Factors you need to define (in relation to irrigation)

  • What is your total area, and do you have enough water?
    Take your peak water demand calculation per hectare and multiply by the farm size. Do you have enough water available to meet peak demand?

  • Location of fields – piping and distribution planning to get the water to the fields, and also consideration of distances from water source and pump shed.

  • Slopes – what slopes are there for each block and across the farm? This will impact the type of drip irrigation you can use, as the pressure of the water increases as elevations decrease across the field

  • Fixed items – obstacles that should be considered, along with field and service roads.

  • Row length and direction – for each block, what is the length of the row, which in turn is the length required of each drip irrigation lateral? Each drip irrigation line has a specific length that it can operate at while maintaining uniformity. If this length is too long, you may consider using a sub-main in the middle of the block – having the drip laterals center-fed, which halves the distance required for each drip lateral.



  • Row spacing and lateral spacing

    • Row spacing = the distance between each plant row
    • Lateral spacing = the distance between each drip lateral. This sometimes may be the same as the row spacing, but it varies.


The example below is a drip lateral for every second plant row. Therefore, row spacing of 5m (16.4 ft) and lateral spacing of 10m (32.8 ft).


  • Block planning – how will you split the irrigation zones (blocks) for best hydraulic performance, and also agronomic considerations (e.g. different soil types)? More information on block planning is in Module 3.

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