Irrigation Water Management


Irrigation Water Management (IWM) is the process of determining and controlling the volume, frequency, and application rate of irrigation water in a planned, efficient manner.

Cost of Leaks


  1. 40 acres with two quarter-mile lines

  2. 60 psi pumping pressure + 20 ft. head

  3. 10% loss to leaks (21 gpm per line)

  4. Cost of power = 7 cents per kWh

  5. 30" net application

  6. Cost of pumping for leaks = $250 per year ($6 per acre)



IWM is applied as part of a conservation management system to support one or more of the following:

(Pivot irrigation drop down sprinklers)
  • Manage soil moisture to promote desired crop response
  • Optimize use of available water supplies
  • Minimize irrigation induced soil erosion
  • Decrease non-point source pollution of surface and groundwater resources
  • Manage salts in the crop root zone
  • Manage air, soil, or plant micro-climate.

The main factors influencing IWM are:

  • Irrigation interval (time between irrigations),
  • Irrigation set time (time water is applied), and
  • Application rate (rate at which water is applied).

(Installation of pipe in a canal)


These parameters define the timing and duration of irrigation and the amount of water applied. System design and maintenance are also important factors influencing IWM.

The following link will give you more information on irrigation practices:

If you need assistance with figuring out how to upgrade your irrigation system the Deschutes SWCD at 541-923-2204 can help find local solutions for design and funding opportunities; however it is work – there is no way around that.

(Flood irrigation in a field of wheat will be replaced by sprinkler irrigation.)


Why All The Attention on Irrigation Water Management?

Oregon's Fresh Water Use

USA's Fresh Water Use