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Home  > Farm Energy Alternatives  > Irrigation Efficiency

Irrigation Efficiency

Looking for energy-related equipment, funding, or a local business with the right expertise?
Try ATTRA's Directory of Energy Alternatives.

Irrigation Example, NCAT photoMost irrigation systems are not as efficient as they should be. For example, a study in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and other states found that, on average, about 25 percent of the electrical energy used for irrigation pumping was being wasted due to poor pump and motor efficiency.

Overwatering also wastes energy and money. Equipment problems and management problems tend to go hand in hand. Equipment that is badly designed, inefficient, or poorly maintained reduces the irrigator's degree of control over the way water is applied. Problems like patchy water distribution and inadequate pressure make it impossible to maintain correct soil moisture levels, leading to crop stress, reduced yields, wasted water, runoff, soil erosion, and many other problems.

NOTE: Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Acrobat Reader.

ATTRA Publications

California Drought Programs and Resources - IP466


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy
Conservation Easements - IP239


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Cover Crop Options for Hot and Humid Areas - IP535


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Drought and Disaster Resources for Texas Producers - IP492


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy
Drought Resistant Soil - IP169

PDF Price: $0.99 for non-members

 • Summary • Buy PDF  • Buy Print Copy
Energy Saving Tips for Irrigators - IP278


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Maintaining Irrigation Pumps, Motors, and Engines - IP299


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Managed Grazing in Riparian Areas - IP223


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Measuring and Conserving Irrigation Water - IP280


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Micro-Hydro Power: A Beginners Guide to Design and Installation - IP383

PDF Price: $1.99 for non-members
Kindle Price: $1.99

 • Summary • Buy PDF  • Buy Kindle • Buy Print Copy
Micro-Hydro Power: Is It Right for My Farm? - IP384

PDF Price: $.99 for non-members
Kindle Price: $0.99

 • Summary • Buy PDF  • Buy Kindle • Buy Print Copy
Protecting Riparian Areas: Farmland Management Strategies - IP186


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
Protecting Water Quality on Organic Farms - IP214

PDF Price: $2.95 for non-members

 • Summary • Buy PDF  • Buy Print Copy
Soil Moisture Monitoring: Low-Cost Tools and Methods - IP277


 • Summary • Download PDF  • Buy Print Copy  • View Now
The California Microirrigation Pocket Guide - IP415

Kindle Price: $9.99

 • Summary • Buy Kindle
The Irrigator's Pocket Guide - IP511

 • Summary • Buy Print Copy


See It On The Farm

Hydro Power for Gravity Flow Irrigation Systems


Agricultural Energy Publications
From University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. Downloadable publications on many farm energy topics, including irrigation.
Irrigation Engineering Publications
University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources website, offering dozens of publications on irrigation management and hardware.
The California Energy Commission
Energy in Agriculture Program offers related case studies, publications, and research projects.
USDA-NRCS Energy Estimator: Irrigation
This tool enables you to estimate energy cost of pumping water in the irrigation operations on your farm or ranch. NRCS technical specialists developed this model to integrate general technical information on farm-specific crops, energy prices, and pumping requirements.
A "multi-function, educational resource for irrigation water management," from the Center for Irrigation Technology at California State University, Fresno.
Wind Energy for Irrigation Power
This Excel spreadsheet from Montana State University allows you to compare up to three different sizes of wind turbines, and up to four different types of irrigation systems, matching electric requirements to wind turbine generating capacity.


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This page was last updated on: March 18, 2015