Water Technology Information Resource

Project ID: 494
Principal Investigator: Robert Einhellig
Research Topic: Agriculture Water Supplies
Funded Fiscal Years: 2006 and 2007
Keywords: None

Research Question

Water delivery and irrigation system managers as well as end users often ask, "what is the best way to . . .?"

As the available technology for water system management continues to rapidly expand, the answer to this question is often difficult to define and depends on the users- needs, budget, and technological sophistication. There are a number of agencies and organizations that hold pieces of the puzzle which might help answer this question.

This Science and Technology (S&T) Research program seeks to develop a system of decision-making tools to make water management technology, information, and training more readily accessible to canal operators and system managers seeking to integrate modernized flow measurement and canal operation concepts into their respective systems. This will require a collaborative effort between Reclamation water-conservation professionals and colleagues doing similar work at other Federal/State agencies and universities.

Need and Benefit

The Western United States contains hundreds of canal and water-delivery systems. Most of these systems were constructed in the last half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. As such, the infrastructure, technology, and method of operation of many of these systems is still more reminiscent of the horse-and-buggy age than the space age.

The ever-growing demand for water in this region has placed an increasing emphasis on water conservation and efficient management of delivery systems to minimize waste and optimize water deliveries. Water management and conservation initiatives are being promulgated by Federal, State, and local entities in an effort to optimize the use of the available water resources. This push for efficient water management is being fueled in part by increasing urban population centers competing and conflicting with traditional agricultural water uses. Periodic drought conditions only serve to highlight the limited nature of the water resources of the Western United States.

Water delivery and canal systems offer an enticing opportunity to realize significant water savings through modernization due to their century-old technologies. Many such entities are being forced to consider improvements to their systems either to manage drought-induced scarcity or to off-set the loss of water to other uses such as environmental or municipal, industrial, and energy (M&IE) demands.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Please contact research@usbr.gov about research products related to this project.

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Last Updated: 4/4/17