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Initiating SCADA projects in irrigation districts




Karimov, Askar, author
Leigh, Eric, author
Fipps, Guy, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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Delivering water efficiently through distribution networks is a priority for irrigation districts but often is a difficult goal to achieve. SCADA shows promise of improving operational efficiency, increasing flexibility in the amount and timing of water deliveries, and reducing spills and other losses in distribution networks. However, implementing SCADA in a district for the first time is a difficult process. Districts often do not understand or are distrustful of the technology. They often do not know or understand how their system actually operates, thus making it difficult to design SCADA systems and to determine operational parameters and control algorithms. Selecting equipment that is easy to integrate into district operations is not a simple decision. Simple tasks such as selection of sensors and communication hardware become time consuming because of the need to explain advantages and disadvantages of each component. District boards of directors are normally reluctant to spend money, which further complicates the process. Once SCADA is installed, district personnel have to be trained on how to use the equipment to perform daily operations. In this paper we discuss the process of implementing SCADA projects for the first time in a district that had no previous experience with such technology or control systems. The paper will cover both hardware aspects as well as human consideration, and discuss some of the many lessons learned.


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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