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ITRC has provided selected publications written by our staff for use online.

  • The current database holds 96 publications.
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Publication No. Title Authors Description

P 2008-004

Technical Concepts Related to Conservation of Irrigation and Rainwater in Agricultural Systems

A.J. Clemmens, R.G. Allen, Charles Burt

Understanding the hydrologic settings is critical to determining true water savings from conservation practices. On-farm water conservation practices that provide true water savings at one location may be ineffective at another. In large irrigation projects, water delivery limitations often present obstacles to on-farm water conservation efforts.

P 2011-008

Irrigation Engineering in Seismic Zones: Mexicali Valley, Mexico

Alan Dennis Gracia, Charles Burt, Mario Paredes Vallejo

On April 4, 2010 an earthquake of Richter magnitude 7.2 occurred with an epicenter south of Mexicali within the irrigated zone of Mexicali Valley. Extensive damage occurred to main and lateral canal structures, plus to field irrigation systems and the main drainage network. This paper describes the engineering for a new major irrigation water conveyance system to service the most heavily impacted zone of 80,000 acres.

P 2010-004

Practical Experience with State-of-the-Art Technologies in SCADA Systems

Beau Freeman, Charles Burt

In spite of many good hardware and software products available on the market now, putting all the pieces together for a SCADA system requires specialized expertise. Nevertheless, by following some straightforward strategies and rules of good practice, combined with advanced control techniques, even very complex automation systems have been successfully implemented. These implementation steps are briefly outlined with a focus on lessons learned. Updated implementation costs for typical system components are given to aid in project planning.

P 1997-003

Irrigation Performance Measures: Efficiency and Uniformity

Burt, Clemmens, Strelkoff, Solomon, Bliesner, Hardy, Howell, Eisenhauer

It is essential to standardize the definitions and approaches to quantifying various irrigation performance measures. The ASCE Task Committee on Defining Irrigation Efficiency and Uniformity provides a comprehensive examination of various performance indices such as irrigation efficiency, application efficiency, irrigation sagacity, distribution uniformity, and others. Consistency is provided among different irrigation methods and different scales. Clarification of common points of confusion is provided, and methods are proposed whereby the accuracy of numerical values of the perfomance indicators can be assessed. This issue has two companion papers that provide more detailed information on statistical distribution uniformity and the accuracy of irrigation efficiency estimates.

P 2010-008

Variability within Irrigated Fields

Byron Clark, Charles Burt

With the emergence and refinement of variable rate application technology, many growers now attempt to maximize returns by "prescribing" variable amounts of inputs based on observations of crop vigor, soil characteristics, or other indicators. This technical note is intended to examine how we are using new sensing technology to improve the accuracy of field-scale irrigation/agronomy research.

P 2010-009

Increasing Productivity in Irrigated Agriculture: Agronomic Constraints and Hydrological Realities

C. Perry, F. Steduto, R.G. Allen, Charles Burt

Irrigation is widely criticised as a profligate and wasteful user of water, especially in watershort areas. Improvements to irrigation management are proposed as a way of increasing agricultural production and reducing the demand for water. The terminology for this debate is often flawed, failing to clarify the actual disposition of water used in irrigation into evaporation, transpiration, and return flows that may, depending on local conditions, be recoverable.

P 2011-011

The Irrigation Sector Shift from Construction to Modernization: What is Required for Success? (PowerPoint)

Charles Burt

This is the PowerPoint version of ITRC Paper No. P 2011-009.

P 2011-009

The Irrigation Sector Shift from Construction to Modernization: What is Required for Success?

Charles Burt

External pressures related to environmental protection, commodity prices, energy availability, larger populations, and climate change have combined to require an immediate and substantial improvement in agricultural irrigation performance. Worldwide progression towards modernized irrigation projects has been uneven and slower than desired, but decades of irrigation modernization development have clarified certain requirements for success, as well as illuminated indicators of project failure. Of particular importance are required shifts within the state and national irrigation bureaucracies, as well as universities.

P 2011-007

Drip Irrigation System Cost Sharing by Irrigation Districts for Water Conservation

Charles Burt

Government and irrigation district cost sharing programs have often included financial support for the installation of drip/micro irrigation systems. These programs seek advantages that might include improved crop yield, less applied water, and a reduction in subsurface drainage water and surface tailwater. They may also seek to reduce water consumption. The actual results have been shown to vary by district, hydrology, and crop.

P 2011-006

Canal Lining

Charles Burt

Larry and I thought that some musings about canal lining might be of some interest for some of you USCID newsletter readers. As you know, there are many canal lining techniques, especially if one considers the wide assortment of internationally used lining methods.

P 2011-005

Agricultural Irrigation Using Municipal Effluent

Charles Burt

The paper describes the development of a design and management plan for disposing of secondary effluent originating in the urban communities. It highlights the differences in approach that a public utility must take, versus a typical agricultural irrigation application. Costs and requirements for municipal effluent irrigation are many times greater. The complexity of regulations and agency procurement procedures relegates the actual irrigation system design to a relatively small role in the total project.

P 2011-004

Fundamental Elements of Agricultural Water Use Efficiency

Charles Burt

This PowerPoint presentation discusses the concept of agricultural efficiencies and the myths and facts behind agricultural water conservation in California.

P 2011-001

Irrigation District Flow Metering

Charles Burt

This article provides background on some of the issues surrounding California senate bill SBx7, which contains a mandate that the California Department of Water Resources must adopt regulations providing a range of options that agricultural water suppliers may use or implement to comply with various measurement requirements.

