What is Irrigation Design?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2019
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Irrigation design is a process in which an irrigation system is designed and installed. It may be performed by a landscaping company, by a company which specializes in irrigation systems, or by a gardener or farmer with irrigation experience. When installing an irrigation system, it pays to take the time to design it properly; a well designed system can save water, work more effectively, and meet the needs of the situation better than a system which was hastily constructed and poorly thought out.

The first step in the process is to assess the situation in which the irrigation will be used, and to discuss how it will be used. Irrigation design for a crop like grapes, for example, is very different from irrigation design for household landscaping. The assessment includes research into local weather patterns, soil testing, and a determination of the specific water needs in the environment.

Irrigation design also includes research into available water sources and restrictions on water usage. If an area restricts water usage, for example, the design may need to include a tank which captures and stores rainfall. Irrigation design also takes local laws and environmental concerns into consideration, such as worries about runoff from commercial agriculture which could harm fish populations in neighboring lakes and rivers.


After needs and limitations are assessed, it's time to start thinking about irrigation systems. Irrigation can be performed in many different ways, and a good design takes several possible methods into consideration and determines which would be most appropriate. The design can also include a consideration of issues such as putting the system on a timer, programming the system to respond to ongoing weather conditions, and so forth.

As the design process progresses, blueprints of the systems are drawn up. These are used to determine which supplies are necessary, and to map out the irrigation system before it is installed so that workers conduct the work appropriately. Once the system is fully designed and approved, it can be installed, and the maps of the system are used during routine maintenance and other procedures which are designed to keep the irrigation system functioning effectively.

While irrigation design may not seem important for a little task like installing drop irrigation in a front garden, it pays to think ahead of time. Considering the needs of the system will allow people to avoid common pitfalls, and planning ahead can save money and time during installation.


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Irrimaker is an example of a complete Irrigation Design Software package.

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