Irrigation water pumps are necessary in evacuating water from a source to the point of farm use. A grower must understand the water pump type to use before procuring one, so that the water pump meets all irrigation requirements. There are various irrigation water pumps categorized as;
- By placement
- Surface water pumps; they operate while placed on a ground surface. Surface water pumps are generator pumps which are petrol or diesel powered, electric and solar water pumps
- Submersible water pumps; they work while placed inside the water source. Submersible water pumps are either electric, or solar powered
- By power source
- Generator water pumps which are either diesel or petrol powered
- Solar water pumps which use the sun’s power to run. They are also referred to as DC (direct current) water pumps
- Electric water pumps that run on electric power. They are also called AC (alternating current) water pumps
- By pressure rating
This is shown on the water pump as meters or bars
- Low pressure water pumps. They are used to move water on flat or gentle slope surfaces over short distances. They could either be high volume or low volume water pumps
- High pressure water pumps. They are designed to transfer irrigation water over steep slopes and long distances. They could either be high volume or low volume water pumps
- By the amount of water pumped out
- Low volume pumps. These are used to pump out low volumes of water. They’re used on small acreage. They can be low or high-pressure types.
- High volume water pumps. They pump out large volumes of water, and are used for large commercial agricultural production. They can be low or high-pressure types
Below we consider what a grower must know when choosing the right irrigation water pump
i. Amount of water required in the farm
Every water pump has an indicated flow rate, which is the volume of water it pushes through over a given time. This is shown a s liters per second, or liters per minute, or most commonly meter cubic per hour. A grower will select the pump that provides the right volume for the given acreage and crop. For instance, a farmer growing on half an acre will use a smaller water pump than another planting on ten acres.
ii. Farm location
Growers in electricity off-grid locations will be limited to solar, or generator diesel, and petrol water pumps. Some locations are also very far from a fuel station, which limits the grower to a solar, or electric pump (if it is not an off-grid electricity site)
In tropical climates, solar water pumps will work all year round because the sun is available throughout. In temperate locations, this is not so particularly in the winter.
iii. Water source
Water is evacuated from a borehole or deep well using a submersible solar or electric water pump. A submersible water pump can also be used to evacuate irrigation water from a deep-water reservoir.
A surface pump (solar, electric, diesel or petrol powered) will be used to draw water from shallower sources
Every pump has a separate price according to its specifications. A grower will choose one that meets his or her growing needs, and is within his or her budget.