Development and Deployment of Affordable Technologies for Flow Measurement and Delivery Control (WS3-FY03-004-LC)
Can Reclamation help water managers by developing accurate measurement and flow control in an affordable manner?
Need and Benefit
Many irrigation canals in the western United States are operated with methodologies that have changed little in over half a century. Movement of water through an irrigation canal can accurately be described as unsteady flow. Demand changes and supply adjustments typically occur more rapidly than the time lag required for the system to establish a new equilibrium state. As a result, either irrigators are subject to unreliable delivery rates impacting crop production, or a canal is operated with excessive supply that is wasted or spilled which results in reduced quantity and quality of supply available for other uses.
This project is focused on the maturation of two instruments developed at Reclamation's Water Resources Research Laboratory, the Automated Farm Turnout, (AFT), and the Continuous Flow Measurement, (CFM) systems. These systems represent low cost alternatives for "first step" installations in canal modernization that are affordable for many agricultural water delivery applications. Direct benefits of developing & depoying these technologies include more accurate and equitable delivery of water, (which can result in an increase in productivity and/or reduced spills), and generation of information that will enable a water district to identify priority needs in developing strategies for broadening canal modernization efforts that could ultimately lead to as much as a 40% reduction in water supplied by the canal while providing equal delivery rates in a more responsive manner.