Repository logo

Gate automation and centralized control in a south central Texas irrigation district




Pandey, Stacy, author
McLeod, John, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


This paper presents an overview of a project to retrofit and automate 11 check gate structures within a selected section of the eastern canal system in LCRA's Gulf Coast Irrigation Division. LCRA owns and operates three irrigation systems in the lower Colorado River Basin. This project is funded by a combination of funds from the House Bill 1437 Agricultural Water Conservation Program, and a USBR grant. Each check gate structure will consist of two aluminum slide gates with actuators and instrumentation for automatic control, powered by solar panels. Other project features include 3 spill monitoring sites, a radio based data communication system (DCS), and a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. Gate manufacturing, and telecom design and installation are being accomplished in-house, with gate design by a contracted engineering firm. The House Bill 1437 (HB 1437) Agriculture Water Conservation Program was developed to meet rising municipal demands in Williamson County (located in the Colorado River Basin of Texas), conserve river water used for irrigation, and maintain agriculture productivity. The HB1437 short-term plan established a goal of conserving 10,000 acre feet per year by 2014. This project to automate existing canal check structures is part of this plan. The USBR grant enabled LCRA to include the centralized SCADA component of the project. The water savings from this project is estimated to be 2,600 acre-feet per year or a 3.5% reduction in the eastern section of Gulf Coast's average annual water diversion (73,000 acre-feet per year). Water management will be improved on the entire eastern section of the system as a result of automating the gates at the head of the system.


Presented at Irrigated agriculture responds to water use challenges - strategies for success: USCID water management conference held on April 3-6, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Rights Access



Associated Publications