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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: WATER MANAGEMENT IN ARID IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE

Location: Water Management and Conservation Research

Title: Water System Operator Training for the Central Arizona Project

Authors
item Wahlin, Brian -
item Strand, Robert
item Goodell, Christopher -
item Clemmens, Albert
item Kacerek, Timothy -
item Crosby, Douglas -
item Davis, Charles -

Submitted to: USCID International Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2009
Publication Date: June 6, 2009
Citation: Wahlin, B.T., Strand, R.J., Goodell, C., Clemmens, A.J., Kacerek, T., Crosby, D., Davis, C. 2009. Water System Operator Training for the Central Arizona Project. USCID International Conference. p. 121-131.

Interpretive Summary: Proper operation and control of irrigation canals can save water by reducing canal spills and losses through incorrect delivery to users. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems are useful tools for canal operators to control canals from distant locations (for example, the district office). SCADA Systems allow canal operators to see the entire canal at once, while they can only see one part of the canal if on site. Operation of a canal through a SCADA system requires a significant amount of training. The operator must learn how the canal responds to changes in gate positions and how to effectively supply the right amount of water to users. New canal operators receive SCADA training only by observing the more experienced operators manage the canal system and thus, their training is driven by the day-to-day operation of the system. To better equip new Water System Operators, researchers at the U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center developed a training tool that replaces the real canal with a hydraulic simulation model without making any changes to the SCADA software. Employees at WEST Consultants, Inc. recently modified this training tool so that it works with HEC-RAS as the hydraulic simulation model. This new training tool was applied to the Central Arizona Project Canal, Phoenix, AZ. Because the training tool uses a simulation model of the canal, new CAP Water System Operators are being trained to operate the CAP system under a much wider range of flow conditions and emergency situations without endangering the actual canal system or wasting water. The training tool will give the new operators a larger knowledge base with which to handle emergency situations. These results will be of use to irrigation and large water districts, the Bureau of Reclamation, and consultants.

Technical Abstract: The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is designed to bring about 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year to Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties in Arizona. CAP carries water from Lake Havasu down to Tucson. The CAP canal system is a 336-mile long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants, and pipelines and is the largest single resource of renewable water supplies in the state of Arizona. The entire CAP system is monitored and remotely controlled using Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software from CAP headquarters in Phoenix, AZ. Recently, several new SCADA operators have been hired by CAP. The new operators received SCADA training only by observing the more experienced operators manage the canal system and thus their training was driven by the day-to-day operation of the system. To better equip their new Water System Operators, personnel at CAP recently commissioned the development of a new SCADA training tool as envisioned by researchers at the U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center that replaces the real canal with a hydraulic simulation model without making any changes to the SCADA software. Employees at WEST Consultants, Inc. recently modified this training tool so that it works with HEC-RAS as the hydraulic simulation model. Using this new training tool, the new CAP Water System Operators are now being trained to operate the CAP system under a much wider range of flow conditions and emergency situations without endangering the actual canal system or wasting water. The training tool will give the new operators a larger knowledge base with which to handle emergency situations.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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