Pumping Plant Performance and Testing

Pumping Plant Performance
Pumping water is expensive so ensuring the pumping plant is working efficiently is important. The cost to pump irrigation water depends on the type of energy used to power the pumping unit. Nationwide the cost for pumping irrigation water amounted to over $2.6 billion, with electricity used for 58% of the pump installations, diesel fuel at 25%, natural gas at 16%, and LP gas at 1%.
The cost to pump an acre-inch of water depends on:

  • The work produced by the pumping plant per unit of energy consumed,
  • The distance water is lifted from the groundwater aquifer or surface water source to the pump outlet,
  • The discharge pressure at the pump outlet,
  • The performance rating of the pumping plant, and
  • The cost of a unit of energy.

The accompanying fact sheet provides information and equations to calculate the pumping efficiency of pumping plants. It also provides comparisons between different fuel sources and the method for estimating the economics of repairs or fuel switching based on the estimated savings, cost of money and the repayment period.

For more on pumping efficiency, see:
> Fact Sheet 4: Calculating Pumping Efficiency & Pumping Plant Performance

Pumping Plant Testing
Pump plant testing evaluates the well and pump under different head pressure and flow rate conditions to determine the pumping characteristics and energy usage. The information collected can then be used to determine the pumping efficiency and the pumping cost compared to the efficiency and cost if the pumping plant met the Nebraska Pumping Plant Performance Criteria.
The accompanying fact sheet provides information on the frequency and cost of pumping plant testing, the equipment needed to perform a pumping plant test, and the method to do the test.

For more on pumping plant testing, see:
> Fact Sheet 5: Pumping Plant Testing Specifics