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July 19, 2011

The Buried Diffuser, an improved drip irrigation technique

by Chahbani Bellachheb

Drip irrigation is today worldwide known as a good irrigation water saving technique. But there is a new worldwide patented technology tested in farmers fields in arid lands in Tunisia which uses 3 times less water then drip irrigation to get the same yield. Farmer field trials show that for the same volume of irrigation water, the “buried diffuser” produces 3 to 4 times more then drip irrigation. 

I am the inventor of this technology. The idea of this invention comes from the traditional buried pottery pot (or jar) used by my father and my ancestors. The jars are locally made, in the Island of Djerba. 

The "buried diffuser" is useful for vegetables (like pimentos, tomatoes, water and honey melon, potatoes, etc) and all kinds of fruit, ornamental and forest trees. For the trees the "diffuser" is buried 60cmm in a pit, below the soil surface. For the vegetables the diffuser is buried 5 to 10 cm below the soil surface. 

Beside the water saving the buried diffuser has many other advantages such as: 
-no weeds. therefore no need for herbicides, greatly reduced labor needs  

-reduction of phytosanitary problems and treatments

-it works with gravity (0,005 bar) as well as the conventional water pressure (1-2 bars). When using gravity the irrigation is non-stop for many days, inducing an important energy saving because there is no need for a pump.
-reduction of irrigation frequency: one time instead of 4 times. For the trees if you have a deep soil (200cm) you irrigate your trees 4 till 8 times per year
-The buried diffuser could be used also for the injection of rain water (collected in different kind of small or big reservoirs: small and big dams, hill lakes, etc) in the deep layers of the soil (60 cm below the soil surface). This water injection allows important water storage in the soil of tree plantations. This storage is maintained for a minimum of three years, allowing good growth and production of the trees even if  there is no rain during those 3 years. 
This new irrigation technology is the basic technique presented to win in 2009 the UNESCO International Water Prize. 

The buried diffuser will be manufactured by Chahtech S.A, a Tunisian company and will be distributed worldwide beginning this year. In June the company received two awards from the World Bank: Top50SME Award and "Access to Market and Finance Award."

The Buried Diffuser is available for sale worldwide (price: US$5.50 per unit/ FOB Tunisia).

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