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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 #186685


item Clemmens, Albert

Submitted to: Land and Water
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/28/2006
Publication Date: 5/25/2007
Citation: Clemmens, A.J. 2007. Simple approach to surface irrigation design: application. Land and Water. (1)20-43. Available:

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. Many of these systems perform poorly as a result of design and management problems. In a companion paper, simple theory and equations were developed for design and management that can guide improvements in surface irrigation performance. In this paper, we provide examples and spreadsheet programs to apply this theory. This should be of use to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, consultants, and irrigation farmers.

Technical Abstract: In a companion paper (Clemmens 2005), a series of simple procedures were presented for calculating the advance, recession, and performance of surface irrigation systems. The equations are included in Appendix I for completeness. These equations form the basis for design analysis, however they do not directly provide design recommendations. In design, one has to have a larger view of how the system can be adapted to different cropping systems, how the irrigation system interfaces with other farm operations, what labor is required and available, economic viability, and many other considerations. A more detailed discussion of these topics is included in a Burt et al. (2000). In this paper, we apply these equations to design examples with the aid of spreadsheet programs.