Variable Rate Drip Irrigation (VRDI) Emitter

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Technology Description

The Variable Rate Drip Irrigation (VRDI) Emitter is a technology that allows for more precise irrigation by monitoring the flow at the emitter, and controlling that based on the desired volume of water to be emitted. In this way, the operator of the system specifies an amount of water to be applied, and is ensured that the correct amount of water is applied. This can be particularly important for high value crops, including grapes and a variety of fruit, where there may be high variability of water delivery throughout a plot or orchard, with significant impact on the quality and quantity of fruit produced from each individual plant. The VRDI is also a ‘smart’ device that can be controlled remotely.

Features & Benefits

  • Reduced water waste
  • Precise water application
  • Cost effective


  • Vineyards
  • Orchards
  • High value crops

Background of Invention

Drip irrigation continues to spread as a preferred irrigation approach in arid environments due to its high water efficiency and suitability for many soil types. Low water application rates allow for water infiltration while simultaneously preventing runoff. A deficiency in current drip irrigation is that the amount of irrigation water applied is controlled indirectly, typically as a function of pressure, which is variable over an extended network of irrigation emitters. Typically, pressure compensated emitters (with a design flow rate) are operated for a set period of time on the presumption of a specified pressure, but there is no way to verify the amount of water delivered at each emitter. There remains a need for a system that can verify and control the volume of water delivered at each emitter, preferably independent of system pressure.


Patent pending


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
David Dickson
IP & Licensing Manager
Oregon State University
Hadi AL-agele
Chad Higgins
Chet Udell
Chet Udell
drip irrigation
smart irrigation
water conservation
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