and surge irrigation has improved the efficiency of flood irrigation. Flooding is no longer considered to be the most efficient method of irrigation. In Central Oregon, it is generally about 30 to 45% efficient, depending on how much time the land owner spends controlling the water flow and the soil type and depth.
In more modern times, land owners have adopted the sprinkler method of irrigation. Sprinkler systems include sprinkler guns, hand lines, line pods, wheel lines, linears and pivots. There is also the drip system. All these systems vary in efficient water use and control. These systems do allow one to irrigate areas unreachable by the flood method. Sprinkler irrigation efficiencies vary between 55 to 95%, and drip irrigation can approach 100% efficient. The downside of sprinkler irrigation is the cost of the irrigation equipment and the energy cost of running the equipment. Agricultural soil erosion and pollution are controlled by applying irrigation water uniformly and efficiently. Irrigation water should be applied to crops at rates consistent with soil characteristics and in accordance with crop needs. Irrigation scheduling techniques include knowing climate data for your location.
Deschutes County Rural Living Handbook