Stepping stones to a rewarding career

Career pathways in irrigation

The irrigation sector in Australia can offer you career opportunities in both rural and city areas, from irrigating rural orchards to urban golf courses.

Australia’s rural production increasingly relies on drawing water from natural river systems into otherwise arid country. Harvested water now supports large rural businesses, so irrigation has become an important part of the national economy.

  • Used to improve productivity of agricultural lands (agricultural)
  • Used to maintain urban lifestyles including parks and gardens (urban)
  • Used for the deliberate watering of environmental assets

Urban irrigation involves the irrigation of public and private gardens, sports facilities and the general landscape is a major part of the irrigation business in Australia.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004:

  • Water diverted for irrigation totalled 16,660 GL,
  • Total irrigated area 2,506,000 ha,
  • Proportion of agricultural area < 1 per cent,
  • Proportion of total water used 67 per cent,
  • Irrigated farm revenue $9.6 billion,
  • Irrigated farm profit as proportion of total agricultural profit 51 per cent.

The importance of irrigation goes well beyond simply the value of produce. Irrigated agriculture and horticulture underpins our large food processing industry. Competence and skills developed in irrigation are sought after in Australia and around the world.

The planning and maintenance of irrigation schemes requires people from varied backgrounds and interests. The wide scope of the sector provides many opportunities to exploit a broad range of skills and knowledge, including labourers, technicians and designers.

Jobs and qualifications

Technician’s Assistant Certificate I in Rural Operations »
Technician Certificate II in Irrigation »
Service Technician Certificate III in Irrigation »
Installation and Service Technician Certificate IV in Irrigation »
Master Technician Diploma of Irrigation Management »
Rural Business Manager Advanced Diploma of Agriculture or Rural Business Management »
Technician’s Assistant

Technician assistant jobs are usually the beginning of a career in irrigation industry. Work undertaken usually involves working under direct supervision and can include basic metal work, including setting for and assisting with welding, operating machinery and equipment and routine maintenance.


A technician is likely to be involved in a wide range of tasks, working under limited supervision. Tasks include basic metal fabrication and repair and operation and maintenance of machinery and equipment.

Service Technician

A service technician is likely to be involved in a wide range of irrigation work, with various degrees of responsibility. This includes servicing and installing equipment, coordinating staff activities, estimating materials, equipment and labour costs for a job, dealing on a daily basis with other industry people, such as farmers, equipment manufacturers and chemical company representatives.

Installation and Service Technician

An installation and service technician usually has responsibility for a number of workers and for the organisation of machinery installation, testing and repair. Work undertaken may include: supervision of irrigation installation and servicing activities, staff training and supervision, budget and stock control and irrigation testing and repairs.

Master Technician

A master technician is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing irrigation operations and business: machinery and equipment operations, servicing and testing, staff training and management and marketing and business management.

Rural Business Manager

A rural business manager has the primary responsibility for ensuring that the irrigation business is successfully managed. These responsibilities include business monitoring and evaluation, marketing and promotion, financial management, strategic planning and business management.