Build Your Own Hydro-Powered Vegetable Irrigation System with This Guide

Follow this guide to build your own hydro-powered irrigation system.
Christopher McFadden

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If you love to grow your own food but are fed up with constantly having to water by hand, then this little project is exactly what you've been looking for. Using some basic tools and materials, you too can make your own hydro-powered irrigation system.

Follow this guide to find out how.

diy irrigation system complete
Source: Construction General/YouTube

As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.

Materials and gear needed

With all your gear in hand, it is time to get on with this great little build. 

Step 1: Prepare the ground

The first step is to prepare the ground to build a basic dam. Dig a trench, and excavate the trench for the foundations of the dam. 

Once complete, mix up your cement/concrete and build up the dam by laying a few courses of bricks. You don't need to be too clean with your brickwork as you'll be skimming over the lot once complete.

Mark out the position of the main opening for the hydropower sluice once you reach that level in the brickwork, and then continue to build up the dam. 

diy dam irrigation system bricks
Source: Construction General/YouTube

Once you've reached the full height of the desired dam, skim all exposed brick surfaces with cement as needed. 

With the dam complete, dig a series of stepped trenches "downstream" from the dam. Make sure each step is at a lower level than the preceding one. Once done, construct a pillar to support what will be the water sluice from the dam. 

Skim the pillar as needed.

diy dam irrigation pillar
Source: Construction General/YouTube

Step 2: Build the main sluice

With the main ground complete, grab a length of wood and cut to the length and shape needed to form the base of the main sluice. Lay into position, add supports, and then build a basic frame for the sluice using scrap metal rods and wire.

Add the end of the sluice to create the main vortex assembly using a length of plastic pipe and wooden sheet, as shown.

diy dam irrigation sluice
Source: Construction General/YouTube

Pour and level cement within the sluice frame. While the sluice dries, grab two more lengths of timber and build the frame for the sluice gate on the reservoir-side of the dam.

Once the cement has cured, remove all framing pieces from the sluice to expose the cement. Then lay a few courses of bricks around the outside perimeter of the sluice.

Skim the bricks as needed.

diy dam irrigation system sluice 1
Source: Construction General/YouTube

With that done, build a basic retractable sluice gate using either scrap metal or wood and install it on the dam as needed. You may want to consider motorizing the gate so it can be raised and lowered remotely. 

Step 3: Build the main hydropower generator and irrigation system

Using old pieces of uPVC piping and funnels, create the main housing for the hydropower generator impellor. 

With that done, create an impeller using scraps of uPVC piping, or use something similar. 

dam irrigation hydro impeller
Source: Construction General/YouTube

With that done, rig up your mini-dynamo to the impeller assembly ready for installation into the main sluice. 

Next, take some more lengths of uPVC pipe and build the main irrigation system and sprinklers. You may want to watch the video carefully for more details on this section. 

Once done, drill a series of holes where needed in the pipework to allow water to exit the pipework and irrigate your plants.

Step 4: Complete the build

First, install the hydropower generator at the end of the main sluice. 

diy dam irrigation hydrgenerator
Source: Construction General/YouTube

Wire up the dynamo as needed, and create a series of mini pylons to transfer the electricity to the irrigation system. 

With that done, lay out your irrigation system and sprinklers as needed. 

diy irrigation system pipes
Source: Construction General/YouTube

Once done, flood the main reservoir of the dam. Next, take your old water pump, connect it to the main irrigation pipework, and wire it up to the main hydroelectric wiring system. 

With the done, your hydropower dam and irrigation system are now complete. Open the sluice gate and watch your hard work, well work.

diy dam irrigation system pump
Source: Construction General/YouTube

If you enjoyed this build, you might want to build another dam-related project

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