Tailwater Recovery

Recovering tailwater from irrigation and runoff from rainfall for reuse in subsequent irrigation events is becoming increasingly popular especially in geographical areas designated as critical groundwater.

A tailwater recovery system is a planned, systematic irrigation system that allows for the collection, storage, control, movement, and reuse of runoff water from previous irrigation or stormwater runoff events. The NRCS offers financial assistance via the MRBI and EQIP programs to design and install a system. It offers many long-term benefits including:

  • Greater control and flexibility of water supply for irrigation
  • Reduced groundwater dependence and energy costs from pumping
  • Reduced off-farm impacts on water quality by capturing sediment and nutrient losses in runoff

Tailwater recover irrigation ditch

A tailwater system has several components involving other conservation practices that are eligible for financial assistance including:

  • A drainage recovery pit at the bottom of a field, Practice Code, 447
  • Surface drainage piping, main and laterals, Practice Code 608
  • Conveyance ditches from recovery pit to storage reservoir, Practice Code 607
  • Storage reservoir, Practice Code 436
  • Pumping plants, Practice Code 533
  • Irrigation pipeline, Practice Code 430

These components may include but are not limited to: ditches, culverts, pipelines, water control and/or grade stabilization structures, or other erosion control measures, as needed.

For more information, contact your local conservation district.

– Mike Daniels