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Physical and operational improvements that aid modernization of irrigation delivery systems




Replogle, John A., author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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Because many irrigation systems throughout the world are well into the late years of their economic design life, efforts presently are toward their rehabilitation and modernization. Modernization is widely recommended over simply rehabilitating to the original status. Several goals of modernization include providing flexible water delivery service that is responsive to modern, on-farm irrigation systems, such as drip, sprinkler, level basin, and surge. To adopt many of these technologies implies that the farm unit can control the water supply by being able to start and stop the delivery at will, or at least negotiate or specify start and stop times. This often is well served by canal automation, a tool that will play a prominent role in improving the operation of delivery systems. Automation techniques are still under development and may still be prohibitively costly for many applications. However, there are a number of structural and management changes that can be considered that require only limited automation, or no automation, and can still provide significant flexibility of irrigation delivery to the farm unit. These measures include combinations of canal level-control structures, field outlet structures, strategically placed off-line reservoirs, low-cost measurement devices, and canal operating procedures. How to retrofit these useable features into an existing system as part of the rehabilitation and modernization scheme is the major emphasis of the paper. These features usually improve the convenience of irrigation applications and can encourage better irrigation efficiency.


Presented at Contemporary challenges for irrigation and drainage: proceedings from the USCID 14th technical conference on irrigation, drainage and flood control held on June 3-6, 1998 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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