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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Creek water irrigation equipment info or sources - ?
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 21:32:30 -0500
Message-ID: <>

The easiest, though not the cheapest, is to get a shallow well
submersible pump and put it in the creek.  Run a suitable line to your
garden and enjoy.  A pressure switch is optional and a tank isn't
needed if you're going to leave the valves open and control the flow
with a power switch.

The pump needs to be completely submerged for cooling so if the creek
isn't deep enough, dig a suitable hole under the water, optionally
line it with large rocks and insert the pump.  Place a screen
(hardware cloth backing aluminum screen wire) over the pump inlet to
keep out the larger chunks.

Another alternative if you don't need to pump the water very far is a
submersible sump type pump.  These won't develop much head so the
distance capability is limited.  OTOH, they're cheap, light and fairly

A lower cost but more work option is a self-priming pump.  Check with
Northern Tool for several examples.  You'll need a foot valve and a
screen plus some suction line.  If the creek floods, set it on the
bank where you can remove it easily.  If it doesn't flood, notch out
the top of the bank to create a pad where the pump can sit.  This
lowers the suction head and keeps it out of sight of vandals and

Harbor Freight is another good place to look.  Get a 240 volt pump, as
the current draw is half that of a 120 volt pump of the same capacity.
I suggest going up one or two gauges over what the NEC recommends on
wire size.  The pump will thank you with longer life!

If the run is more than a couple hundred feet, consider overhead
service drop wire.  This is the overhead wire used by the utility to
bring your service drop to your house.  Check with your Co-op power
company.  Mine will give one spool ends just for the asking.  Just
string it through the trees and whatnot to get to the pump site.  This
stuff has very high quality, tough and weather proof insulation so you
can put it most anywhere.  I'd want to see no more than about a 10-15
volt drop in voltage at the pump terminals when the motor is running.

If it's a very long run and you don't plan on using it all that much
then you might consider a gas powered pump.  More expensive and more
maintenance but no need to supply power.  Don't get a trash pump, as
it won't have enough head (pressure) capability to pump through
reasonably sized piping.

Judging by some replies to this thread, someone must have suggested
asking permission from the government.  I like Adm Grace Hooper's
philosophy on this.  "Tis easier to apologize than to beg permission"
and the corollary, "If you don't ask you can't be told no."  If some
officious prick objects then you can always remove it.

If said officious prick materializes, there is an alternative.  Dig a
small pit (post hole digger, for example) on your property next to the
creek, a little deeper than the creek.  Then use a water jet to tunnel
a small tunnel between the creek and your pit.  Voila!  Instant water
access with no external evidence.  If your soil is very porous, you
might not even need the tunnel.

You can get tips designed to dig wells in soft soil using water
pressure.  All you'd need to do is hook this to your pump and use
creek water to supply it.  The better tips are self-propelled (small
jets pointing backwards.

After the passage is bored, scatter some large creek rocks around and
over the hole to keep big stuff away and to hide the hole's existence.

I used this technique, sometimes called a "stillwell" to access water
from a lake I own.  It completely hid the pump from potential vandals
and thieves and kept the worst of debris away from the pump.


On Sun, 22 Jan 2006 13:35:32 -0600, Wes/MO <>

>I'm interested in installing a creek irrigation set up.  I am looking
>for information of all kinds on this project - especially from those who
>have seen or used such a system - one pumping enough water to irrigate
>an approx. 1/4 acre vegetable garden.  Thanks!

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