Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Water Management and Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #186551


item Clemmens, Albert
item Walker, W
item Fangmeier, D
item Hardy, L

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2006
Publication Date: 10/2/2007
Citation: Clemmens, A.J., Walker, W.R., Fangmeier, D.D., Hardy, L.A. 2007. Chapter 14. design of surface systems. 14:499-531.

Interpretive Summary: Surface irrigation has a reputation for poor performance. Where water supplies are limited, conversion to pressurized irrigation is often recommended. Yet half of the irrigated land in the United States, and more than 80% worldwide, continues to be irrigated with surface methods. In the near future, much of this land will continue to be surface irrigated. In this book chapter, we present simple procedures for design and operations that can be used to guide improvements in surface irrigation performance. This should be of use to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, consultants, and irrigation farmers.

Technical Abstract: Surface irrigation design and operation are a challenge because soil infiltration and soil and crop resistance influence the movement of water over the field and thus the water distribution. In the past, design for each surface irrigation method was treated differently because of differences in the simplicity with which different phases of the irrigation could be described. This has tended to make surface irrigation analysis and design appear disjointed. In this chapter, we apply the same basic procedures for the design of all surface systems, deviating where needed to make the procedures both straightforward and sufficiently accurate. The basis for these designs is the ability to predict advance, recession, the distribution of infiltrated water, and the performance for a given set of conditions. Conservation of mass is the main concept, with empirical approximations used where needed. Examples are provided for each method.