Updated Jul 10, 2019

Flexible Rain Gun Irrigation

Part of University of California, Davis

A system of minimizing pipes required to irrigate and reducing the labor of setting up sprinkler sets.


Abraham Salomon

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

This system has been implemented in one site in Eastern Uganda and can be scaled up to other sites in the region.

Focus Areas:

Water Management and Agriculture Water Management

Water Management and Agriculture Water ManagementSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Verified Funding


Fixed sprinkler sets require a large amount of pipes which is very costly for smallholders, and moveable sets require large amount of labor to move to different plots. Women especially have voiced concern that the labor difficulty of moving pipes excludes them from using these systems.



This system uses a grid of pipe that maximizes distance between laterals, and has a number of take-off points along the length where users can connect a flexible pipe to a single large sprinkler. This is easily set up anywhere in the field and can provide targeted irrigation to smaller portions of the field as well as irrigating large areas.

Target Beneficiaries

Smallholder farmers using small engine pumps

Mission and Vision

To reduce investment cost of pressurized irrigation systems and reduce labor in using sprinkler irrigation systems

Innovation Description

This system minimizes pipe by setting large lateral distances, and uses a flexible pipe connected to a large sprinkler that can be set anywhere in the field. A mainline is set down the center of the field, up to the maximum distance allowed based on the elevation profile and pressure/flow character of the pump. Lateral pipes are set perpendicular to the mainline at spacing of 60 meters. Take off points are installed in the laterals at distances of 15 - 25 meters. A length of 15 meters of flexible pipe (e.g. wire-reinforced PVC) is attached to the base of a rain gun sprinkler with tripod. This tripod is then set wherever irrigation is desired in the field and the system can be run. A single individual can easily move the sprinkler to the desired location and run the system.

Competitive Advantage

The system requires far less pipe per unit area than fixed sprinkler sets and requires less labor than most movable systems.

The Team Behind the Innovation

Kate Scow- Professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis Helen Acuku- Program Manager, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Betty Ikalany - Executive Director, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Abraham Salomon - Project manager of 'Innovations in Dry Season Horticulture' in Uganda.



Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In