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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 #260993

Title: Application of Canal Automation at the Central Arizona Irrigation and Drainage District

item Strand, Robert
item Clemmens, Albert

Submitted to: USCID International Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2010
Publication Date: 3/23/2010
Citation: Strand, R.J., Clemmens, A.J. 2010. Application of Canal Automation at the Central Arizona Irrigation and Drainage District. USCID International Conference, March 23-26, 2010, Sacramento, California, p. 27-40

Interpretive Summary: Automation of irrigation canals 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, Software for Automated Canal Management or SacMan, is presented. It is developed for use with commercial remote control systems, and can be applied to any canal system. The system is extremely flexible and allows different control features to be implemented on different parts of the system, thereby simplifying the implementation process. The system is being implemented at the Central Arizona Irrigation and Drainage District, Eloy, AZ. Initial testing on 5 lateral canals was successful and the district plans to implement control on most of their system in the near future. These results will be of use to irrigation and large water districts, the Bureau of Reclamation, and consultants

Technical Abstract: The Central Arizona Irrigation and Drainage District (CAIDD) began delivering water to users in 1987. Although designed for automatic control, the system was run manually until a homemade SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system was developed by a district employee. In 2002, problems with radio communication and limitations of the homemade SCADA system prompted CAIDD to begin the process of modernization. New spread-spectrum radios and RTUs (Remote Terminal Units) were purchased along with a commercial SCADA package (iFix by GE-IP). In 2005, CAIDD decided to pursue implementation of full automated control of a majority of district check gates. Currently, 125 gates are under remote manual supervisory control and 129 water levels are remotely monitored. CAIDD chose to implement SacMan (Software for Automated Canal Management) under development by the U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center, Maricopa, AZ. The decision was made to only apply full automation at gates that had gate position sensors. Thus purchase and installation of gate position sensors have slowed implementation. To date, five lateral canals have been set up for full automatic control, where SacMan routes flow changes through the canal and uses downstream feedback control to correct for any errors that occur. The ditchrider only makes changes at the farm turnouts district-operated wells. Automation of the Central Main canal has been tested in simulation. Control of this canal requires special treatment, as described in a companion paper. The district is waiting until enough of the canal is ready for automation before it turns automatic controls on 24/7, since this will require some remote oversight when problems occur. We hope this occurs in the summer of 2010.