Irrigation and watering

The potential for water and metal to conduct electricity makes it important to take safety precautions when irrigating near power lines. Additionally, fertilizers and pesticides tend to increase the conductivity of water, making extra precautions necessary. Watering the lawn at your home or business is not problematic; however, you still must prevent a direct, solid stream of water from contacting a power line.

Can I irrigate my crops near transmission lines?

Yes, as long as you take these precautions:

  • Prevent a solid stream of water from hitting the wires. Equipment with nozzles that are small in diameter or spray a fine mist is typically not problematic because the solid part of the water stream will not reach the power line wires. Also, an intermittent spray of water will not conduct significant amounts of electricity. Even large diameter nozzles operating at their normal spray angle typically will not reach the wires with a solid stream.However, at no time should the solid part of a water stream touch power line wires. Should that happen, turn the water off by switching the pump off before trying to correct the problem. It is recommended that large nozzles be at least 150 feet from the outside wires of power lines.
  • Make sure the irrigation system is well grounded. If you have questions as to whether or not your irrigation system is adequately grounded, contact your local electric utility or Great River Energy.
  • Do not let irrigation pipes touch power lines. Each system should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis; questions regarding the installation and operation of an irrigation system adjacent to or under a power line should be directed to your electric utility or Great River Energy.
  • DO NOT install long lengths of pipe parallel and adjacent to transmission lines. They should be laid out at right angles to power lines, if possible, to reduce risk of the pipes building up an induced charge.
  • Be careful when moving the pipes. When unloading irrigation pipes, stay at least 50 feet from power lines to avoid any chance of raising them too close to the wires.

Can I water my lawn near power lines?

Most precautions regarding watering apply to commercial or large-scale irrigation, such as for agricultural use. Again, you must prevent a direct, solid stream of water from contacting the transmission line when you are sprinkling your lawn, but other than that, there are no limitations that apply to residential use.