Pumping from a river

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Allens LawnCare, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. Allens LawnCare

    Allens LawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 926

    Can Any one tell me what I might need or how I might go about Setting up an irrigation system at my house approx. 1 1/4 acre lot...Flat. I want to see if there is anyway to pump oout of the River in my back yard so I don't have to burn out my well pump. I'm planning on putting in a new lawn and would like to do the irrigation my self if poss......Any suggestions Would be great
  2. JB Landscape

    JB Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    You better check your local, state, and federal, rules and regulations before you pump out of that river.
  3. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274


    JB is right about checking for any codes, permits, licenses etc required for pumping out of a river.

    The next suggestion is to get with a local water well/pump installer and let him do the pump work. Too many variables for the various types of pump available. You can use centrifugal, jet, or submersible. Need to take into consideration how to prevent damage during winter if things freeze (I assume they do in R.I.), also the ability to remove the pump equipment in case of a flood (if there is enough warning before hand), How high is the irrigated area above the normal water level of the river. If over about 20' that changes the type of pump you can use.

    So, get the system designed on paper so you know what the requirements are for flow and pressure, then get with the pump folks and let them help you determine the proper pumping setup, and what it might cost to install it.

    Good Luck,


    ps. If you design the irrigation system properly, and install it properly, you won't burn up your well pump. I have systems running off of wells that have been doing fine for nearly 20 yrs. Not to say that they haven't changed pumps, but not due to irrigating alone. Many factors involved, and pumps do wear out with use.
  4. MikeK

    MikeK LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    I think Pumping out of the river is a great Idea. It gives you the ability to design the system properly, rather than having to design around the existing pump.
    First, you need to decide how much water you have to apply to your lawn to keep it green in the worst case scenario.
    1.25 Acres will require almost 45,000 gallons a week.
    /7 days a week = 6,300 gallons/day
    Ideally, you want to keep the watering down to about 5 hours/day. That would mean that you need to have a pump capable of about 21 gallons/minute.

    1 1/4 inch pipe can handle up to about 25 gallons per minute.
    So if your runs are short enough, you could probably use that for your main lines and lateral lines.

    Next determine your elevation from the surface of the water to the highest head. Multiply by .433 and you will get the pressure loss due to elevation.
    Next figure out pressure loss through your piping, valves, ect.

    Add those pressure losses together and find a pump that will give you enough pressure at 21 GPM to overcome pressure loss and to give you 30 - 50 PSI at the base of the rotary heads.

    I would choose a pump that in NOT a submersible.
    Submersible pumps are not a good idea for irrigation systems for the folowing reasons:
    1. They are designed to function as a well pump, not an irrigation pump and the pump curves are not quite as forgiving as one designed specificaly for irrigation.
    2. A the bearings in a submersible well pump are designed not to handle side loading, just thrust loading from hanging straight up and down. Many times you do not have enough water depth in a river or lake to hang the pump straight up and down. Contractors place them on the side and the bearings go out in the pump in a few years. I have switched dozens out over the years to on shore centrifugal pumps because of this.

    3. With a submersible pump, you have to run the wires into the water. It's an extra liability that I am not comfortable with.

    If you are not really expierenced in Irrigation, I would rely on a qualified, Certified Irrigation contracotr to design and install this system for you. It's alot more complicated than just running some pipesin the ground and hooking up the heads.
    Good Luck

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