Skip to main content
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 #177870


item Clemmens, Albert
item Strand, Robert
item Bautista, Eduardo

Submitted to: International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2005
Publication Date: 8/21/2005
Citation: Clemmens, A.J., Strand, R.J., Bautista, E. Flexible approach to canal automation implementation. International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage. p. Q.52,R.6.07.

Interpretive Summary: Competition for water supplies is increasing, which prompts water districts to improve their operations. Canal automation provides potential for many water districts to improve their operations and conserve water. Most of the canal automation that has been used in practice consists of local automatic control for individual gates or a centralized control scheme developed for a particular canal. Few of the published centralized control schemes have actually been tested on real canals. In this paper, a centralized control scheme is presented that can be applied to any canal system. The various features of the control scheme are presented. The system is extremely flexible and allows different control features to be implemented on different parts of the system, thereby simplifying the implementation process. These results will be of use to irrigation and large water districts, the Bureau of Reclamation, and consultants.

Technical Abstract: Canal automation promises to improve water control and accounting in irrigation delivery systems and also to increase delivery flexibility to users. Despite many recent advances, theoretical and practical issues remain to be resolved for wide application. Past automation efforts have been complicated by the need to home-build needed SCADA technology. Commercial SCADA software is now available for personal computers and is cost effective, functional, and has widespread technical support and, thus, should facilitate automation efforts. In this paper, we present a canal automation package that works in conjunction with a commercial SCADA package on a personal computer, called SacMan (Software for Automated Canal Management). SacMan can apply different types of control at canal network control structures. For example, portions of the canal can be under upstream control, local level control, or downstream water level control, all at the same time. Headgates and check structures can also be set for flow-rate control. With all these control modes, changes in demand can be scheduled and automatically routed through the canal network. SacMan also includes a number of features for assisting with operations, including safeguards on flow and level changes to prevent canal damage.