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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 #146823


item Clemmens, Albert
item Strand, Robert

Submitted to: United States Committee of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2002
Publication Date: 5/15/2002
Citation: Clemmens, A.J., Strand, R.J., Feuer, L. 2003. Application of canal automation in central arizona. United States Committee of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering Conference. p.453-464.

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 in central Arizona, including hardware and software. This system can be adapted to a wide variety of canals and operational situations for improving water delivery operations and service. 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: The Central Arizona Irrigation and Drainage District (CAIDD) and the Maricopa Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District (MSIDD) were constructed in the late 1980s with the promise of automatic control. All check structures on main and lateral canals were equipped with motorized gates, RTUs, radios, etc. These systems never performed as promised. District personnel were only able to acheive remote manual control operational on their main canals. In the mid 1990s, engineers from the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory (USDA-ARS) began experimenting with canal automation on relatively small canals, yet large enough for real testing and where motorized gates were available. Through this research, ARS engineers were able to develop SacMan (Software for Automated Canal Management) in cooperation with Automata, Inc. SacMan has several levels of implementation ranging from manual control to full automatic control, including upstream level control, flow rate control, routing of known demand changes, and full downstream level control. SacMan interfaces with commercial Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software, currently iFix by Intellution, Inc., but potentially applicable to other SCADA packages. The software was successfully tested on the WM canal of MSIDD. Sister district, CAIDD, was the first customer for this new software. Implementation started in August 2002 with manual control on 45 check structures. Various automatic control features are to be phased in over the winter of 2002-03 and expanded to their entire network (108 active out of roughly 130 sites). This paper describes the features of this canal automation software and the implementation process that is taking place.