpt:

Some experts say that irrigating in the late afternoons is inefficient anyway, because some of the water will evaporate in the heat of the day. However Sid Erwin, who farms alfalfa and other crops in southern Idaho and is vice president of the Idaho Irrigation Pumpers Association, said that most local farms — including his — ran their pumps 24 hours a day. There is not enough evaporation to justify paying to send a worker to turn off the pumps in the afternoon, he said.

With the power company paying, the calculus changes. Mr. Erwin estimates that he could save upwards of $10,000 from the program — out of a $40,000 annual pumping bill. That, he said, should be enough to “pay a man or two or three men” to make sure the pumps are properly turned off and on.

Click here for the post.

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Comments

  1. The issue is not one of water conservation as much as it is balancing out the loads on the power grid. Demand for electricity spikes on hot summer afternoons. Time of use meters, long in use in California, encourage flexible users like irrigators to run their pumps at off-peak times. Evaporative losses from daytime sprinkling are considerably less than they appear to be.

  2. The point I don’t see addressed here is the huge inrush current when you turn these big pumping motors back on. I always thought that it was kind of hard on the system. Does someone know something about this that I don’t?

  3. The way the commands are sent is in a staggering fashion where it turns the pumps back on at the interval the utility company wants to see (IE 60 per minute)

    The early days they used to turn them all off at once and create problems on the grid. Yet another advantage over a timer system.