Report in Interempresas about the macro irrigation project in Azerbaijan, reference publication in more than 50 professional sectors, recently published the news of the irrigation macroproject that Ingeobras develops in Azerbaijan.

Read the full story here.


“The project is currently at 80% completion rate.

Ingeobras participates in an ambitious irrigation macro-project in Tovuz (Azerbaijan)

Joaquín Murría, CEO of Ingeobras

As part of the economic diversification being carried out in Azerbaijan due to the fall in oil prices, this country has launched a pioneering project to convert 10,000 hectares of unirrigated land into irrigated land. Ingeobras, a Spanish company specialised in hydraulic engineering, has been selected to carry out this macro irrigation project valued at 90 million dollars (85.3 million euros), beating the other two selected companies, one American and the other Russian, in all aspects: technical, design, electrical, structural and hydraulic calculations. To date, no project of these characteristics has ever been carried out in Europe in one go. Ingeobras has been working since the end of 2016 to convert 10,000 hectares of land into irrigated land with a flow of 21,000 cubic metres per hour, where wheat and corn are to be grown.

1.- Background

After three years of work in Azerbaijan, all related to the world of water, Ingeniería de Obras Zaragoza (Ingeobras) was invited to a technical tender to carry out the necessary engineering for the most ambitious agricultural development project in the country’s history.

Works on the macro irrigation project in Tovuz (Azerbaijan).

The technical competition pitted an American company, which in turn supplied the complete irrigation system, a Russian company and our company against each other. The technical competition was held in person in Vienna throughout the first half of 2016, pitting the different designs against each other and evaluating both the technical and economic aspects (OPEX – CAPEX), with the Ingeobras design winning.

The project consisted of the design and implementation of all the elements necessary for the agricultural development and irrigation of 7,300 hectares in an area with no previous agricultural hydraulic infrastructures. In addition, a 15,600 m3/h water supply has been designed and executed, driven by a 260-metre drop.


Canalisation works of the macro irrigation project (Azerbaijan).

The project has broken three records in Azerbaijan:

  1. The largest agricultural development in the country in one go.
  2. The largest pumping station in the country.
  3. The largest agricultural development in the country in the shortest period of time so far.

The project is currently 80% complete and the first maize crop is expected to be harvested in 2017.

2. Main design features

The project design includes a 109 pivot field with a radius of approximately 480 metres, allowing for the irrigation of 7,297 ha. The water for this pivot field is supplied from the Kura River through a high-pressure main line from a pumping station next to the river with 1,700 mm diameter steel pipe. In the irrigation area we have a network of pipes and three pumping stations that distribute the water to all the pivots with the required pressure and flow. The system is capable of irrigating 60% of the surface area at the same time.


Diagram of the macro irrigation project (Azerbaijan).

The design has the following systems:

1.- Main pumping station. Water supply: This pumping station is the intake on the Kura river and pumps the water from elevation 105 m to elevation 313 m. So in this case we have 208 metres of water elevation. The capacity of this pumping system is 15,600 m3 /h. The pumps have been custom designed for this installation.

2.- Pumping stations in the irrigation area: water distribution in the irrigation area is carried out from three pumping stations:

  • The first (PS1) is near the first reservoir, into which the main supply line from the Kura River discharges. This pumping station irrigates 49 pivots and has four pumping groups. One for the pivots at lower elevations, one for the pivots at higher elevations, one to send water to pumping station 2 and the last one to send water to pumping station 3.
  • The second one (PS2) is near the second reservoir in the irrigation area. In this reservoir we empty the water pumped from PS1. It irrigates 27 pivots and has two pumping groups; one for the pivots at the lower elevations and one for the pivots at the higher elevations.
  • The third one (PS3) is near the third reservoir of the irrigation area. In this reservoir we also empty the water pumped from PS1. This PS3 irrigates 33 pivots and has two pumping groups. One for the pivots located at the lower elevations and one for the pivots located at the higher elevations.

In total, the installation has 40 pumps and 25 Megawatts of installed electrical power, fed from a substation built exclusively for this project.

This configuration of 3 pumping stations with different pumping units in each one gives us great flexibility and, together with a very efficient distribution network, allowed us to win the technical tender.


View of the irrigation area with Google Earth. Macro irrigation project (Azerbaijan).

3.- Main piping:

La tubería principal es una conducción de alta presión con un diámetro de 1.700 mm y que salva un desnivel de más de 200 metros. Se ha ejecutado en acero y cuenta con un avanzado sistema antiariete desarrollado en Israel.

La conducción proporciona un caudal de 15.600 m3/h y desplaza 36.000 m3 de volumen de agua a una velocidad de 1,92 metros por segundo.

Existen otras dos conducciones de acero, una de 1.000 mm de diámetro y otra de 800 mm de diámetro, que alimentan las estaciones de bombeo 2 y 3 desde la estación de bombeo 1.

4.- Water distribution system:

The distribution pipeline network consists of a 127 km network of polyethylene pipes that distributes the water to all the pivots.

This network consists of pipes with a pressure of up to 10 bar and a diameter of up to 500 mm.

Thanks to an extremely efficient design, the 127 km of pipelines were installed in three months.

2.1. Design Findings: Irrigation Macro-Project (Azerbaijan)

  1. The installation of a pumping station with such a high flow rate and high pressure has been an engineering challenge, taking into account a total timeframe of 8 months including design, engineering, manufacture of equipment, supply, complete execution and commissioning.
  2. The project has 40 pumps, 127 kilometres of polyethylene piping, 33 km of steel piping, 25 megawatts of installed power, 80 kilometres of high voltage line and a 45 MW substation specifically for this project.
  3. The development of a specific anti-water hammer system for this installation has led to enormous savings in the installation of the main pipeline.
  4. A system with total flexibility in irrigation capacity has been achieved, capable of irrigating with four pivots in the whole area or with 60% of the total pivots. The possible combinations to establish specific irrigation schedules are practically unlimited.
  5. In spite of the economic effort involved in a water supply that crosses such a steep slope, a reduced investment cost of € 6,300 per hectare has been achieved.
  6. Likewise, despite this consideration, an operating cost, apart from the agricultural costs, of less than 600 € per hectare per year has been achieved.

2.2. Scheme: irrigation macro-project (Azerbaijan)


3.- Key Data: Irrigation macro-project (Azerbaijan)


Total Area (ha) 7,297
Pumped flow rate (m3/h) 15.600 
Irrigation system capacity (m3/h)
  • Total irrigation flow
  • Total simultaneous flow rate
  • Flow rate per hectare
Water consumption (m3)
  • per season  @ ‘worst case’
  • per season @ ‘realistic case’