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Flow measurement capabilities of diversion works in the Rio Grande project area




Wahlin, Brian, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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Releases from Rio Grande Project storage are made on demand by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for diversion into Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID), El Paso County Water Improvement District No.1, and Republic of Mexico canals and laterals. The diversions are charged against each district and Mexico's annual diversion allocation. As the Rio Grande Project implements and refines new operating procedures and the State of New Mexico continues efforts to implement Active Water Resource Management in the Lower Rio Grande, it is essential to have a high degree of confidence in the measurements of the water diverted from the Rio Grande. With this mission in mind, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (NMISC) initiated a study to evaluate the Rio Grande Project diversion works, flow measurement facilities, and flow measurement methodologies in the Rincon and Mesilla Valley portions of the Rio Grande Project. More specifically, the NMISC was interested in understanding the measurement accuracy limitations presented by the diversion structures themselves, and whether improvements to those structures and/or methods could improve measurement accuracy. WEST Consultants, Inc. (WEST) evaluated flow measurement techniques at Elephant Butte Dam, Caballo Dam, Percha Diversion Dam, Arrey Main Canal, Leasburg Diversion Dam, Leasburg Canal, Mesilla Diversion Dam, the East Side Canal, the West Side Canal, and the Del Rio Lateral. EBID is making a significant effort to accurately measure flows despite the advanced age of many of the structures in the Rio Grande Project. All measurements in these areas were made following typical protocols and standards. This paper outlines the accuracy estimations, describes the flow measurement techniques used and analyses conducted, and provides suggestions for improving the flow measurements in some difficult locations.


Presented at Emerging challenges and opportunities for irrigation managers: energy, efficiency and infrastructure: a USCID water management conference held on April 26-29, 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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