University of Florida

ABE 4231C
Irrigation and Drainage Engineering

Semester Taught - Fall

Catalog Description

Credits: 4

 Irrigation & drainage systems design including pump sizing & specification, water distribution systems, plant water requirement, drainage systems, & flood  control.


Prerequisite: ABE 3212C. Co-requisites: CWR 3201 or EGN 3353C

Course Objectives

  • Understand the hydrologic cycle, principles and processes necessary to effectively manage water resources through well designed drainage and irrigation systems.
  • Apply appropriate techniques and analyses to the effective design of both irrigation and drainage systems.
  • Design, test, and analyze agricultural irrigation and drainage systems and their components.
  • Enhance communication skills, and impart a sense of professional, ethical and societal responsibility gained through knowledge and discussion of contemporary issues.

Contributions of Course to Meeting the Professional Component for ABET

This course contributes 4 credit hours toward meeting the minimum 48 credit hours of Engineering Topics in the basic-level curriculum for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

Relationship of Course to Program Outcomes

From the list of (a) through (k) program outcomes listed below, this course addresses outcomes (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (j) and (k). Of these, (a), (b), (c), (e), (g), (h), (j) and (k) are assessed.

ABET Program Outcomes

  • (a) Apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • (b) Design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data
  • (c) Design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs
  • (d) Function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • (e) Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • (f) Understand professional and ethical responsibilities
  • (g) Communicate effectively
  • (h) Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context
  • (i) Recognize the need for, and engage in life long learning
  • (j) Understand contemporary engineering issues
  • (k) Use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice


Richard V. Scholtz, III
Office Location: 107 Frazier Rogers Hall
Telephone: (352) 392-1864 x107
Class web site:

 Material/Supply Fees


Class Materials Required

Textbooks Required

  • D.D. Fangmeier, W.J. Elliot, S.R. Workman, R.L. Huffman, and G.O. Schwab. 2006. Soil and Water Conservation Engineering, Fifth Edition. Thomson Delmar Learning. Clifton Park, NY. 552 pages.
  • NCEES. 2008. FE Supplied-Reference Handbook, Eighth Edition. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Clemson, SC. 258 pages. ($18 @
  • NCEES approved calculator.
  • USB Flash Drive (≥1 GB).
  • Ring Binder (≥2 inch).
  • Access to Microsoft Office 2007 or compatible Office Suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation programs compatible with the *.docx, *.xlsx and *.pptx formats).
  • Other handout material as it becomes available.

Recommended Reading

  • Butler, D. and J.W. Davies. 2004. Urban Drainage. Taylor & Francis, Inc. New York. 568 pages.
  • James, L.G. 1988. Principles of Farm Irrigation System Design. John Wiley and Sons. New York. 480 pages.
  • Jensen, M.E., Editor. 1980. Design and Operation of Farm Irrigation Systems. ASAE Monograph No. 3. Amer. Soc. Agric. Engr. St. Joseph, MI. 829 pages
  • Hoffman, G.J., T.A. Howell and K.H. Soloman. 1990. Management of Farm Irrigation Systems. Amer. Soc. Agric. Engr. St. Joseph, MI. 1040 pages.
  • Keller, J. and R.D. Bliesner. 1990. Sprinkle and Trickle Irrigation. Van Nostrand Reinhold. New York. 652 pages.
  • Nakayama, F.S. and D.A. Bucks. 1986. Trickle Irrigation for Crop Production: Design, Operation and Management. Developments in Agric. Engr. 9. Elsevier Press. New York. 383 pages.
  • Pair, C.H., Editor-in-Chief. 1983. Irrigation. 5th Edition. The Irrigation Assoc. Silver Springs, MD. 686 pages..
  • U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. 2005. Drainage Manual: A Guide to Integrating Plant, Soil, and Water Relationships for Drainage of Irrigated Lands. University Press of the Pacific. Honolulu, HI. 308 pages.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction and Mathematics
    • Common mathematical tools
    • Economy
  2. Soil-Plant-Water Relationships
    • Consumptive use and evapotranspiration
    • Nutrient and water requirements and use efficiencies
    • Water Management (scheduling)
  3. Natural Resources
    • Sources of water
    • Aquifers and wells
    • Water quality
    • Water quantity
    • Water law
  4. Hydrologic Cycle
    • Determining evapotranspiration
    • Determining rainfall
    • Determining infiltration
  5. Hydraulics
    • Water measurement
    • Friction loss
    • Pipe sizing
    • Pumps
    • Pump performance
    • Pump selection
  6. Irrigation
    • Type of irrigation systems
    • Performance of irrigation systems
    • Uniformity of water application
    • Efficiency
    • Design standards
    • General system components
    • Protecting municipal water supplies
    • Design criteria
    • Types of sprinkler systems
    • Sprinkler system components
    • Sprinkler system design
    • Microirrigation benefits and problems
    • Micro system components and aspects
    • Clogging control
    • Micro system design
    • Subirrigation (seepage) systems
    • Seepage methods
    • Seepage irrigation process
    • Design of seepage irrigation systems
  7. Land Forming
    • Surveying and spatial data
    • Maps and GIS
    • Watersheds
    • Land grading
    • Ditch and channel cuts
    • Impoundments
  8. Drainage
    • Surface field ditches
    • Steady state design
    • Nonsteady state design
    • Drain tubing aspects
    • Loads on underground conduits

Course Format

Formal lectures develop the theory and methods used in analysis and design. Example problems are presented in class. The laboratory section will be used to reinforce lecture and study materials through problem discussion, lab assignments, field trips, and guest speakers.

