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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Strand, Robert
item Clemmens, Albert
item Feuer, Lenny
item Sloan, Gary

Submitted to: Workshop on Modernization of Irrigation Water Delivery Systems
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Water is becoming a scarce resource and water districts are under pressure to use water more judiciously. Improved operation of water resources facilities, such as canals and reservoirs, has been touted as necessary for making proper use of these limited water supplies. Operation of irrigation- water delivery systems can be improved by providing canal operators with better tools for determining control actions. One such tool is computerize automatic control of canal gates. While canal automation may appear simple in concept, it is actually a complex technical problem. This complexity has led to a large gap between theory and practice. Existing hardware components for automatic control are often incompatible. This paper describes a new canal automation system that has an integrated hardware and software system--from gate actuators to control logic to a commercially available supervisory control system. These results should be of use to irrigation districts, consultants, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Technical Abstract: One of the difficulties with the application of canal automation is that individual components are available from different sources and frequently are not compatible. Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District (MSIDD) in central Arizona was constructed to be fully automated. All check structures on the main and lateral canals are fitted with motorized gates and are controlled, using radios, from a central computer. Because of the imcompatibility of components, this system was not functional. The district modified the hardware and developed a supervisory control system, but only for their main canal. However, motorized gates on lateral canals, while not actively used by the district, provide an excellent site for studying both the hardware and software aspects of canal automation. The U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory (USWCL) and Automata, Inc., entered into an agreement to develop a canal automation system. This system includes sensors, gate control hardware, remote terminal units (RTUs), radio communication, a base station, a commercial supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) package, and newly developed USWCL canal control logic. This system has been implemented for testing and demonstration on the WM lateral canal of MSIDD. This paper describes the system and its application to the WM canal.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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