Tailwater Return Pipes

The pipe size needed for pumping back tailwater to be reused will depend on the flow rate of the return pump. Pressure loss due to friction within the pipes will also be a deciding factor, with a general rule of 5 feet per second being the maximum velocity ideal for pipe flow. More pressure loss means you'll require more energy in order to pump water at a sufficient rate.  Here, a balance must be found between low initial cost and long-term upkeep.

PVC pipes are most commonly found in return flow pipelines, though uncoated PVC pipes require a layer of earth above them to protect them from UV degradation. Steel pipes or other corrugated metals are typically used in above-ground sections. Portable solutions can come in lighter materials, like aluminum, to be used in circulating or mobile units. Cast-in-situ concrete can also be used in stable, strong soil, where half of the circumference of the pipe is buried.

The overall capacity of your return pipeline and pumping system will be determined by the following:

  • The flow rate of runoff entering and exiting the pond
  • The overall capacity of the pond to hold sedimentation deposits.
  • Your management solution: i.e., is this water going to supply a field on its own? Or join other water sources to work in tandem?

The Power Source

Motors for return flow pumps can come in either electrical or diesel forms. An electric motor is easily autonomous, widely available, and relatively cheap to maintain. Diesel engines can be a more affordable option in some cases, although regional air quality regulations may be a consideration. Electric bills and meter and installation prices versus the price of diesel and maintenance costs are constantly competing, making the cheaper choice hard to identify. Diesel engines are typically turned on and off manually and automating this process can add some to the cost.

Maintaining Your Tailwater

Design a maintenance and operation plan that follows guidelines set by the manufacturer of your installed parts. Periodic and thorough observation or testing of these systems is an essential part of water savings.

  • Cleaning and checking on flow lines functionality at water collection points
  • Removal of debris from screens or filters
  • Sediment removal from traps and storage units
  • Pipeline testing or inspection
  • Observation or inspection of all mechanical or electrical components
  • A yearly analysis of on-site agricultural waste found in irrigation run-off in order to adjust system requirements and eliminate harmful pathogens

A Brighter, Wetter Future

Mankind has long been defined by the accomplishments and evolutions grown on our farms and our food supply. As the world changes, we face different conditions than our grandparents ever confronted. Today, landowners can prepare by upgrading their water reserves and irrigation designs, reconsidering what they produce, and positioning themselves towards the lifelong commitment to learning and adaptation that the future will demand.

Optimizing systems, improving your tools of measurement and monitoring, and becoming more involved in the specifics of your field will provide a much more direct hand in managing the consequences of drought. However, all of these opportunities require capital in order to invest in new equipment, better materials, and the labor necessary to make improvements. We are pouring more and more public resources into our farmers and conservation efforts as the consequences of drought and environmental changes begin to touch more of our lives. Local resources will have access to conservation officers who can visit a particular site to help design improvement plans alongside a landowner. Having these improvements approved by local authority provides much wider access to financial and practical resources to help make these advancements a reality.

Additionally, BTL is committed to working alongside landowners who have dreams for the future and need help bringing them to life. Our team of experts are available for consultation at any time, and are happy to answer questions, make suggestions, or point curious farmers towards valuable resources. 


Liners by BTL

AquaArmor Pond Liner

The most versatile liner on the market today, AquaArmor maximizes protection from harmful UV rays, tear resistance and punctures that cause leaks. Simply the best liner on the market.

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