Choosing the Right Water Pumps for Irrigation

The pump is the heart of any irrigation system, and whether you’re building a new system or just replacing the pump in an existing system, you’re going to want to be sure to get the right pump for the job. There are many different types or water pumps for irrigation available in many different sizes and capacities, so your choice is not an easy one. If you understand the characteristics of the pumps that are available and know your own application, however, finding a pump won’t be too difficult.

Types of Pumps
For irrigation purposes, the main pumps you’re going to be concerned with are centrifugal pumps, meaning pumps that have an impeller (like a propeller) which pulls water through the pump using centrifugal force. One popular type are end-suction centrifugal pumps, which are close-coupled to an electric motor and push water from its own height or higher, but struggles with lower water levels.

Submersible pumps are placed under water in a well, lake or stream, which allows them to efficiently push water without having to suck it up. A floating pump is just a submersible pump that’s mounted to the bottom of a flotation device. A turbine pump uses a turbine instead of a simple propeller, and it may have several of them in sequence to increase flow, allowing it to pull water great distances or up considerable heights.

How to Choose a Pump for a New Irrigation System
After looking over the types of water pumps for irrigation available, you should probably have a pretty clear idea what type of pump best fits your application, depending on your water source and where it is in relation to your area to be irrigated. The next step is to figure out how big the pump needs to be.

There are a number of back-of-the-envelope calculations you can use involving the square footage you are irrigating or multiplying the flow rate of your sprinklers times the number of sprinklers, and so on. In truth, most of these methods will get you in trouble and either burn out your pump or cause you to waste water and power. For a large or commercial application, hire a professional to calculate how many gallons per minute (GPM) your pump needs to be. Armed with this knowledge, you can then buy the perfect pump.

How to Choose a Pump for an Existing Irrigation System
The only thing you need to do to replace an existing pump is to find a pump with specs to match the old one in terms of pressure and flow (not horsepower). The temptation will be to get a bigger pump, but that is unnecessary—a newer pump will run more efficiently than an old one and naturally provide you with more flow, even at the same listed capacity.

If you are in the market for a new irrigation pump, Morrison Pump Company can help. Visit to see the types of pumps available and to learn about project management services to help you design your irrigation system and find the right pump for your job.

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