Attendance and Expectations

Attendance is required – Lectures will cover material from the text as well as material in other references, so it is imperative that students make every effort to attend classes and take good notes. Students are especially encouraged to ask questions during lectures.

All deliverables will comply with the requirements and due date specified at the time of assignment (no deliverable will be due earlier than 3 business days after assignment). No late deliverable will be accepted.

The student is expected to manage their time efficiently, and should anticipate spending three times the length of lectures studying and preparing deliverables outside the classroom. The student should focus on the following: assignments, preparing both design and laboratory reports, review of notes and lecture materials, and assigned readings.

This class will predominately utilize USCS units, though there is significant interaction with SI units. Mastery of both systems is required.

Announcement Policy

Students will be held responsible for all announcements made in class, which includes any and all changes to this syllabus and the course lecture schedule. Students are expected to attend all lectures and laboratory periods scheduled.


A C- will not be a qualifying grade for critical tracking courses.  In order to graduate, students must have an overall GPA and an upper-division GPA of 2.0 or better (C or better).  Note: a C- average is equivalent to a GPA of 1.67, and therefore, it does not satisfy this graduation requirement.  For more information on grades and grading policies, please visit:

  • 60% Examinations.
    There will be three exams, all equally weighted. The exams will be conducted in limited access manor. The only materials allowed during an exam are: necessary text books, reference manuals, course binder, NCEES approved calculator and writing implement. All loose material must be secured in the course binder before entering an exam.
  • 10% Laboratory Reports.
    Tentatively, there will be four laboratory assignments. Full experimental reports are required.
  • 10% Design Tools.
    Tentatively, there will be four to six spreadsheet assignments to solve design problems. Full explanations are required.
  • 10% Executive Summaries.
    There will be four to eight field trip/guest speaker executive summaries, equally weighted.
  • 5% Digital Portfolio and Student Self Assessments.
    Students will be required to maintain digital copies of all materials for their digital portfolio. Student will also periodically set personal course goals and will periodically fill out self-evaluation forms monitoring their performance.
  • 5% Presentations.
    Each student is required to investigate (in literature) new equipment, research, or management application that could be beneficial to practicing engineers and to systems managers.
  • 0% Homework Assignments.
    Assignment will be assigned and answers will be supplied. Though homework assignments have no credit value, students will be required to understand and formulate the solutions to all problems assigned.
A 91-100% C 71-76%
A- 89-90% C- 69-70%
B+ 87-88% D+ 67-68%
B 81-86% D 61-66%
B- 79-80% D- 59-60%
C+ 77-78% E <60%

Make-up Grade Policy

The arrangements for-make up examinations or any assignments should be made before the date in question unless there is an emergency situation. In which, reviews will be on a case by case basis.

Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty

As a student at the University of Florida, you have committed yourself to uphold the Honor Code, which includes the following pledge: “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.”  You are expected to exhibit behavior consistent with this commitment to the UF academic community, and on all work submitted for credit at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." 
It is assumed that you will complete all work independently in each course unless the instructor provides explicit permission for you to collaborate on course tasks (e.g. assignments, papers, quizzes, exams). Furthermore, as part of your obligation to uphold the Honor Code, you should report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. It is your individual responsibility to know and comply with all university policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and the Student Honor Code.  Violations of the Honor Code at the University of Florida will not be tolerated. Violations will be reported to the Dean of Students Office for consideration of disciplinary action. For more information regarding the Student Honor Code, please see:  

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations of students with disabilities. This includes registering disabilities, recommending academic accommodations within the classroom, accessing special adaptive computer equipment, providing interpretation services and mediating faculty-student disability related issues.

0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,  

Software Use

All faculty, staff and student of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Campus Helping Resources

Students experiencing crises or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to utilize the university’s counseling resources. The Counseling & Wellness Center provides confidential counseling services at no cost for currently enrolled students. Resources are available on campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career or academic goals, which interfere with their academic performance.

  • University Counseling & Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, 352-392-1575,

    Counseling Services
    Groups and Workshops
    Outreach and Consultation
    Self-Help Library
    Training Programs
    Community Provider Database

  • Career Resource Center, First Floor JWRU, 392-1601,