Norsa, Eswatini

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Project specifications


Near the town of Siphofaneni, Eswatini
(358723.60 m E, 7042211.20 m S)



Completion date

Phase 1: October 2019
Phase 2: August 2020
Phase 3: August 2021 (estimated)


1100 Ha


  • 25 Centre pivots
  • 6 Pumps stations
  • 2 Distribution dams
  • Agrico Web Control automation

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Project challenges

The project used the lower Usuthu River as a water source, a sandy river that fluctuates in level during the day. With an elevation difference of more than 160 m from water source to the highest centre pivots, a large number for an irrigation system, the Norsa project’s biggest challenge revolves around energy efficiency.

Moreover, because of the uneven topography of the farm, each pivot circle has a significant elevation difference within itself – up to 35 m for some! As a result, the required pressure at the centre of each pivot can vary significantly with its position in the field, while also increasing the risk of burst pipes and water hammer.

The Agrico solution

To reduce energy costs for the complete irrigation system, each centre pivot was isolated and supplied by its own pump and pipeline, and each pump equipped with a variable speed drive (VSD). Agrico Web Control automates the entire system. By reading the pressure at the pivot and communicating it to the VSD, the pump and motor increase and decrease speed as the pivot requires more or less pressure. In this way, the Web Control system allows the pump to supply the pivot with just the correct amount of pressure as it moves over the changing ellevations, saving huge amounts of energy.

The team also incorporated large sprayers on the remaining areas between circles to cover the full plantable area. These sprayers carry water from the centres of the pivots and irrigate when the pivots are standing idle. Again, Agrico Web Control is used to control the pumps on the big guns. This remote control system allows the farmer to manually set the required pressure on a pump for each remaining zone, again saving energy.

Finally, numerous air valves and one-way valves were installed to eliminate pipes bursting and water hammer due to the uneven terrain. The complete project was designed, supplied and installed by the Agrico team.

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