I am planning a gravity drip irrigation system fed from a large cistern that is 55 inches tall from the faucet to the overflow tube.

This will yield a significant variation in water pressure between empty and full. For example, one bed is 63 inches below the faucet, yielding 2.3 psi when empty and 4.3 when full; another is 125 inches below, for 4.5–6.5 psi.

How can one deal with variable head of this scale in a gravity drip system? I want to be able to water roughly the same amount without too much hassle whether the cistern is full or nearly empty.

I am aware of pressure regulators and pressure compensating emitters but have not been able to locate any that work at the low pressures from gravity. I have found multiple options for non-compensating emitters and drip line at these pressures.

  • Can you add another container which is fed by the first to give you the constant pressure? Jul 15 '18 at 22:01
  • @Graham: I'll think about it. I'd need to make sure it remained full but not overflow. Are you aware of any resources online from people who have tried this approach?
    – Reid
    Jul 16 '18 at 17:25

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