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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Irrigation Management in Agriculture Distance Learning

Learn about Large-Scale Irrigation Systems

  • Learn more about irrigation management in an agricultural situation.
  • Study in your own time and at your own pace.
  • Understand large scale irrigation systems.

This course builds on existing skills and knowledge achieved in Irrigation (Agricultural) BAG213 or an equivalent course. The course develops your ability to participate in design and operation of large scale irrigation systems for agricultural applications.

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Agricultural Irrigation Management Short Course

Learn about large scale irrigation systems

The course comprises of eight lessons.

At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment to submit to your tutor for marking and feedback.

You can also contact your tutor with any questions throughout the course.


There are 8 lessons as follows:

Lesson 1: Water Management

  • Human water relationship
  • Water and plant growth
  • Xeriscaping
  • Types of water wastage
  • Waste water treatments using reed beds
  • Suitable plants

Lesson 2: Irrigation Scheduling

  • Considering climate factors for irrigation scheduling
  • Microclimate
  • Equipment used for monitoring water
  • Measuring water usage
  • Measuring soil moisture

Lesson 3: Drainage

  • Types of drains
  • Layout of drains
  • Improving permeability during construction
  • Improving surface drainage after construction
  • Contingencies to deal with flood

Lesson 4: Irrigation Controllers

  • Operating Irrigation Controllers
  • Types of controllers
  • Water volume and duration
  • Pumps and pressure systems
  • Pimping mechanism

Lesson 5: Irrigation Maintenance

  • Maintaining watering system
  • Maintenance procedure and scheduling
  • Maintaining trickle irrigation
  • Problems of water quality and their remedies
  • Improving water quality from any source

Lesson 6: Fertigation

  • Advantages and disadvantages of fertigation
  • Fertigation types
  • Fertiliser injectors
  • Application of fertiliser
  • Plant nursey fertiliser injection techniques

Lesson 7: Design Evaluation

  • Evaluating irrigation designs
  • Surface/flood irrigation
  • Sprinkler irrigation
  • Trickle irrigation
  • Microjet irrigation

Lesson 8: Irrigation Design

  • Pre planning information for irrigation design
  • Type of systems
  • Underground pipes
  • Drainage

DURATION:  100 hours



  • Devise ways to optimise water efficiency (ie. minimise wastage), during irrigation of plants.
  • Schedule irrigation for a large scale situation such as a large nursery, crop, turf, garden or pasture.
  • Analyse the design of different drainage systems
  • Formulate procedures to operate irrigation controllers, for appropriate tasks.
  • Manage the maintenance of irrigation systems, both small and large scale.
  • Manage the fertigation of plants through an irrigation system.
  • Evaluate the design of large scale irrigation systems.
  • Design an irrigation system, including its drainage.