P 2010-001

Where is All That Water Going?

Charles Burt

This PowerPoint presentation discusses the concept of agricultural efficiencies and the myths and facts behind agricultural water conservation in California.

P 2010-002

Medición de Gasto en Canales de Riego

Charles Burt

This PowerPoint presentation (in Spanish) discusses modern flow measurement technologies.

P 2010-003

Modernización de Proyectos de Riego

Charles Burt

This PowerPoint presentation (in Spanish) discusses definitions, examples, and applications of irrigation modernization.

P 2010-006

Water Conservation's Role in California Water Transfers

Charles Burt

This paper describes various irrigation district water transfer projects. Water transfers have been of many types, including agriculture to agriculture, agriculture to urban, and agriculture to environment. In each case that will be described, the unique circumstances of each district will be described. Typical actions include developing a water balance to determine if "wet water" truly exists for conservation, then identifying the sources of that wet water. Subsequent actions include developing designs that will conserve the water, achieving board approval, and constructing and implementing the conservation measures.

P 2010-007

Pump Operation with VFD Controlled Motors

Charles Burt

This paper discusses numerous reasons to consider using a VFD (variable frequency drive) controller with pumps in irrigation and drainage, as well as several common problems and errors associated with VFD applications.

P 2007-001

Volumetric Irrigation Water Pricing Considerations

Charles Burt

Volumetric water pricing is a popular topic within donor agencies for irrigation project modernization and sustainability. Implementation of an effective pricing program is quite complex and requires consideration of physical modernization, fee structure, enforcement procedures, and the level of water delivery service. Variations of volumetric water pricing and allocation are discussed.

P 2006-001

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of Capacity Development for Irrigation Modernization

Charles Burt

Effective capacity development monitoring and evaluation (M&E) depends first upon targeted capacity development programs, with well-defined and attainable objectives that can be evaluated after completion of the program. This paper focuses on capacity development related to technical issues of irrigation modernization.

P 2006-002

Surface Drip Tape Irrigation Systems as an Alternative to SDI for Field and Row Crops

Charles Burt

In recent years, new equipment and techniques developed by farmers and private industry have improved the suitability of surface drip tape as an alternative to subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) for field crops and vegetable crops in highly mechanized farming. Retrievable drip tape systems now lack many of the disadvantages of SDI, yet provide the advantages typically expected from drip irrigation. Tape retrieval practices have now reached well beyond the theoretical realm to the point that they dominate drip systems for cauliflower, lettuce, celery, and broccoli on the Central Coast of California.

P 2000-001

Benchmarking Irrigation

Charles Burt

A few performance indicators (e.g., efficiency) have been included in irrigation jargon for many decades. However, at the Rome meeting we will have a comprehensive discussion on irrigation benchmarking. It will be easy to fall into a discussion of definitions and specifics. Prior to that, it might be helpful to consider the following aspects that will help to set the stage for the details.

P 1999-001

Irrigation Water Balance Fundamentals

Charles Burt

Water balances are essential for making wise decisions regarding water conservation and water management. The paper defines the essential ingredients of water balances, and distinguishes between farm and district-level balances. An example of a hypothetical district-level balance is provided. The importance of listing confidence intervals is highlighted. Classic errors in water balance determination are noted.

P 1999-003

Current Canal Modernization from an International Perspective

Charles Burt

Modernization differs from rehabilitation, which simply returns a deteriorated project or structures to their original new state. Rehabilitation by itself typically only perpetuates the vicious cycle of rehabilitation, deterioration, rehabilitation, etc. A modern irrigation design is the result of a thought process that selects the configuration and the physical components in light of a well-defined and realistic operation plan that is based on the service concept. A modern irrigation design is not defined by specific hardware components and control logic. Advanced concepts of hydraulic engineering, irrigation engineering, agronomy, and social science should be used to arrive at the most simple and workable solution (Plusquellec et al., 1994).

P 1998-001

Fertigation Basics

Charles Burt

Fertigation is widely practiced with drip irrigation, yet remains very unsophisticated. Main areas which need improvement are (i) making certain the irrigation system applies water with a high DU (uniformity), (ii) using proper injection pumps and protection hardware, (iii) recognizing that chemicals can interact with each other and with water to form precipitates which will clog emitters, (iv) understanding of nutrient ratios in plants and soil, (v) recognizing that nitrogen fertilization requires attention to the type of nitrogen, and (vi) developing programs for spoon-feeding chemicals. This paper covers the first 4 topics, plus discusses some specific fertilizers.

P 1998-002

Chemicals for Fertigation

Charles Burt

There are numerous considerations in deciding what chemicals to fertigate. Because nitrogen fertilizer is injected more widely than any other nutrient, special attention is given to it in this presentation.

P 1998-003

On-Farm Irrigation Management - The Shift from Art to Science

Charles Burt

Excellent on-farm irrigation management and design have traditionally been promoted for reasons of improved yields and farm input costs. More recently, external pressures require even more detail to on-farm irrigation. These external pressures include competition for water by urban and environmental interests, plus degradation of aquifers and rivers. As irrigation progresses from an art to a science, new concepts must be adopted. Key points made in the paper relate to flexible water deliveries to farms, improved fertigation practices, the importance of on-farm irrigation evaluations, the use of an Irrigation Consumer Bill of Rights by dealers and farmers, and irrigation system hardware improvements.

