Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Eisenhauer, D. E., Martin, D. L, Heeren, D. M. & Hoffman, G. J. (2021). Irrigation Systems Management, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. doi:10.13031/ISM.2021,


The following pages are a short sample of Irrigation Systems Management, an open educational resource published by ASABE. For the entire textbook, along with related instructor resources, go to:

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0,


Management of irrigation systems should be based on the desired objectives or outcomes consistent with economic, energy, environmental, labor, water, and resource constraints. Goals can vary from maximizing profit, producing a contracted yield, optimizing water resource use, maintaining the quality of produce, or assuring an attractive landscape. Managers cannot achieve these goals without considering the performance of the irrigation system. This chapter discusses the basic characteristics of various irrigation systems, defines terms that quantify performance, describes basic requirements all systems must provide, gives a range of attributes for systems, and discusses how water supply requirements are governed by ET and system characteristics. Detailed characteristics of specific systems are presented in later chapters. The key here is to understand the basic systems and their relative performance.