Irrigation Engineer

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Irrigation engineers plan, design, and maintain irrigation systems for the transport and distribution of water to residential and agricultural sites. They may oversee the installation of pipelines and sprinklers, or be involved in directing water from dams, canals, and rivers. Irrigation engineers work in the field to evaluate terrain, soil, and climactic characteristics to optimise the use of water for lawns and agricultural crops. They often employ computer modelling techniques to plan blueprints of irrigation systems, and present these to subcontractors or installation technicians.

The irrigation engineer addresses ongoing issues of drought and national water shortages, and focus on developing irrigation systems that prioritise water sustainability. They may be involved in researching water recycling methods and developing new ways of minimising water seepage and evaporation loss.

They are often employed in agricultural industries such as cotton, dairy, and horticulture. Others may find work in the residential and business sectors in the construction of irrigation systems for homeowners and office buildings.

Common work activities may include:

  • Understanding, designing and developing the most effective irrigation system for the area to be watered.
  • Enhancing current topographical features to improve both soil and water conservation in the area to be irrigated. This is often done by reading maps and studying aerial photographs, especially for agricultural irrigation systems.
  • Educating consumers about the various types of irrigation systems including sprinklers and drip systems and how they will impact water and soil conservation.