Irrigation Pumps

Posted on 20th March 2019 at 3:31pm

Irrigation Pumps

Irrigation pumps are designed to provide sufficient pressure and water flow for an irrigation system. Sometimes an irrigation pump is specified as the main water supply is not capable of providing the pressure and flow required, this is especially true for pop-up lawn sprinklers and large sprinkler sets in horticulture. Irrigation pumps are also required where the Water Regulations require a break from the public water main - most commercial irrigation systems need this by law. The break from the mains is normally achieved using a water storage tank, generally called a break tank. Once the water is in the tank it has lost all pressure, so has to be re-pressurised by an irrigation pump. The third use of irrigation pumps is where the water source is a stream, well or lake. We shall look at each of these requirements for pumps.

Mains water will only supply a finite amount of water flow and pressure. The available pressure and flow can be measured with a bucket, stopwatch and pressure gauge. The available water supply can be compared with the requirement of the new irrigation system - if the mains water supply is insufficient then an irrigation pump will be required. However, the UK Water Regulations prohibit irrigation pumps being connected directly onto the water mains, so a storage tank is also needed. The tank needs to be big enough to hold the difference between the water required on the irrigation cycle and the amount available from the mains.

The UK Water Regulations require a break tank for almost all commercial irrigation systems. This is to prevent the risk of contaminated irrigation water flowing into the public mains - a situation called 'back-flow'. Generally, a break tank and an irrigation pump are used to achieve compliance.

For lakes, streams and wells submersible irrigation pumps are normally used. These can be dropped into the water to draw the water out. For dirtier water sources a floating inlet can be used to ensure the water just below the surface is drawn in, as this is generally cleaner. Filtration is a must on these water sources, what type of filtration will depend on the amount of contamination in the water and also the type.

Most smaller irrigation pumps are electric and are either single stage or, for higher pressures, multi-stage. On agricultural installations diesel or petrol irrigation pumps may be used. Electric pumps are normally controlled either via an auto-start unit or via a relay that is connected to the irrigation controller. With auto-start pumps it is very important to ensure that there a no leaks on the system pipework, otherwise the pump will keep turning on and off to top-up the pressure, potentially damaging the irrigation pump. Irrigation pumps are water cooled, so can be damaged if the pump runs dry. In extreme cases the pump can overheat and catch fire.


Meta Title: 
Irrigation pumps in UK installations
Meta Description: 
Using irrigation pumps for watering commercial and domestic irrigation projects

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