Use of GIS as a real time decision support system for irrigation districts

Bonaiti, Gabriele, author
Fipps, Guy, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher
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GIS technology has been utilized in the past years by drainage and irrigation districts mostly for organization of spatial data, and as decision support system. However in some cases, GIS has not reached its full potential due to such factors as lack of interest after initial set up, effort required for and the high costs of keeping the system updated, and a disconnect with daily management. This paper discusses the development of a real time GIS decision support system for the Brownsville Irrigation District of Texas (District). The objectives were to provide the District with a simple tool that would improve the management of water orders, allow access of data by landowners through the internet, and to improve the availability of pump flow data from the existing SCADA system. An important component of the project was to interact and train District personnel. The final product of the project is a website, where water orders and pump operations information are displayed in real-time, along with links to related historical data, and other information. The activity resulted in an expanded interest on the use of GIS as a real time decision support system by District personnel, the identification of solutions for limits in the existing database, and recommendations for further improvement. In this paper, we present the steps that were taken with District personnel to set up the system, the website features, and the initial benefits that have been identified by District personnel and the manager.
Presented at Meeting irrigation demands in a water-challenged environment: SCADA and technology: tools to improve production: a USCID water management conference held on September 28 - October 1, 2010 in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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