P 1998-004

Selection of Irrigation Methods for Agriculture: Drip/Micro Irrigation

Charles Burt

The ASCE On-Farm Committee has recently completed a draft of a manual (Bliesner et al, 1998) on "Selection of Irrigation Methods for Agriculture". One of the chapters describes drip/micro irrigation methods. Numerous variations of drip/micro designs are discussed, along with advantages and disadvantages. This paper provides an overview of some aspects of that chapter.

P 1997-001

Fertigation Chemicals

Charles Burt

When deciding what chemicals to inject, there are numerous considerations to be made. This paper addresses some of the more common factors which should be considered, but which are often overlooked. Because nitrogen fertilizer is injected more widely than any other nutrient, special attention is given to it. One of the chapters describes drip/micro irrigation methods. Numerous variations of drip/micro designs are discussed, along with advantages and disadvantages. This paper provides an overview of some aspects of that chapter.

P 1996-001

Modern Water Control and Management Practices in Irrigation: Methodology and Criteria for Evaluating the Impact on Performance

Charles Burt

Modernization of irrigation projects results in an improved level of service to the ultimate users: the farmers. All modernization programs should contain: an evaluation of the present status of the project, including a description of the quality of water delivery service which is provided; realization by all project parties (from top management down to the lowest level operators) that the purpose of an irrigation project is to provide good water delivery service; an understanding by engineers of the important principles of water control structures and strategies, as they can be applied to providing better water delivery service; and deliberate implementation of modernization in steps which can be evaluated and corrected.

P 1995-001

Guidelines for Establishing Irrigation Scheduling Policies

Charles Burt

Successful on-farm irrigation scheduling requires that water delivery projects adopt a service concept, and that water deliveries be made with a high degrees of reliability. An arranged delivery schedule and seasonal volumetric allocations are additional requirements. Until these conditions are met, attempts to implement modern on-farm irrigation scheduling techniques to maximize water use efficiency, and to maximize yields will be only partially successful.

P 1995-002

Fertigation Techniques For Different Irrigation Methods

Charles Burt

This paper presents important tips and techniques for applying fertigation via different irrigation methods.

P 1995-004

Fertigation - The Next Frontier

Charles Burt

Just as irrigation dealers presently should specify pressure relief valves and air vents on all pipelined irrigation systems, future irrigation designs will incorporate a new generation of FERTIGATION (fertilization through the irrigation system) hardware. And farmers will use sophisticated techniques to monitor plant nutrient status and to determine the proper level of nutrients to spoon feed through fertigation.

P 1995-006

Irrigation Water Conservation - Benefits and Tradeoffs

Charles Burt

Water conservation must be examined within the context of a water balance for a zone of specified boundaries. On-farm conservation may not result in basin conservation, and may actually damage water supplies within the basin, especially if groundwater supplies dwindle. Conservation must also take place with recognition of water rights, and therefore concepts such as Irrigation Efficiency and Irrigation Sagacity must be well understood. Because of the diversity of hydrology, there is no single menu of water management improvements which are applicable in all cases. In the future, more emphasis will be placed upon improving crop yields with a given amount of water consumed, thereby maximizing the utilization of the scarce water resources.

P 1990-001

Canal Control Training

Charles Burt

When compared to other industrial processes, irrigation processes are poorly controlled. Due to the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of many present aspects of irrigation, a high degree of non-transferrability, or art, is associated with irrigation.

P 1990-002

Irrigation District Canal Automation - CARDD

Charles Burt

The first rule regarding irrigation district canal automation is that there is no single best method of automation. The locations of buffer reservoirs, the ability to allow water to spill at the ends of canals, the storage capacity of canal pools, and the topography will also play key roles in deciding if automation is desirable, and what type of automation should be used. These typical engineering considerations must also be coupled with recognition of the limitations and abilities of irrigation district staff regarding maintenance and trouble shooting of sophisticated controls.

P 1995-005

Identification and Quantification of Efficiency and Uniformity Components

Charles Burt, A.J. Clemmens, Kenneth Solomon

Proper usage of irrigation performance indicators such as uniformity and efficiency require standardized definitions and equations, specification of vertical and horizontal boundaries, inclusion of all pertinent components, and accurate measurement and estimation of those components. The quantification of some critical components is a challenge, and errors always exist.

P 2005-001

Leaching of Accumulated Soil Salinity Under Drip Irrigation

Charles Burt, Brett Isbell

ITRC conducted a reclamation leaching experiment in a drip-irrigated pistachio orchard south of Huron, California, during the winter of 2002-2003. The study was conducted to quantify the leaching water required to remove salts from the effective root zone of trees. This experiment tested a new reclamation leaching technique: multiple lines of drip tape were used to apply water to the area of salinity accumulation along a tree row.

P 2003-004

Long-Term Salinity Buildup on Drip/Micro Irrigation Trees in California

Charles Burt, Brett Isbell, Lisa Burt

ITRC hypothesized that there is salinity accumulation in the root zone of tree crops that have been irrigated with drip or micro-spray irrigation systems, located in arid and semi-arid regions. Therefore, a study was conducted by ITRC during the summer of 2002 to examine the long-term impact of drip and micro irrigation on salinity accumulation in orchards, focusing on the salinity concentration pattern across a soil profile. The project also provided information to support recommendations on the most effective and efficient leaching techniques.

