Qualification - Certificate in Irrigation Management

Course CodeVAG041
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

Learn to Manage the Water Requirements of Plants

What you learn in this course may be applied to different settings such as: 

  • Crop Production
  • Ornamental Gardens
  • Plant Nurseries
  • Sports grounds
  • Green Walls, Roofs and Hydroponics

The irrigation certificate course enables you to complete six modules of study in the field of irrigation. Water is an important resource that should not be wasted and this certificate enables you to focus on the areas of  horticulture and agriculture. This 600-hour course differs from many others in that it also considers water conservation and management. 



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Certificate in Irrigation Management.
 Workshop I BGN103
 Irrigation Management (Horticulture) BHT305
 Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
 Soil Management (Crops) BHT303
 Water Conservation And Management BEN302
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 1 of the following 3 modules.
 Irrigation (Agricultural) BAG213
 Irrigation (Crops) BHT204
 Irrigation (Gardens) BHT210

Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Irrigation Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


  • Explain the significance of soil in irrigation.
  • Explain how to determine when to irrigate in a small scale situation.
  • Manage irrigation in a given situation.
  • Explain the significance of different aspects of moving water including: drainage, pumps, filters, storage and recirculation.
  • Select an appropriate irrigation system for a given situation.
  • Explain the principles of design for a simple irrigation system.
  • Design a simple irrigation system.
  • Oversee the installation of an irrigation system.

What You Will Do

  • 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 (e.g. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Water is one of the most important substances on earth; all living things must have water to survive.  However, only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is ‘unavailable’ for our use: trapped in glaciers, ice, or deep underground.  Fresh water is scarce and this scarcity is growing as world population increases and patterns of change in demand and supply occur. Rapid urbanisation, climate change and variability, expanding agriculture and industry and land clearing, are all contributing factors, and competitors, for limited water resources. It is estimated that with the expanding world population and with improvements to standards of living, that the planet’s current water resources will not meet our needs within 35 years when it is estimated that the world’s population will have reached the 9 billion mark.  

Problems with water supply are often due to wasteful use of water, and wasteful treatment of water characterized by poor management systems, improper financial incentives to improve and failure to apply existing and new technologies. This is often coupled with an out-of-date approach - focussing on developing new supplies (e.g. new dams, new boreholes, and desalinisation) rather than improving our existing water conservation and water-use efficiency.

Water management generally focuses on supply of potable water for drinking and other household uses or its use by agriculture, industry and mining.  Recently, greater emphasis has also been placed on providing sufficient stream flows to maintain environmental health of the stream itself. These are called ‘environmental flows’.

Water management is also concerned with management of runoff in the catchment, whether this is urban or rural.  Water is diverted as quickly as possible into gutters, drains, streams etc. during normal rain events (stormwater) and/or managing large amounts of water that overflow during major rain events. Wastewater management is also crucial, managing the collection of polluted waste from homes, businesses, farms etc. and ensuring this is ‘cleaned’ to a certain standard before being discharged into sewerage systems, drains, agricultural land, storage pits and so on, or into waterways.

New approaches also suggest that all wastewater is treatable and reusable and that this may be the future of sustainable water management. The world is very close to moving away from an expansionary, engineering approach i.e. building more and more water holding structures, to a more bureaucratic system that addresses the way water is used, treated and costed: evaluates water sources (there is always variability in availability and quality), places a value on it according to its use, identifies and targets users (including ecosystems that are dependent on water for their survival) and administers resource allocation. In order for a bureaucratic system such as this to be sustainable though, it will require huge changes in public policy and financial commitment and investment.

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