Selecting a pump is generally the last step in an irrigation system design. The pump is selected based on the required flow rate and pressure requirements of the irrigation system. The most common pumps used in sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are centrifugal pumps. Pump selection is generally a process of looking through pump catalogs and selecting the pump with highest efficiency at the required flow rate and pressure. The process also includes motor power selection, calculation of the net positive suction head, and possibly trimming the impeller in order to fine-tune the pump to the irrigation system requirements. The affinity laws govern the relationships between impeller diameter, motor frequency (RPM), flow rate, and pressure. The flow rate and pressure relationship for a given impeller diameter is called the pump curve. Pump curves and irrigation system curves can be mathematically combined in order to find the operating pressure and flow rate of the system. There are several possible sources of energy for pumps. The costs of three energy sources (solar, diesel, and electric) are compared in an example. Finally, the chapter covers basic principles of chemigation injection system design. Designing the pump station correctly is an essential final step in the provision of a reliable source of water.


Pump types Performance curves System curves Affinity laws Total dynamic head 

Supplementary material


  1. Beard R, Robert Hill (2000) Maintaining electric motors used for irrigation. Utah State University Cooperative Extension. ENGR/BIE/WM/06
  2. NRCS (1997) Energy use and conservation. National Engineering Handbook. Part 652. Chapter 12.
  3. NRCS (2010) Variable Speed Drive (VSD) for irrigation pumping, engineering technical note MT-14.
  4. Huffman R, Fangmeier D, Elliott W, Workman S (2013) Soil and water conservation engineering. American Society of Agricultural and Biological EngineeringGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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