P 1999-004

Modernization of the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District

Charles Burt, Dale Brogan

Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District (DEID) delivers water through closed reinforced concrete pipelines on an arranged schedule. Farmers are not allowed to operate their own turnouts, and individual turnout flow rate changes impact flow rates at all other turnouts on the same pipeline. DEID is in the process of a complete modernization program which will allow the farmers to operate their own turnouts on a very flexible arranged schedule. The modernization includes (i) a new water ordering program, (ii) new turnout designs with pressure regulators and new flow propeller flow meters, (iii) the use of hand held data recorders to document deliveries to turnouts, (iv) a SCADA system to monitor the pumping stations and key pressures, (v) integration of the SCADA system with the water ordering software, and (vi) installation of variable frequency controllers on some pumps to reduce energy consumption.

P 2001-002

Evaporation Estimates for Irrigated Agriculture in California

Charles Burt, Daniel Howes, Andrew Mutziger

All California irrigation districts that receive either federal or state water are now required to prepare Water Conservation Plans. For the first time in the history of most districts, they are developing an elementary water balance. The term "elementary" should be emphasized, because there are significant weaknesses in our knowledge of subsurface flows and some components of Evapotranspiration (ET). Irrigation districts generally use published typical values of ET for their water balance computations.

P 2008-001

Improving Pump Performance

Charles Burt, Franklin Gaudi, Daniel Howes

Options can be specified to minimize power consumption by vertical pumps - both when new and over the life of the pump. Options discussed include bowl coatings, proper well development, improved suction screens, using closed impeller designs, increasing column size, using new bearings, providing proper bearing lubrication, impeller balancing, and polishing impellers. The proper TDH and flow rate must be specified, and the advantages of VFD controls are covered.

P 1993-001

Irrigation Canal - Simulation Model Usage

Charles Burt, G. Gartrell

This paper details the uses, benefits, and drawbacks of implemeting unsteady canal simulation models for irrigation canals.

P 2001-001

Evaluation of Retrievable Drip Tape Irrigation Systems

Charles Burt, Jesse Barreras

This paper reports on research conducted at the Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) of Cal Poly to determine (1) typical design and management procedures for retrievable drip tape systems, and (2) how the discharge characteristics of reusable tape changes with time.

P 1994-002

Monolithic Concrete Irrigation Pipe

Charles Burt, John Wegener

Monolithic concrete pipe (also known as Cast-in-Place Concrete Pipe (CIPCP) or Cast-In-Place Pipe (CIPP)) is widely used in some regions for purposes such as storm, sewer, or irrigation pipelines. It is reported by The Sierra Group that there are over 15 million linear feet (4.6 million linear meters) of CIPCP under various applications. Nevertheless, many irrigation engineers, especially outside the U.S., are unaware of CIPCP. Monolithic concrete irrigation pipe is seldom mentioned in irrigation design literature. This paper has been written to familiarize irrigation engineers with additional design options. Cited references can be used to obtain technical and installation details.

P 2008-002

Canal Seepage Reduction by Soil Compaction (1)

Charles Burt, Marcus Cardenas, Mohamed Grissa

Large-scale tests were conducted of in-place compaction of irrigation district earthen canal bottoms and sides. Five canal pools with sandy loam soils were compacted, with four results presently available. Seepage reduction of about 86% was obtained when the sides and bottoms were compacted; reductions of 12-31% were obtained when only sides were compacted.

P 2002-003

Breaking the Technology Barriers Imposed by Cast-In-Place Concrete Pipe in Irrigation Districts - Case Study of South San Joaquin Irrigation District

Charles Burt, Michael Gilton, Kevin Johansen, Keith Crowe

South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID) in Manteca, California, is beginning an ambitious modernization program to increase its water delivery flexibility. The district has over 200 miles of 30-60 inch cast-in-place (CIP) concrete pipeline that currently allow for little flexibility. SSJID will install four reinforced concrete interceptor pipelines and regulating reservoirs to redistribute water among the CIP pipelines and provide improved flexibility. The district's goal is to improve efficiency and encourage farmers with pressurized irrigation systems to shift from well water to surface water.

P 2008-003

Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency in California - A Commentary

Charles Burt, Peter Canessa, Larry Schwankl, David Zoldoske

This is a commentary on some of the key points that are presented in "More with Less: Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency in California" by Cooley, Christian-Smith, and Gleick of the Pacific Institute, September 2008.

P 2002-002

Electric Load Shifting in Irrigation Districts

Charles Burt, Ricardo Amon, Darren Cordova

The California Energy Commission (CEC), acting under authority of Section 5(b) of the legislation, developed the Agricultural Peak Load Reduction Program. The program was announced on June 1, 2001, and Cal Poly ITRC administers the irrigation district portion of the program for CEC. During the first 9 months of implementation, the irrigation districts voluntarily participated in load shifting, utilizing approximately $6.2 million in cost-sharing grant money. In addition, approximately 550 pumps were tested and pump repairs were made, resulting in an estimated savings of 16 million kWh.

P 1993-002

GIS Utilization for Analysis of District Drainage Water Recycling

Charles Burt, Robert Walker

An ARC-INFO GIS system was used to identify physical drainage facilities in a 32,000 ha area of the San Joaquin Valley of California. Once the drainage facilities and linkages were established, it was possible to characterize the strategies used by various irrigation districts to control drainage outflows to the San Joaquin River. The motivation behind the study was the reduction of salt and selenium flows, via agricultural drainage, into the river.

P 2009-001

Canal Seepage Reduction by Soil Compaction (2)

Charles Burt, Sierra Orvis, Nadya Alexander

Simple in-situ vibratory soil compaction of earth lined canals was tested to determine the impact on seepage losses. Commercial equipment was used for vibratory compaction of long sections of five irrigation district earthen canals. Ponding tests were conducted before and after compaction. When the sides and bottoms of the canals were compacted, seepage reductions of about 90% were obtained; reductions of 16 to 31% were obtained when only sides were compacted.

