Pressure gauges & flow meters

These devices go hand in hand for monitoring.

Pressure gauges

Regardless of the drip system type, operating pressures need to stay at the original specifications as per the hydraulic design.

Pressure increases or decreases indicate a problem, e.g. leak, break, blocked filter (see Module 4 – Maintenance).

Pressure gauges should be installed on the mainline both before and after the filter.

Pressure should also be checked in key sections of the system, including at field control. This can be done with a portable pressure gauge with a pressure check needle.


Ensure there is pressure at the end of the drip lateral.

Rivulis Pressure Indicators are a simple solution to easily see if there is pressure at the end of the drip lateral, which is particularly useful for when the drip laterals are buried under plastic mulch.

The flag indicates the pressure of the tube. The green flag model is for tape and thin wall pressures, and the yellow flag model is for medium-heavy wall pressures.


Flow meters

At a minimum, install a flow meter on the main supply line to measure the total water volume being distributed to the field.

Similar to pressure gauges, in addition to system monitoring, you are looking for fluctuations that could indicate system problems.

Flow meters can be simple propeller (mechanical) flow meters, through to advanced ultrasonic flow meters. The obvious advantage of an ultrasonic flow meter is that there are no moving parts to break, wear-out, etc., combined with very reliable accuracy. However, there is a significantly higher price-tag, so you need to determine if it is worth the extra expense.

Propeller flow meters need to be installed on a pipe that is straight and has an upstream unobstructed length of pipe at least eight times its diameter in length.

On the other hand, some (not all) ultrasonic flow meters do not require any straight piping before or after the meter. As always, check the specification requirements for each model.


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