I've installed a couple drip irrigation setups in the past, always with drip emitters. Recently, my neighbor converted one of his sprinkler zones to drip. The way he did it I'm wondering what the benefit is, as it seems to be violating the "spirit" of drip irrigation. I guess this is sort of a philosophical question.

What he did is he took part of a standard sprinkler zone and converted just that part to drip. He connected 1/2" tubing to a sprinkler riser, ran the tubing around each plant, and tapped a bubbler into the tubing by each plant. I'm not even sure if he used a pressure reducer, and for the water filter he is using whatever screen is built in to the sprinkler-to-drip-tubing adapter.

That zone turns on for under ten minutes at a time, which my drip experience tells me is far too little (I'd expect at least an hour) -- but the bubblers put out so much water that it actually pools up around the plant. There are also a few micro sprinklers on the zone which water some larger areas.

So in a nutshell, it all works, in that the plants are thriving. But the purpose of this installation was to cut down on the water bill. Could a drip system used in this manner save water over standard spray sprinklers?

As a separate question, I'm not very familiar with micro sprinklers, but in general do they save very much water over standard high-volume sprinklers? It seems that they still spray water into the air, so you'd still have evaporation. The volume of water is lower, but micros run for longer. What do you think?