P 2003-002

Conceptualizing Irrigation Project Modernization Through Benchmarking and the Rapid Appraisal Process

Charles Burt, Stuart Styles

Benchmarking is defined as a systematic process for achieving continued improvement in the irrigation sector through comparisons with relevant and achievable internal or external goals, norms, and standards. The three aspects of benchmarking are: evaluation of technical indicators (both internal and external); appraisal of the system processes; and an evaluation of service to users and their satisfaction with that service. The authors have incorporated all three components into a training program in which project staff learn the concepts of modernization and then evaluate their own project in a systematic Rapid Appraisal Process (RAP).

P 1999-007

Irrigation District Service in the Western U.S.

Charles Burt, Stuart Styles

Data were obtained from 61 agricultural districts within the Mid-Pacific Region of the USBR regarding the level of water delivery service provided to users, water pricing, associated characteristics, and plans for modernization. A Flexibility Index (FI) was developed to characterize the degree of water delivery flexibility provided by each district. Based on results, a program for technical assistance to irrigation districts was developed and implemented.

P 1997-002

Irrigation District Modernization for the Western U.S.

Charles Burt, Stuart Styles, M. Fidell, E. Reifsneider

Many irrigation districts throughout the western U.S. have been actively engaged in modernization efforts. In most cases, the modernization improves the level of water delivery service (flexibility and reliability) provided to farmers. In many cases, the impetus and/or funding has come from external sources. These external sources include persistent droughts, an opportunity to sell water which is conserved and transferred, the need to increase in-stream flow rates by reducing diversions from rivers, and the need to improve downstream water quality by decreasing the drainage outflows.

P 1995-003

Response of Controlled Canals to Downstream Withdrawals

Charles Burt, T.S. Strelkoff, J.L. Deltour

Most research on downstream control of canals has dealt with the problem of selecting and calibrating a suitable algorithm which can dictate gate movements, with the objectives of achieving a rapid and stable recovery of the downstream water level in the case of any deviation of that water level from a desired target depth. This paper addresses another equally important factor in achieving the desirable control - the influence of the canal characteristics on controllability. This paper will not provide a simple, definitive, and universal formula to predict controllability. However, it will present the problem, along with options which are available to examine the problem further on individual design cases.

P 2002-001

Advances in PLC-Based Canal Automation

Charles Burt, Xianshu Piao

A short history of canal automation is given. PLC-based canal automation is relatively new. Advances in PLC-based canal automation are listed. Also listed are some of the remaining challenges. Recent advances have been made in understanding unsteady flow simulation procedures, the form of the control algorithms used, the tuning procedures for these control algorithms, and the field programming of the algorithms into PLCs. The experiences of ITRC in automating a variety of canals with upstream and downstream control are given.

P 2014-008

Groundwater Nitrate in California: What Should be Done?

Charles M. Burt

This PowerPoint presentation discusses current issues concerning nitrates in groundwater in California, as well as recommendations made to the State Water Board by the Nitrate Task Force.

P 2014-001

Irrigation System Regulating (Buffer) Reservoirs

Charles M. Burt

Regulating reservoirs (also known as balancing or buffer reservoirs) are very commonly used in western US irrigation district modernization projects with canal systems. Some districts have a dozen or more reservoirs within total service areas of 20,000

P 2014-002

Groundwater Challenges

Charles M. Burt

Groundwater is something that traditionally has not been well understood, and is often treated as an ever-present back-up plan for irrigation. The water rights laws in the western US and elsewhere almost exclusively formalized rules about and concentrated on surface water flows, while simultaneously ignoring the problem of groundwater depletion.

P 2016-002

Estimation of ET for Groundwater Models Using the ITRC-METRIC Process

Charles M. Burt

This paper discusses groundwater modeling with respect to the upper boundary of the aquifer and presents ITRC-developed techniques for computing ET with the ITRC-METRIC procedure.

P 2016-001

Managing Drip Filter Backflush Water

Charles M. Burt

This paper discusses the principles of backflushing different types of filters, as well as pressure and flow requirements for proper backflushing of various filters. Additionally, it discusses options for what to do with the backflush water. A prototype ITRC design for cleaning and recycling backflush water is presented.

P 2012-004

Pump Performance with Sand Wear

Charles M. Burt, Kyle Feist

In many installations, pump performance declines over time due to sand wear. In order to pinpoint the type and rate of wear caused by pumping water with higher-than-average sand concentrations and its direct effect on various pump impeller materials, vertical pump impeller/bowl assemblies of approximately 900 GPM were each pumped for up to 2500 hours with high concentrations of sand in the water.

P 2010-005

Subcritical Contraction Design for Improved Open Channel Flow Measurement Accuracy with an Upward-Looking Acoustic Doppler Velocity Meter

Daniel Howes, Charles Burt, Brett Sanders

A 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was used to establish design criteria of a subcritical rapidly varied flow (RVF) contraction that provides a constant cross section in addition to a consistent, linear relationship between the upward-looking ADVM sample velocity and the cross-sectional average velocity, in order to improve ADVM accuracy without the need for in situ calibration. CFD simulations validated the subcritical contraction in a rectangular and trapezoidal cross section by showing errors within +1.8% and -2.2%. Physical testing of the subcritical contraction coupled with an upward-looking ADVM in a large rectangular flume provided laboratory validation with measurement errors within +/-4% without calibration.

