Is anyone familiar with the basal flood irrigation system mentioned in this months State of the Art section in LAM (pg 88)? The article did not provide a lot of information about it.

Excerpt from June 2008 LAM

"...Miller uses basal rather than surface systems, which waste water and are hard to maintain. Basal systems embedded in course gravel in the drainage layer make water easily accessible for roots, and less water is lost to evaporation. They also can't be seen on the surface of the roof.

Basal systems work either through capillary action or a flood system, in which water is only delivered to plants when available water drops below a certain level. Floor irrigation, which is a good way to support turf on a green roof, is easily installed on flat roofs; a slightly more complicated variation can also be installed on a slope..."

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I have recently been working on an Aquaponics system at my work - www.ceres.org.au - a symbiotic relationship between aquaquatics and hydroponics where fish are farmed (primarily for food) and the waste is turned into useable fertiliser by a natural buildup of certain bacteria that convert nitrites into nitrates (see http://www.aquaponics.com.au/ ). We are experimenting with two form of hydroponics and one is a flood and drain system. Water is pumped to a header tank every 30 minutes and takes 15 minutes to flow down into the hydro beds. The intake is faster in the beds than outflow and they are tuned to fill almost to the brim and then drain out over the next 15 minutes.

Sounds like the basal system is like subsurface irrigation with a similar kind of process to this. Hope this helps.
Brian-- I know Charlie Miller well and have worked with him. I'll call him today and get it right from the horses mouth.
I'll post his answer later today or tonight.
Brian-- I spoke with Charlie the other day, the best answer I received was to contact him. His web site is
roofscapes.com. Call him and he'll be glad to share the info with you.
I think that this is basically a drip system.....a coiled system of flexible irrigation pipe that has tiny holes in it to release the water.

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