Parts of a Drip Irrigation System

Drip irrigation is used to conserve water and supply water directly to the roots of plants. The parts of a drip irrigation system snap or twist together and it is easy to build a drip irrigation system for a small garden.

Main Water Line

The main water line extends from the filter and regulator that is attached to the main valve and is the main source of water that is supplied to the tubing. The water flowing through the main water line can come from a water well or from the household water source. The main water line is attached to the main valve.


The tubing is connected to the main water line and extends to the area around the plants. Tubing can be various sizes. Tubing that is placed among potted plants is fairly small in diameter where tubing that runs to individual plants planted in the garden can be larger to handle the greater water flow that is appropriate for trees and shrubs.


Dribblers are connected to the tubing and emit a small amount of water per hour at the root zone of the plant. Different dribblers allow different amounts of water to flow through each hour. Some dribblers allow as much as 2 gallons per hour to flow through to the target plants and others only 1 gallon or less.


Couplings are used to attach the main line to the tubing, to attach the main line to the water source, or to repair a damaged area in the lines by cutting out the damaged area and replacing with a coupler. Couplers are easy to use and easily fit into the sections of tubing or main water lines with a minimum of effort but remain watertight. Couplers are also used to add tubing sections into your overall irrigation plan so you can expand the drip irrigation system to include more plants.


The valves are used to turn the source of water on or off from the drip irrigation system. There can be several valves located throughout the system to redirect water as needed. A valve can be inserted anywhere along the drip irrigation system. Valves are also useful if certain plants are becoming over watered and less water needs to be applied. A bypass valve can be installed to completely bypass the drip irrigation system if a manual watering system needs to be used.


A regulator is used to decrease water pressure because most drip irrigation systems function best when the water pressure is less than the typical water pressure from a main valve. Also regulators equalize the water pressure if there are multiple drip irrigation systems working from the same water source at the same time.


Filters are used to strain the water coming from the main source and prevent fine particles from entering the system and clogging the dribblers.


Stakes are used to prevent main water lines and tubing from moving around as they fill with water or expand during hot weather. They can be made of wire or plastic.

Keywords: drip irrigation, irrigation parts, installing drip irrigation

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.