NORTH LEUPP FARMS PROJECT
This project has been made into an engineering course that can count towards
your engineering degree. We have weekly lectures on Conservation Planning and
Solar Powered Irrigation Design, and we go into the field to implement what we
learn. For more information,
North Leupp Family Farms is located just outside of
Leupp, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. In the winter of 2011 representatives
from the Leupp Family Farm contacted Global Engineering Outreach for technical
assistance in designing a solar-powered irrigation pumping system for the first
phase of a proposed three year project. Jacques Seronde, part of the management
and evaluation team for the Tolani Lake Enterprises Board, worked with Global
Engineering Outreach members to write a grant to the USDA-NRCS. The grant,
which has since been approved, covers the implementation o f renewably-powered
irrigation for three separate locations, two on the Navajo Reservation and one
on the Hopi Reservation. The project in Leupp is the first of these three projects.
coalition of Navajo and Hopi community-based organizations is collaborating to
conduct this project. The group includes members of Global Engineering
Outreach-NAU, Tolani Lake Enterprises, and countless Navajo and Hopi groups.
both the Hopi and Navajo tribes have long suffered from severe poverty and
social stresses which hamper community economic and agricultural development
and wellbeing. These stresses included rampant diabetes and obesity,
unemployment rates over 60%, per capita median incomes ranging between $7,000
and $8,500 per year; and 60% of Hopi and Navajo families living below the
poverty level. The Navajo and Hopi farms hope to not only provide healthy,
local food, but to lower the costs of producing it.
current diesel generator at the Leupp Family Farm uses 2 gallons of diesel per
hour for the 150 day irrigation season. Operating an average of 6 hours a day,
the generator uses 1800 gallons of diesel at a cost of $9,000 or more per
season. The use of diesel also produces an estimated 18 metric tons of CO2 and
other greenhouse gases per season. This project will seek to reduce the cost of
energy generation through photovoltaic systems.
solar photovoltaic-powered systems for livestock watering generally use DC pumps
and are relatively well-known and applied in appropriate locations in the
United States and the developing world. However, these systems are too small
for irrigation of larger fields, and are not in wide use among the Navajo and
Hopi for livestock watering, due to factors including (a) lack of information
about the benefits of such systems; (b) shortage of Navajo and Hopi expertise
to design, integrate, install, operate and maintain such systems; (c)
inadequate access by tribal members to assistance programs helping provide such
systems; and (d) vandalism.
Global Engineering Outreach Implementation
purpose of the project is to assist three locations in developing alternatives
for diesel generators. Most present and potential Navajo and Hopi irrigated
farm and pasture sites are far off-grid and have no alternative to diesel fuel
to power well-pumps. We are striving to:
- Demonstrate the environmental,
economic, and socio-cultural effectiveness and sustainability of solar
energy systems for pumping irrigation-quantities of water.
- Encourage and facilitate the
adoption of these systems among Navajo, Hopi, and other Tribal
Conservation Districts Strengthen Navajo, Hopi, and other Tribal
communities food and water security by building local capacity to use plentiful
solar energy resources to pump shallow ground water sustainably for crop
- Train at least fifteen Navajo and
Hopi farmers and community members in the technical processes of solar
pumping system design, installation, monitoring, operations and
maintenance, to increase community capacity to expand the use of such
- Engage Global Engineering Outreach students in
transformative cross-cultural partnerships helping Navajo, Hopi and other
Tribal farmers and communities strengthen their sustainable food and water
security through applications of solar power to meet family farm
irrigation water needs.
the three systems will be designed to irrigate up to 20 acres of land with up
to 3 acre-feet per acre per irrigation season. Those collaborating on the
project will design, install, operate, monitor, evaluate and report on three 17
kW solar photovoltaic-powered pumping systems, each system capable of supplying
up to 60 acre-feet of irrigation water during the season to a 20 acre Navajo or
Hopi farm. The Leupp Family Farm presently irrigates about 20 acres of family
plots of traditional corn, squashes, melons and other crops. 80 gallons per
minute of irrigation water are supplied from a well 200 feet deep and about
2000 feet away, equipped with a 7 h.p. submersible AC pump powered by a diesel
preliminary design developed by Global Engineering Outreach members includes the replacement of the
existing diesel-generator-powered submersible pump with a 17 kW solar PV
system, mounted on a locally-developed frame-mounted tracking system, to
provide enough power for a larger pump (estimated at 15 h.p. to yield 250 gpm
against a total dynamic head of 150 feet); and to provide additional power for
other on-farm uses including corn grinding and brackish water desalinization.
The estimated cost per system is $108,000.
Leupp Family Farms (NLFF) is engaging their community members and encouraging a
permanent relationships.Go to their site.https://sites.google.com/site/leuppfarm/..
Dilks is the current project leader for our work with NLFF. She is currently
studying environmental engineering, but has years of international experience
that help her excel in this project. Contact Cheryl to get involved with
the Leupp project.