This is a "work in progress" Send comments to:

Table of Contents | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8
| Videos | Photo Library | PowerPoints | Extension Documents | Technical Papers | 652 Forms | Search

Outside the ToolBox
National Engineering Handbook
| Technical Releases | Technical Notes | User Guides

Chapter 3

Irrigation System Design


  • The material provided in this section is intended to serve as a framework for irrigation system design training.
  • For a pdf document that contains the introduction, objectives, and suggested outline, click here.
Suggested Objectives

Suggested Objectives

  1. Determine which type of irrigation system is appropriate for given specific site conditions, i.e. soil properties and crop data.
  2. Specify materials and components to make a complete system that optimizes the balance between capital investment and operation and maintenance costs.
  3. Prepare a performance table for the system listing total application versus time based on the average application rate.
  4. Develop complete drawings and specifications for system layout, and operation.
Suggested Outline

Suggested Outline

I. Introduction

II. Body

A. Irrigation System Selection Based on Specific Site Conditions

1. Types of systems
2. Advantages/disadvantages
3. Theory of selected system
4. Specific site requirements

B. Materials and Components for a Cost-Effective System

1. Specific construction requirements
2. Materials vs. cost

C. Performance Table

D. Drawings and Specifications

III. Summary

Toolbox Material


Note: Note all copies of documents that were contained in the original Irrigation Training Toolbox are available electronically.

If you are unable to find a hard copy of a document in your state, you may be able to borrow a copy from the Water Management Engineer at your regional National technology Support Center

  1. Drip and Microirrigation for Trees, Vines, and Row Crops, ITRC, Cal-Poly
  2. Fertigation, ITRC, Cal-Poly
  3. Precipitation Rates and Sprinkler Irrigation- Student and Instructor Manuals, Hunter Industries
  4. Irrigation Hydraulics- Student and Instructor Manuals, Hunter Industries
  5. The Surface Irrigation Manua,l Chapter 1, Cal-Poly
  6. Understanding Pumps, Irrigation Association
  7. Crop Evapotranspiration, FAO-56
  8. Design and Operation of Farm Irrigation Systems, ASABE Monograph (link to ASABE)
  9. Irrigation Diversion Structure, NRCS
  10. NEH Part 652: National Irrigation Guide, Chapter 6: Irrigation System Design
  11. NEH Part 623: Irrigation
Lesson Plans


  1. Lesson Plan Sprinkler Design Problem, NRCS, KS
  2. Lesson Plan Selecting Sprinkler Packages for Center Pivots, Nebraska
  3. Lesson Plan CPNOZZLE Program, NRCS




  • Video 006 “LEPA - Saving Water for Future Producers”, Texas Agricultural Extension Service/Texas A&M University (31:31)
  • Video 008 “Private Rural Water Protection Series
  • Video 009 “Pump Selection, Application and Use”, Certified Irrigation Designer’s Video Series, Step 2, VEP, Cal-Poly (57:32)
  • Video 010 “Sand Media Filtration for Drip and Microirrigation”, ITRC, Cal-Poly (50:30)
  • Video 011 “General Filtration for Drip and Microirrigation”, ITRC, Cal-Poly (50:27)
  • Video 027 “Surface Irrigation”
    • 027E "Surface Irrigation" (English) (18:27)
    • 027S "Surface Irrigation" (Spanish) (22:23)
  • Video 028 “Assuring Efficient Center Pivot Irrigation”, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska. (43:32)