Do Irrigation Designers Need To Be Certified?

May 27, 2021 | Agriculture, Commercial Landscapes, Domestic Gardens, Retirement Villages, Turf

Does an irrigation designer have to be certified? No, But we choose to be  (using the term “we” loosely)

Richard Jolly is our in-house Certified Irrigation Designer (CID) – And he is a gun, one of those guys that can do the theoretical and practical. He can sit at a computer for 12 hours, and then be digging a hole with a shovel the next day, then be working out how many millimetres to shave off a pump impeller to increase pump performance.

I (Adrian  Walsh) still design irrigation systems (under Richards watchful eye). For me becoming a certified irrigation designer is a goal that I am working on. I have been meticulously studying the material and let me tell you It has been a humbling experience. 

I have designed systems for over 9 years and my systems work well, I use CAD programs and all of the available calculators to work out hydraulics, distribution uniformity, scheduling coefficients etc etc and then Richard and I run through my design to cross check my work.

But let me tell you the irrigation designer certification program is next level, mind blowing stuff, and there is no fudging your way through the program. It’s where you go beyond using the readily available manufacturer calculators and move towards learning how to use the formulas yourself to successfully design an irrigation system.

So why become certified as a designer when you don’t have to be?  

Because I think there are few other ways to prove to yourself (and others) that you really know what you are talking about when it comes to irrigation design. 

There is a training gap when it comes to this stuff. 

There is no Diploma/Adv Dip or Bachelor of Irrigation Design available 

When you are an irrigation designer you need to consider a lot when designing an irrigation system, 

There is no “one stop shop” (that I know of)  for learning irrigation design and having a high level practical working understanding of plant/soil/water relationships, hydraulics, plumbing compliance, water authority requirements, electrical requirements and CAD skills. For the most part, you need to go off on your own and learn these skills as “specialist subjects” and then bring them all back, tie them together and make each subject relevant to irrigation design.

Although the certification program doesn’t “train” you in irrigation design, It certainly tests you to ensure that you have all of the relevant skills and knowledge to successfully design an irrigation system.


The Certification program isn’t perfect but it’s the best we have available

I would love to see an intensive training program (in the metric system) for those who would like to become certified irrigation designers. A course that not only prepares you for the exam, but dives deeply into each relevant area of irrigation design. A course that produces excellent irrigation designers

Are there good designers that aren’t Certified Irrigation Designers?

Yes, I know of a number of very capable irrigation designers who are not certified. But I also question why someone wouldn’t get a certification if they had the relevant knowledge and all they had to do was sit a few exams to get the certification. 

Becoming certified also binds the designer to a code of ethics and to keep irrigation design certification a CID must submit CPD points, this ensures that the certified designer is remaining active in the industry.

Seeking a Certified Irrigation Designer to design your next irrigation system is your safest bet for a good horticultural outcome on your next project.

If we can help designing or consulting for the irrigation on your next project, please reach out to us

*Note – Ecostream has a CID in-house Richard Jolly. Adrian who wrote the article is not a Certified Irrigation Designer (yet) but is training under Richard Jolly. (although not certified as a designer, Adrian has completed training with irrigation Australia in commercial irrigation design, he also holds a diploma of irrigation and is a certified irrigation contractor)

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