P 2003-003

GIS Mapping for Irrigation District Rapid Appraisals

Daniel Howes, Charles Burt, Stuart Styles

GIS mapping is slowly becoming commonplace in irrigation districts as the need for more accurate and organized data becomes increasingly important. ITRC commonly uses GIS as a tool in technical assistance packages for irrigation districts. One of the challenges in developing a strategic irrigation district modernization plan is to organize spatial data in such a way that various options can be easily understood. ITRC uses a combination of commercially available software with web-downloadable maps and photographs to organize and present the spatial information. An example of information organization for a Rapid Appraisal Process (RAP) of Tulare Irrigation District (TID) is given.

P 2007-003

Effluent Nitrogen Management for Agricultural Re-Use Applications

Daniel Howes, Franklin Gaudi, Donald Ton

Utilizing treated domestic wastewater to grow forage crops is becoming commonplace in regions that cannot release effluent into oceans or rivers. A key concern when using disinfected secondary treated water is nitrogen percolating below the root zone and reaching the groundwater. A 2,000-acre wastewater reuse site with 27 center pivots in Palmdale, California is being utilized by the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County to reuse approximately 8 to 9 million gallons per day of treated wastewater from the city of Palmdale. Through the development of a daily soil water/nitrogen balance model, combined with an overall cropping and monitoring strategy, the nitrogen deep percolation has been minimized throughout the reuse area to levels that are below Regional Board requirements.

P 2012-002

Basin-Wide Remote Sensing of Actual Evapotranspiration and its Influence on Regional Water Resources Planning

Daniel J. Howes, Charles M. Burt, Kyle Feist

ITRC has been using METRIC to compute actual evapotranspiration from remote sensing sources (namely LandSAT images). The driving force behind this is the increasing need for improved evapotranspiration information on a large scale. A recent study in the Mexicali Valley of Baja California, Mexico utilized the ITRC-modified METRIC procedure to compute the crop and riparian evapotranspiration component of a basin-wide water balance. The resulting comparison between the mass balance computed change in groundwater storage and that computed using groundwater elevation data showed excellent agreement. For water planning, the spatial variability in evapotranspiration can be very important. In this case, there was significant non-uniformity of evapotranspiration that can be attributed to irrigation and drainage infrastructure and management. Planned improvements in both irrigation and drainage infrastructure will likely lead to improved evapotranspiration uniformity, resulting in higher per-acre water consumption. Possible solutions will be discussed.

P 2014-005

Evaluating Net Groundwater Use from Remotely Sensed Evapotranspiration and Water Delivery Information

Daniel J. Howes, Charles M. Burt, Lucas Hoffmann

A detailed, comprehensive, and accurate identification of groundwater aquifer properties will likely never be fully achieved because of the high degree of variability and costs that testing involves. Furthermore, accurate estimates of boundary conditions are essential for groundwater modeling so that investigations of improved management scenarios can be conducted. The lack of key input values at the ground surface boundary limits the ability to accurately assess aquifer dynamics. Of major importance is actual evapotranspiration (water consumption or the loss of water to the atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation). The Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) modified remotely sensed satellite imagery for spatial computation of actual evapotranspiration at high resolution, and integrated it into groundwater models. This paper focuses on an additional tool to assist in the calibration of groundwater models, which results in the NET contribution to or extraction from groundwater (NTFGW). By comparing surface water deliveries, precipitation, runoff, and evapotranspiration, the NTFGW can be computed spatially throughout a region. This provides a critical set of known information, in addition to historic groundwater elevation data, that can be used in model calibration.

P 2015-002

Evapotranspiration from Natural Vegetation in the Central Valley of California: Monthly Grass Reference-Based Vegetation Coefficients and the Dual Cro

Daniel J. Howes, Daniel J. Howes, Phyllix Fox, and Paul H. Hutton

Restoration activities in the Central Valley of California and elsewhere require accurate evapotranspiration information, which can then be used for a wide variety of surface and subsurface hydrologic evaluations. However, directly measuring evapotranspiration can be difficult or impossible depending on the evaluation

P 2012-003

Comparison of Field Level and Regional Actual ETc Values Developed from Remote Sensing and Dual Crop Coefficient Procedure

Daniel J. Howes, Lucas Hoffmann, Franklin Gaudi

Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) estimates are important for regional water planning as well as irrigation scheduling. Traditional ETc computations utilize published crop coefficients (basal) that are adjusted on a daily basis depending on soil water availability (i.e., dual crop coefficient method). Recent advancements include using remote sensing data such as LandSAT combined with a surface energy balance algorithm (METRIC), allowing crop evapotranspiration to be computed for each pixel throughout images taken during the season. There are limitations and advantages for both methods.

P 2012-001

Spatial Variability in Evapotranspiration Related to Irrigation System Distribution Uniformity

Daniel J. Howes, Lucas Hoffmann, Franklin Gaudi

Understanding the causes of variable ET in a field is critical for maximizing yield on a per-acre basis as well as for proper irrigation scheduling and regional water management. Since 2004, the ITRC has provided technical irrigation support and management for over 2,000 acres of center pivot irrigated forage crops being supplied by reclaimed water near Palmdale, California. Irrigation scheduling is conducted using a daily soil water balance dual crop coefficient approach. Detailed records on planting and harvest dates, daily water applications, pivot run speeds, and annual distribution uniformity evaluations are maintained along with daily reference evapotranspiration data from a station on site. Since accurate records on pivot distribution uniformity are available, and most of the pivots were under moderate deficit irrigation in one of the years analyzed, a portion of the spatial variability in ETc can be attributed (quantifiably) to this non-uniformity in irrigation distribution.

