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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Water Management and Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #135248


item Clemmens, Albert
item Strand, Robert
item Feuer, L
item Wahlin, Brian

Submitted to: US Committee on Irrigation and Drainage/Environmental and Water Resources Institute Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2002
Publication Date: 7/13/2002
Citation: Clemmens, A.J., Strand, R.J., Feuer, L., Wahlin, B.T. 2002. Canal automation system demonstration at msidd. US Committee on Irrigation and Drainage/Environmental and Water Resources Institute Conference. p. 497-506.

Interpretive Summary: Water supplies in the Western United States are not sufficient to meet current water demands, especially when considering water needed for environmental purposes. Agriculture's share of available water is likely to decrease in the future. Agricultural water purveyors are being pressed by other water users to improve water measurement, control, and accounting, while their water users are demanding more flexible water deliveries so they can compete in the marketplace and implement water conservation measures on farm. Operation of irrigation-water delivery systems can be improved by providing canal operators with better tools for determining control actions. One such tool is computerized automatic control of canal gates. This technology, however, is not routinely available to irrigation district personnel and consultants. This paper presents application of a new canal automation system including hardware and software. This system can be adapted to a wide variety of canals and operational situations for improving water delivery operations and services. These results should be of use to irrigation districts, consultants, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Ultimately better management of irrigation water supplies will conserve water and benefit the environment.

Technical Abstract: A new canal automation system, known as SACMAN (Software for Automating Canal MANagement), has been developed at the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory in cooperation with Automata, Inc. through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. SACMAN works with a commercial Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. It allows canal operators to automatically route scheduled changes in demand through their canal system utilizing volume-compensation and time delay calculations. SACMAN can automatically maintain constant water levels on the upstream side of check structures with either downstream or upstream control logic. SACMAN is also capable of automatically maintaining constant gate flows and making incremental gate flow changes. The operator can also make manual changes to the system without turning the automation off. The SACMAN system is currently being tested in real time on the WM canal, a lateral canal of the Maricopa Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District (MSIDD) in Central Arizona. At the control center the SACMAN system uses a standard personal computer and commercial SCADA package. Each gate is operated with limitorque motors (not part of this package), which are controlled with Automata¿s ¿Mini¿ Remote Terminal Unit (RTU). Control is based on water level and gate position sensors. A new gate-position sensor was developed that includes both absolute (potentiometer) and very fine relative (optical encoder) position. Communication between the personal computer and RTUs is accomplished with spread-spectrum radios and MODBUS communication protocol. The entire system is available through Automata, Inc. This paper includes a brief description of the software, hardware, and field-test results.