In the previous article we defined “one miner’s inch” of irrigation water as the amount of water that could flow through a one square inch hole under pressure. We did not define what that pressure was or how we obtained it.
It’s simple, actually. The amount of pressure is determined by the distance from the center of the hole up to the water’s surface. By most systems (each state has its own system) the standard distance is 6 inches. So here’s this hole sitting six inches under water. The pressure comes from the weight of the vast column of air pressing down on the surface of the water. It’s just like siphoning water out of an aquarium. Once the water starts flowing through the siphon hose, the surface pressure above the aquarium will keep the water moving. Capiche?
Question #1. How much water will flow through a one inch hole sitting six inches under the surface? You will be amazed! And not for the last time! I really dig this stuff. I hope you do too. Where was I? Oh, yes, how much?
About 1.5 cubic feet per minute, or about 11 gallons per minute. Through that one little hole! (So that should make you wonder just how many gallons there are in one cubic foot. Don’t worry I’ll tell you! This one’s on the house. There are about 7.5 gallons in one cubic foot of water. Shhh. Do not let anyone know that I gave this up for free.)
Question #2. How much water will “one miner’s inch” provide in a day?
Let’s see, about 11 gallons per minute times 60 minutes times X 24 hours = 16,000 gallons per day.
Question #3 How much will that “one miner’s inch” cost to purchase from NID?
It will cost $494.17 for the April 15–November 14 season. How did I know that? I got it off their rate sheet, silly.
Question #4 How much cost is that per day? per gallon?
Let’s work it out. $494.17 divided by 210 days = $2.35 per day
$2.35 per day divided by 16,000 gallons per day = $.00015 per gallon
What? $.00015 per gallon! I bet you don’t even have words for a number that small.
Question #5 How many gallons will your “one miner’s inch” allocation provide in one season.
More mind-boggling. Take 210 days X 16,000 gallons per day = (gulp) 3,360,000 gallons.
That’s Million. Three Million Three Hundred and Sixty Gallons of fresh water. Through that one little hole. For less than 500 bucks.
Question #6 How much land can you irrigate with all that water?
Not as much as you think. NID estimates that it takes about “one half a miner’s inch” to irrigate one acre of pasturage. So one miner’s inch irrigates two acres of pasturage.
Let’s talk about “acre feet” of water. How much water is one “acre foot” of water” Nope. Not gonna do it. Not going to talk about acre feet until the next article. You will be even more amazed!
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