P 2014-003

Grass Referenced Based Vegetation Coefficients for Estimating Evapotranspiration for a Variety of Natural Vegetation

Daniel J. Howes, Mariana Pasquet

In arid and semi-arid regions, evapotranspiration from vegetation results in the significant utilization of available water. Accurate estimates of evapotranspiration are required for surface and subsurface hydrologic evaluations as well as irrigation district water balance studies.

P 2015-001

Center Pivot Sprinkler Distribution Uniformity Impacts on the Spatial Variability of Evapotranspiration

Daniel J. Howes, Sean Ellenson, Lucas Hoffmann, and Franklin Gaudi

Understanding variable evapotranspiration (ET) throughout a field can help maximize yield on a per-acre basis, as well as assist with proper irrigation scheduling. The results from this study indicate that irrigation system distribution uniformity (DU) has a significant effect on the uniformity of ET during water-stressed periods.

P 2002-006

Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District Flow Monitoring Program

Dennis Perkins, Stuart Styles, Marcus Yasutake

In 1996, the USBR, Mid-Pacific Region, Northern California Area Office began the Willows Flow Monitoring Program to monitor, in near real-time, 85% of the Sacramento River Diversions from Shasta Dam to Sacramento. One of the sites identified for flow monitoring was the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) canal at the Stoney Creek Siphon. At question was the application and functionality of the Acoustic Doppler Flow Meters (ADFM) inside the siphon channels. Data were relayed through a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system provided by Sierra Controls of Carson City, Nevada.

P 2007-002

Center Pivot Design for Effluent Irrigation of Agricultural Forage Crops

Franklin Gaudi, Daniel Howes, Donald Ton

Twenty-seven center pivots in Palmdale, California required new custom-designed sprinkler packages to dispose of approximately 7,000 gallons per minute of treated wastewater. Through innovative design efforts, extensive testing and field experimentation, a standardized package has been adopted by the County Sanitation District of Los Angeles County that enables a highly efficient application of re-used city wastewater without groundwater degradation throughout the year.

P 2002-004

Modernizing Irrigation Facilities at Sutter Mutual Water Company - A Case Study

Frederick Schantz, Stuart Styles, Beau Freeman, Charles Burt, Douglas Stevens

In 1999 Sutter Mutual Water Company (SMWC) began an effort to modernize its water-distribution system in an attempt to reduce operation and maintenance costs and conserve water and power resources. The effort encompassed two projects within the company's service area: (1) the automation of a pumping plant with a new VFD pump and SCADA system and (2) the demonstration of new SCADA-compatible electronic flow measurement technologies for both canals and pipelines. The anticipated, and ultimately realized, benefits of the modernization effort was a savings to the company due to a reduction in the amount of water diverted, power consumed and number of personnel required to operate and maintain its system.

P 2013-001

Pipeline and Canal Downstream Control System for Recirculation - Patterson ID Case Study

John Sweigard, Charles M. Burt, Peter Rietkerk

To eliminate spill and to provide better flexibility, a system was designed and constructed in Patterson Irrigation District (California) to tie the ends of five laterals together with pipes and pumps, with one central regulating reservoir. This paper describes the control philosophy, design, costs, challenges, and benefits of this SCADA-monitored downstream control system.

P 2014-004

Flow Measurement Options for Canal Turnouts

Kyle Feist, Charles M. Burt

Volumetric record-keeping, billing, and allocations at irrigation district delivery points (turnouts) are the norm, rather than the exception for most California irrigation districts. However, many older districts are just beginning these efforts, and other districts are trying to improve existing hardware and procedures. Volumetric accounting with high accuracy and a reasonable price presents unique engineering challenges for irrigation districts because of the variety of existing structures and configurations at irrigation delivery points. Because it is likely that irrigation districts will attempt to utilize existing devices, or slightly modify them, there is a need for standardized installation and/or calibration. This paper discusses three efforts to adapt, improve, and/or calibrate existing technologies for flow rate and volumetric metering of canal turnouts.

P 2012-005

Characterization of Pumps for Irrigation in Central California: Potential Energy Savings

Luis Perez Urrestarazu, Charles M. Burt

In this paper, the information recovered from over 15,000 electric irrigation pump tests in central California is analyzed. The objectives of this study are to define the common characteristics attributed to pumps with best and worst performance and to identify the possible target groups that might benefit from improvements, obtaining potential energy savings.

P 2002-005

Case Study: Installation of Canal Control Structures on the Government Highline Canal

Ram Dhan Khalsa, Stuart Styles, Charles Burt, Robert Norman

The Government Highline Canal Modernization Study was completed in April 2000 to evaluate options for reducing the flow rate requirement of the Government Highline Canal in order to increase the water supply in the "15-Mile Reach" of the Colorado River, thereby helping sustain habitat for fish species identified as endangered.

P 2011-010

Characteristics of Pump Performance in Major Irrigated Areas of California

Sierra Orvis, Charles Burt, Luis Perez Urrestarazu

Well pump tests (12,876) in three Central California groundwater basins were characterized and described according to their spatial distribution. The average overall pumping plant efficiency (wire-water, not including column losses and velocity head) was about 56%. Characteristics such as drawdown, total dynamic heads, kW, and flow rate vary greatly between pumps within and between sub-basins. This is the first well pump characterization of its type in California, although irrigation pump tests have been conducted for over 70 years in California. This paper provides a summary of the spatial variation of well pump performance and characteristics.

