In even the most well-laid out plans, things do not always proceed as expected. This is true of many industrial applications, including those involving irrigation pumps. These machines can experience a number of different problems that stop them from working the way they should. Below, we provide an overview of four of the most common causes of irrigation pump issues.

1. Insufficient Water Supply

High Volume Agricultural Water PumpsNo or low water supply can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is a partially or fully plugged strainer at the water source. This clog can be formed by waste, weeds, debris, and other organic and inorganic materials drawn into the intake. Some of the other factors that can contribute to insufficient water supply include:

  • Low water levels at the water source
  • Pipeline blockage or damage

Regardless of the reason for low or no water supply, the condition can cause cavitation in traditional irrigation pumps. This, in turn, can lead to pitting in the pump’s components, which reduces the efficiency, weakens the structural integrity, and shortens the life expectancy of the system.  This is not a factor for GATOR Pumps as the impeller design is not impacted by cavitation and its resultant damage.  Our pumps only require sufficient submergence for water-lubricated bearings:  the cavitation vortex is not a problem for our pumps.

You can avoid these issues by regularly checking for signs of insufficient water supply. If you notice the intake is clogged or the water level is low, take steps to resolve the conditions before they can damage the pump. Using a strainer designed to prevent material from getting sucked in can also help prevent these issues. We also build intake cage guards to shield the impeller inlet from floating debris.

2. Inadequate Power

Irrigation systems are generally located at the end of a power grid. Since the pump is the system component that draws the largest amount of power from the grid, it is the first to suffer if and when power problems occur.

In soft power grids, the voltage drops when a load is introduced. As the voltage continues to drop, the amperage drawn from the system increases. This will continue until the system faults for low voltage, which can cause damage to or failure in connected equipment.

Consider a specialty pump with stronger power drives for specialized projects that require a higher voltage. The type of power source that your pump operates on can have a drastic impact on the efficiency of the pump. Also, consider the material you’re working with to optimize your pump’s performance; for example, PTO pumps are best-suited for job sites where you have to move around, while diesel and electric power are preferred for projects that are stationary but require more power.

3. Dirty Water

sludge coming out of sludge pumpWhile larger particles can cause clogging issues in irrigation pumps, smaller particles can cause abrasion issues in irrigation pumps. Water laden with small particulates (e.g., sand and silt) is highly abrasive. It can cause damage to the interior surfaces of the pump and connected equipment, resulting in reduced efficiency and shortened life expectancy. If the water has high/low pH or chemical contaminants, it can cause corrosion, which further shortens the service life of the pump component.

For these reasons, it is important for the pump designer and manufacturer to choose the construction material for the pump carefully. It should be appropriate for the water quality, whether it is clean and clear or contains particles and chemicals. For projects that involve the transportation of dirty and/or dense water, we highly recommend visiting our sludge & slurry pumps page for more information.

4. Poor System Design

Irrigation pumps come in many designs, each of which is suitable for different purposes and uses. While a design may be perfect for one application, it may be terrible for another application. It is vital to select the right pump system design for the given irrigation application. Several customizable features include:

  • Discharge Lines
    • Left-side
    • Right-side
    • Overhead
    • Angled
    • Swivel/Regular stationary
  • Mounting
    • Vertical Mounts
    • Horizontal Mounts
    • Floating Mounts
  • Materials
    • Hardened Steel
    • Stainless Steel
    • Mild Steel
  • Power sources
    • Frame-mounted engines
    • Tractors
    • Power take-offs (PTO)
    • Hydraulics
    • Electric motor mounted
    • Standalone engine power carts

The components must work together to maintain the proper pressure under the expected flow conditions. Custom-design irrigation pumps are the most suitable for specialized projects.

Quality Irrigation Pumps from GATOR Pump

Water irrigation pumps are essential for agricultural applications worldwide. However, even with careful planning, you may eventually run into some operational problems. To learn more about irrigation pumps and how to avoid the problems they commonly experience, contact the experts at GATOR Pump today. We provide high-quality pumps for various industries and applications, including agricultural operations. For more information on our product offerings and how they can benefit your pumping needs, request a quote.