Application of Variable- Speed Pumps in Design and Operation of on- Demand Irrigation Systems

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Former M.Sc. Student, Irrigation Structures, University of Tehran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Irrigation and Reclamation, University of Tehran


In most irrigation systems in our country, the pumping stations are equipped with fixed
speed pumps. These pumps in addition to causing water waste, demand extra energy.
Providing a method for adjusting the pumps to function according to obligations of
operation can improve efficiency of water distribution as well as energy efficiency. One
of the choices toward this aim, is to employ the variable speed pumps which adjust with
the variable demand of system. In this study, by coding in MATLAB software, design of
pumping stations equipped with variable- speed pumps was done for a drip irrigation
system. Then with regard to variable demand of discharge and pressure during irrigation
season, the designed system was evaluated and compared with some ordinary operation
methods based on constant speed pumps. The results show that the performance of
variable- speed pumps to supply the pressure head and discharge is largely definitely
acceptable; while water losses in ordinary pumping stations, depending on the type of
station, amount to from 16 to 36 percent.


Main Subjects

Aghabeygi, V. and Aghabeygi, A. (2009). Technical and Economical Comparison of two Irrigation system. 3rd water and waste water conference. March 14-16 ,Iran. Tehran. (In Persian)
Diaz, J. A. R., Luque, R. L., Cobo, M. T. C., Montesinos, P., and Poyato, E. C. (2009). Exploring energy saving scenarios for on-demand pressurized irrigation networks, Biosyst Eng, 104:552–561.
Evans, R., Sneed, R. E., and Hunt, J. H. (1996). Pumping plant performance evaluation. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Publ AG 452-6.
Fazeli, M., Soltanzadeh, A., Sangroody, A., and Hossein pour, kh. (2008). Economical Evaluation of installing variable speed pumps in water distribution networks. 3rd water and waste water conference. December 8-10, Tehran. (In Persian)
Fazeli, M., Soltanzadeh, A., Sangroody, A., and Khosravi, M. (2009). Performance of variable Speed pump in decreasing water distribution network events. The First National Conference on Engineering and Management of Infrastructures. September 13-15, Tehran. Iran, (In Persian)
Fulai, Y. and Hexu, S. (2011). Optimal Control in Variable speed Pumping Stations. Proceedings of the IEEE. International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation. August 7-10. Beijing. China.
Gibson, H. (1994). Variable Speed Drives as Flow Control Elements. ISA Transactions, 33: 165-169.
Lamaddalena, N. and Khila, S. (2012). Energy Saving with Variable Speed Pumps in on-demand Irrigation Systems. Irrigation Science, 30:157–166.
Lamaddalena, N. and Sagardoy, J. A. (2000). Performance analysis of on-demand pressurized irrigation systems. FAO, Rome. Irrig drain paper, N°59.
Moreno, M. A., Planells, P., Co´rcoles, J. I., Tarjuelo, J. M., and Carrio´n, P. A. (2009). Development of a New Methodology to Obtain the Characteristic Pump Curves that Minimize the Total Cost at Pumping Stations. Biosystems Engineering, 102: 95–105.
Tolvanen, J. (2008). Saving energy with variable-speed drives. World Pumps, 501:32–33.
Volk, M. (2005). Pump Characteristics and Applications. Chapter six, 2nd Edition. Taylor and Francis Group. LLC. 373-395.