Job Position

Irrigation Engineer

Irrigation engineers work on larger or more complicated agriculture irrigation projects or in states that require plans be approved by an engineer. Engineers analyze existing site surveys, conduct research and identify potential water source and environmental problems. They design irrigation systems that meet all requirements and comply with all regulations. Irrigation engineers develop cost estimates and environmental impact studies, identify and apply for outside funding, and are actively involved in construction on the job site.


  • Meet with clients to discuss project objectives, budget and other requirements.
  • Review environmental assessments, survey reports, maps, drawings, aerial photography, and other topographical and geologic data.
  • Analyze soil type, drainage and conservation problems; climate characteristics; water supply and flow; and other environmental conditions to identify engineering problems and assess project’s potential impact.
  • Help identify and apply for funding from government programs and water districts.
  • Plan projects to transport and distribute irrigation water, including dams, canals and ditches.
  • Design efficient and cost-effective irrigation systems that meet all requirements.
  • Prepare site plans, specifications, cost estimates and environmental impact assessment.
  • Monitor job site progress and ensure compliance with design specifications and environmental, safety and other government regulations.

Education & Experience

  • Four-year bachelor’s degree in engineering required; master’s degree in engineering preferred.
  • Five years civil or structural engineering and irrigation experience required; field experience in agriculture irrigation installation preferred.
  • Proficiency with AutoCAD or other design and geographic information systems (GIS) software.
  • Recommended certification: Professional Engineer (PE), state engineering license, Certified Agricultural Irrigation Specialist (CAIS), Certified Irrigation Designer (CID), Technical Service Provider (TSP), Certified Conservation Planner (CCP).


  • $65,000 – $85,000*

*Irrigation industry compensation information is based on reporting by Irrigation Association members, industry recruiters, online job postings and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation varies by candidate experience and job location. This data is provided for information only and does not represent a guarantee or commitment by the Irrigation Foundation.

Possible career path: Irrigation Manager