Subsurface Drip Irrigation Resource Center

The advantages of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) were already apparent when drip irrigation was first realized. The first field experiments conducted on the drip irrigation method were based on subsurface drip irrigation in trials conducted by Israeli agronomists at the end of the 1950’s.

Over the years, Netafim has developed various methods, tools, and accessories that gradually improved subsurface drip irrigation and turned it into a reliable irrigation method. Despite the many years of continued research on SDI, it was only in the 1990’s that the ‘doctrine’ of subsurface drip irrigation was fully formulated, including the development of specific products suited for SDI.

Netafim has accumulated extensive experience in subsurface drip irrigation in nearly every country in the world. Nowadays, SDI is an accepted and common irrigation practice. It is an irrigation management tool that enables precise control over the root zone environment of your crop. This control often results in consistently high yields. In addition, better water and fertilizer management help reduce fertilizer inputs, water usage, and runoff.

Find informational guides and publications on SDI systems

The topics covered in the resource center include:

  • The benefits of SDI systems
  • System components and typical layouts
  • Installation
  • Start-up, operation, and maintenance
  • SDI for specific crops; corn, cotton, and alfalfa


For additional support find the nearest Netafim USA Dealer
and contact our Support Team.

Experts answer common questions related to SDI systems

Benefits of Subsurface Drip Irrigation

There are many benefits to subsurface drip irrigation including the highest water use efficiency of any irrigation method. And studies show that crops grown under SDI can reduce water use up to 40% while increasing yields and/or quality compared to other irrigation methods. SDI also easily adapts to smaller, irregular sized fields and topography which are difficult or impossible to irrigate with other methods.

The following resource documents discuss these and many other benefits.

Benefits of SDI in Row Crops


Successful Row Crop Irrigation Systems


Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation Systems


Can Drip Irrigation Keep the Prairie Profitable?


System Components and Typical Layouts

Choosing the right components for your SDI system is critical to overall performance and reliability. The following resource documents focus on system components, design considerations, typical layouts and other critical aspects that need to be considered with an SDI system.

System Components/Typical Layouts


System Components


Irrigation Water Management


Root Zone Management



From unwrapping the coils to laying the dripline in the ground, the following video and resource documents guide you through a thinwall dripline installation along with installing submains and dripline connections.

VIDEO: Subsurface Drip Installation in York, NE


PPT: Subsurface Drip Irrigation Installation - Thinwall


PPT: Installing Submains and Dripline Connections


Start-up, Operation and Maintenance

Whether you have just installed a new system or are starting up the SDI system after sitting through the off season, we’ll outline the simple steps to take to help ensure optimum system performance. To achieve the highest yields and water savings possible with your SDI system, it is necessary to monitor system operation and make adjustments as needed. And an SDI system requires regular maintenance to ensure that it performs to specifications and provides long-life potential. The following resource documents address all of these topics.

System Start-Up


Subsurface Drip System Operation & Maintenance


Subsurface Drip System Operation & Maintenance (Spanish)


Preventive Maintenance Guide



Netafim also has resource materials focused on subsurface drip irrigation and specific crops. The following links direct you to crop specific pages dedicated to the use and success of SDI including production manuals, grower success stories and more.


Of the common agronomic crops, alfalfa consumes the largest amount of water. Its consumptive use can exceed 46” of water per year. This fact combined with the real opportunity to drive solid yield increases are the main reason growers are interested in using drip irrigation on alfalfa. Find out more about how to increase yields by 25-40%.


Learn more about SDI for asparagus production. Download the production manual guide for more information on using drip technology.


Learn more about Netafim SDI system for cotton production to achieve desired results. Download the production manual guide for more information on using drip technology.


Learn how a Netafim SDI system can maintain control over soil and climate variables. Increase plant populations, the number or irrigated acres and save water and energy costs. Download the production manual guide for more information on using drip technology.


Learn more about Netafim SDI system for tobacco production to achieve desired results. Download the production manual guide for more information on using drip technology.


Experts put SDI to the test with tomato production. Read more and find the results of this study conducted by Dr. Claude J. Phene (a soil and irrigation scientist, formerly Director of the USDA-ARS, Water Management Research Laboratory in Fresno, California and a longtime proponent of fertigation with Microirrigation).