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Dam It: Flood Irrigation Options

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Farming with irrigation dams is quite common in arid environments. This method involves running water through ditches alongside your fields. The dams allow you to direct the water where it's needed. So what are the options available to make this work?


First let's talk material. There are generally two options: polyethylene and neoprene. Poly irrigation dams are manufactured in a similar manner to poly tarps: an inner woven scrim of HDPE coated in LDPE laminate. Neoprene irrigation dams have an inner woven nylon mesh coated in synthetic rubber.

Polyethylene Pros and Cons

  • Pro: waterproof

  • Pro: a more affordable option

  • Pro: available in more than one material weight

  • Con: can lose its flexibility in the coldest of waters

Neoprene Pros and Cons

  • Pro: waterproof

  • Pro: retains its flexibility in the coldest of waters

  • Pro: difficult to accidentally cut with a shovel

  • Con: a more expensive option

Rolls vs Pre-Cut Segments

When purchasing irrigation dams, you also have the choice between buying the material by the roll or buying individual pieces. If you purchase a roll, you are committing to a specific depth, but you can cut the material to whatever width you need. It can be more affordable in the long run to buy in bulk in this manner. However, if you purchase individual pre-cut segments, you can more affordably mix and match depths, as each piece can be a different depth and width.

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