Introduction to SCADA
The Yuma Area Water Management System (YAWMS) is comprised of 97 groundwater pumping facilities, 57 observation wells, and 13 water conveyance structures that are located in an area near Yuma, Arizona, roughly 280 square miles in size. In the past, Bureau of Reclamation personnel would frequently travel 25 miles one-way to some remote sites to operate a pump, divert water flow, or collect groundwater information from these structures.
In 2007, Reclamation implemented available technology to construct a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to better manage Yuma's groundwater resources. Operating under the premise that "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it", our SCADA system employs the use of radio and computer technology to measure groundwater data on-site and transmit the information to a radio telemetry site. The radio site then relays the information to the Yuma Area Office (YAO) via microwave, where data are monitored and recorded, and used to make management decisions on control the pumps and groundwater.
Groundwater depth, volume of water flow, and power consumption are some of the data collected by YAO’s SCADA system. (See sample YAWMS SCADA views of a drainage well and an observation well.) The data are used to determine whether pumps should be operated or water flow diverted in Reclamation canals. The SCADA system provides the ability to remotely operate pumps and diversions from a local control room, instead of requiring travel to remote sites.
YAO's SCADA allows Reclamation to control excessive groundwater depths that might otherwise damage roads, building foundations, septic systems, and agricultural crops. SCADA is just one of the tools that is used to provide information to Reclamation's stakeholders in the Lower Colorado Region on its most important resource – water.