  • Explain different factors which cause water to be wasted including:
    • Evaporation
    • Run off
    • Over spray
    • Scheduling
  • Determine where water is wasted, in both the operation and management of a specified irrigation system
  • Determine changes to achieve more efficient water usage, in a specified system.
  • Develop guidelines for determining when to irrigate in a particular situation.
  • Determine through an analysis, when to irrigate on a studied site, by evaluating soil moisture and other characteristics of a site, periodically over two months, and referencing annual rainfall statistics over a period of years.
  • Record in a log book, plant growth and soil moisture for an existing irrigation system operated using two different watering patterns, each for one month, and over two consecutive months.
  • Compare differences in varying the scheduling of a watering system over two months
  • Prepare an irrigation schedule for a specific garden or crop.
  • Develop criteria for designing a specified drainage system.
  • Explain the design criteria for a specified drainage requirement.
  • Devise strategies for dealing with drainage requirements in emergencies, including:
    • extreme weather (eg. hail, storm)
    • burst pipe
    • blocked drains
  • Determine appropriate drainage requirements for a specified situation, and over a specified area, including:
    • Type of drainage required
    • Specifications of drainage required
  • Evaluate the operation of a drainage system, installed under irrigation on a site studied by the learner.
  • Compare four different irrigation controllers with reference to different criteria including:
    • Labour costs
    • Maintenance
    • Reliability
  • Determine appropriate applications for four different types of irrigation controllers
  • Explain the operation of a specific brand of time clock, studied by the learner.
  • Explain the operation of a specified computerised irrigation controller.
  • Develop three different procedures to operate a specific irrigation controller, in order to satisfy three different specified purposes.
  • Determine routine site maintenance requirements for different types of irrigation systems including:
    • spray irrigation
    • micro irrigation
    • surface irrigation
    • flood irrigation
  • Explain routine site maintenance requirements for different types of irrigation systems including:
    • spray irrigation
    • micro irrigation
    • surface irrigation
    • flood irrigation
  • Develop a procedure for maintaining water quality, in a specified irrigation system, at a workplace visited by the learner.
  • Explain water quality maintenance activities required for efficient irrigation practices in a specific situation.
  • Compare the service supplied by different irrigation suppliers, in terms of scope and quality.
  • Develop an irrigation monitoring program, for a specific irrigation system, studied by the learner.
  • Write a maintenance schedule for a specified irrigation system.
  • Explain the use of fertigation, in a specific horticultural workplace.
  • Determine appropriate applications for fertigation in one specific industry sector.
  • Determine inappropriate fertigation applications in different specific industry sector.
  • Explain why certain applications for fertigation are inappropriate.
  • Compare the suitability of six different specified fertilisers for fertigation.
  • Determine resources required to undertake fertigation in a specified situation, including:
    • equipment
    • materials
    • manpower
  • Collate available data on a specified irrigation system, including:
    • system performance data
    • water supply
    • water consumption
    • crop production or plant growth data
    • climatic trends
    • soil characteristics
    • monitor irrigation performance
  • Analyse collated data against different criteria including:
    • benchmarks
    • specifications
    • predictions
  • Compile a comprehensive report evaluating a system, which includes:
    • data evaluation
    • performance indicators
    • conclusions
    • recommendations
  • Prepare design specifications for storage and distribution of water.
  • Explain appropriate methods for recycling, re-use or disposal of water, for three different specified irrigation systems.
    Are there any legal or health considerations?
  • Design a drainage system for a specified irrigation system, including:
    • Sketch plans
    • Materials lists
    • Cost estimates
  • Determine costing for a specified drainage system.
  • Prepare a report recommending design modifications to an existing irrigation system in a specified situation.
  • Prepare a design for a micro irrigation system for an area of forty square metres, to a standard which is adequate for a contractor to install the system; and including:
    • Plans
    • Calculations
    • Materials specifications

    How Do You Make Better Use of Water Resources? 

    If you irrigate properly, you will water thoroughly and infrequently. 
    By making sure the water penetrates the soil properly and wets the total root zone every time, you will find each irrigation event will have maximum benefit and the soil will take longer to dry out (reducing the frequency of irrigations required).
    The amount of water applied and the period between irrigations will need to be adjusted continually to take into account changing weather conditions and changing soil conditions (where soils are being cultivated).
    The quantity of water that is applied can also be restricted by the available supply. This has become an increasing problem in heavily populated areas where the population growth has outstripped any increases in water storage, as well as in rural areas where rising salinity levels are a problem in water supplies.
    Deep-rooted plants (eg. trees, pasture species such as phalaris and Lucerne) are able to draw up water from deeper in the soil than shallow-rooted plants. If these plants are watered in a way that the water penetrates deeper, there will be a supply of water deep in the soil which is insulated from the surface by the soil above. This water will remain in the soil accessible to the plant for a long time, whereas water near the surface will have dried out from the effects of the sun or wind over the soil surface (evaporation).
    All plants need water to grow and to survive. The amount of water needed, however, will vary from plant to plant. The two main factors that affect how much water a plant needs are:
    1. The variety of the plant. Some types of plants have the ability to retain water within their tissues for later use. Other plants are unable to do this.
    2. The environment in which the plant is growing. If there is plenty of water available around the plant, then the soil is likely to retain more moisture than it would in exposed windy or sunny situations.
    Obviously plants can suffer from a lack of water, but just as importantly, plants also suffer from an excessive amount of water. When you water a plant it is important to strike that delicate balance between too little and too much. Over watering can be just as detrimental as under watering.
    Managing watering properly can at the end of the day, make a huge impact upon the productivity of a farm.
    It isn't necessarily how much you water; but rather how and when you choose to irrigate; that makes the difference.

    Who is the course suitable for?

    The course is suitable for -
    • farmers
    • farm workers
    • agricultural workers
    • smallholders
    • anyone who needs to understand more about water conservation and irrigation in agriculture

    Why study this course?

  • This course will provide you with detailed knowledge on the practice and theory of irrigation management.
  • The course is flexible. It is studied by distance learning so you can study anywhere and when you want to.
  • Improve your job and career prospects by studying this specialist irrigation management course.

Any Questions?

Please click here to contact a tutor Or Request a course handbook here.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

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