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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Salt River Project Canal Automation Pilot Project

Authors
item Clemmens, Albert
item Bautista, Eduardo - SALT RIVER PROJECT, AZ
item Gooch, Robert - SALT RIVER PROJECT, AZ
item Strand, Robert

Submitted to: International Workshop on Regulation of Irrigation on Canals
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 22, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Water is becoming a scarce resource and agricultural water users are under pressure to use water more judiciously. For many large irrigation projects, the physical infrastucture that delivers water to users has an influence on their ability to manage the water supplied to them. Most large water delivery systems convey and distribute water with canals rather than pipelines. For large scale systems, canals are an order of magnitude less expensive than pipelines. Infrastucture improvements (e.g., conversion to pressurized pipelines) are typically very expensive relative to changes in operations. Operations can be improved by providing canal operators with better tools for determining control actions. One such tool is the use of automatic controls. Full canal automation implies control of canal gates from computers or microprocessors. A number of new theories have recently been proposed for such computerized control, but none have been implemented. This paper provides a progress report on the application of canal automation to the Salt River Project's Arizona Canal. It describes initial simulation studies aimed at developing and testing these new control methods. This work will benefit water delivery projects and their clients.

Technical Abstract: The Salt River Project (SRP) provides water and power to agricultural and urban users within the Salt River Valley in central Arizona. A remote supervisory control system was implemented on SRP's main canals in the mid-1960s to measure water levels and control gate position throughout the entire canal network from a single control panel. This system was in operation until 1991 when a new supervisory control center was installed. Over the last 3 decades, a significant shift from agricultural to urban water use has taken place. This has created new demands on canal operators, e.g., water transfer agreements, which have diverted their attention from normal canal operations. These new demands have prompted SRP's water operations staff to investigate the potential of automatic computer control of canal gates to reduce the increasing burden on the operating staff. A pilot project was initiated in 1996 to study automation of the upper reaches of the Arizona Canal. This paper presents a progress report on this ongoing study.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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