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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment


  • Learn to design, install, maintain, operate and evaluate simple irrigation systems.
  • Benefit from understanding more about irrigation and crops.
  • Study in your own time at your own pace.
  • Study with highly experienced and qualified tutors

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Water is a precious and often scarce resource. Using it effectively can make all the difference to whether a crop is profitable or not. This ten lesson course develops an understanding of how plants use water and how to deliver it more effectively to the plant.

Course Structure

There are ten lessons as follows:

1. Introduction
2. Soil Characteristics And Problems
3. Estimating Plant And Soil Requirements
4. Drainage - drainage systems, dams, etc.
5. Types Of Irrigation Systems
6. Hydraulics - discharge and flow rates, etc
7. Pumps And Filters
8. Selecting The Right System For The Plant
9. Trickle Irrigation
10. Design And Operation Of Systems


Duration: 100 hours



  • Identify and consult appropriate sources of information for the irrigation industry.
  • Explain the significance of soil characteristics to irrigation.
  • Determine when to irrigate in a small scale situation.
  • Explain the drainage aspect of handling water.
  • Explain the operation and selection of irrigation systems.
  • Explain the operation and selection of trickle irrigation systems.
  • Determine specifications for the design of an irrigation system.
  • Explain the pumps and filters needed for handling water adequately for crops.
  • Supervise the installation of an irrigation system.
  • Design and operate an irrigation system for crops.


“Whilst sharing similarities with other irrigation courses, this highly functional and practical course also has a specific focus on the irrigation of crops. It will be of interest to anyone who grows, or who wishes to grow, crops whether on a large or small scale. All aspects of irrigation from system types and design to pumps and filters are discussed, in light of soil characteristics, drainage, and plant requirements.”  - Gavin Cole B.Sc.,  Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor.

Erosion Management and Irrigation go Hand in Hand

The wrong type of irrigation can cause soil erosion and other soil problems. Properly managed though, irrigation will not only grow better crops, but can also reduce the risk of erosion.

ing to irrigate; you are doing something that would not be happening naturally; and as such, it is important you fully understand and manage the implications of your actions.

Erosion is a natural occurence has been going on through most of Earth's history and has given us our river valleys and shaped our hills and mountains. Such erosion is generally slow however the action of humans caused a rapid expansion in the rate at which soil is eroded. This has resulted in a number of adverse effects including the loss of productive soil from crop and grazing land, layers of infertile soils being deposited on formerly fertile crop lands, the formation of gullies, silting of lakes and streams, and massive land slips. Humans have the capacity for major destruction of our landscape and soil resources. Hopefully we also have the ability to prevent and overcome these problems.

Water Erosion
Several types of water erosion are common in our landscapes. These are:

  • Sheet erosion -occurs where a fairly uniform layer of soil is removed from an entire surface. This is caused by splash from raindrops, with the loosened soil generally transported in rills and gullies.
  • Rill erosion  - occurs where water runs in very small channels over the soil surface, with the water itself causing the abrading effect of the transported soil particles, resulting in deeper incisions of the channels into the soil surface. Losses consist mainly of surface soil.
  • Gully erosion  - occurs when rills flow together to make larger streams. They tend to become deeper with successive flows of water and can become major obstacles to cultivation. Gullies only stabilise when their bottoms become level with their outlets.
  • Bank erosion – occurs during floods when large quantities of fast-flowing water cut into the banks besides streams and rivers. Soil removed from the banks is deposited downstream or in ocean outfalls, cause major destruction to property such as buildings, roads and bridges.





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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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