P 2005-002

Non-Standard Structure Flow Measurement Evaluation Using the Flow Rate Indexing Procedure - QIP

Stuart Styles

This paper summarizes the results of a performance evaluation using advanced hydroacoustic rating techniques in irrigation canal systems. Standardized field-testing procedures and technical specifications for index velocity ratings have been developed for rating measurement locations using hydroacoustic flow meters. Water managers and users of advanced electronic flow measuring devices can improve the cost-effectiveness, accuracy, and quality control of discharge records, even at sites with complex flow conditions, by observing these recommended guidelines.

P 1999-002

Subsurface Flows Water Balance Components for Irrigation Districts in the San Joaquin Valley

Stuart Styles, Charles Burt

Cal Poly ITRC has conducted several water balances for regions or districts within the San Joaquin Valley. In each case, the greatest unknown component for the water balance is subsurface flows (ITRC, 1994). Water balance calculations can be confusing, especially in districts where there is groundwater pumping. This paper will discuss ITRC efforts to determine both lateral and vertical components of subsurface flow, the accuracy of the estimates, and the impact upon the accuracy of the final estimates of irrigation district or regional irrigation efficiencies.

P 2008-005

Accuracy of Global Microirrigation Distribution Uniformity Estimates

Stuart Styles, Charles Burt, Franklin Gaudi, Sierra Orvis

Emitter pressures and flow rates were systematically and extensively sampled in one drip and one microspray field. The data distributions are presented. The accuracy of rapid (limited samples) evaluation pressure sampling procedures was found to be quite good if the pressure distribution was systematic, but erroneous if the pressure distribution throughout a field was random. A simple mathematical combination of two nonuniformity components (due to pressure differences, and other causes of flow variation) provided a better estimate of overall system distribution uniformity than more complex mathematics.

P 1999-006

Case Study: Modernization of the Patterson Irrigation District

Stuart Styles, Charles Burt, Mike Lehmkuhl, John Sweigard

ITRC has been working in conjunction with the Patterson Irrigation District (PID) on modernization of the district's facilities. Modernization of the facilities have included unsteady flow simulation of the first pool in the main canal system, a new SCADA system, a large Replogle flume in the first main canal pool, remote monitoring of water levels, downstream control of the canal, the use of variable frequency drives for the pump stations, and design of flow control/measurement strategies for the heads of the lateral canals. This paper will provide the basic guidelines and components for a phased approach to this ongoing modernization effort.

P 1999-005

Case Study: Modernization of the Government Highline Canal

Stuart Styles, Charles Burt, Ram Dhan Khalsa, Robert Norman

The Government Highline Canal Modernization Study was completed to evaluate options for reducing the flow rate requirement of the Government Highline Canal during the late Summer and Fall water delivery months. The intent was to develop a design for which Colorado River diversions could be better matched to on-farm demands. The two primary challenges associated with reducing diversions are that (i) at low canal flows many turnouts do not have sufficient pressure, and (ii) it is difficult to schedule diversions to match deliveries.

P 2011-003

Strawberry Transplants: Modifying Irrigation Methods for Establishment

Stuart Styles, Chuck Bates

The purpose of the project is to develop an analysis of the current irrigation practices of strawberry growers on the Central Coast of California. The primary research evaluation centers on the time period during the establishment of transplants where sprinklers are used even though drip irrigation is available, often due to salinity concerns.

P 2011-002

Strawberries: Effects of Modifying Irrigation Methods for Transplant Establishment

Stuart Styles, Lynn Groundwater, Curtis Lutje

In 2009, the Cal Poly Irrigation Training and Research Center began a multi-year analysis of the current irrigation practices of strawberry growers on the Central Coast of California. Specifically, the project examines the impacts of salinity on young strawberry transplants and the current practice of sprinkler use during the establishment of transplants for salinity control in areas where drip irrigation is available.

P 2002-007

Water Delivery Service as a Determinant of Irrigation Project Performance

Stuart Styles, M.A. Marino

Performance of an irrigation system is represented by its measured levels of achievement in terms of one or several parameters that are chosen as indicators of the system's goals. The purpose of this paper is to utilize and refine a set of evaluation indicators that can be used to describe the irrigation performance for sixteen international irrigation projects in less-developed countries. The results from this study are very clear -- modernized irrigation design can positively impact irrigation project performance.

P 2003-001

Canal Velocity Indexing at Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) Irrigation Project in Parker, Arizona using the SonTek Argonaut SL

Stuart Styles, Mike Niblack, Beau Freeman

An index velocity rating was developed for a SonTek/YSI Argonaut Side-Looking (SL) ultrasonic Doppler flow meter installed in the Main Canal of the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) Irrigation Project in Parker, Arizona. Velocity data collected concurrently with the ultrasonic flow meter and conventional current meter were compared using linear regression techniques. The rating equation for this installation provides a reasonably accurate means of computing discharge.

P 2013-002

Unique Replogle Flume Installations at the Truckee Carson Irrigation District

Stuart W. Styles, Brandon Downing, Walter Winder

The Water Measurement Program (WMP) for Truckee Carson Irrigation District (TCID) began in 1997, when ITRC was asked to develop a volumetric measurement plan for TCID. This program was intended to develop and install reasonably accurate turnout delivery measurement techniques in the district. As part of the WMP, TCID was required to install a number of new open-channel measurement devices. TCID opted for the Replogle flume as its primary flow measurement device using the newly developed WinFlume computer program.

P 2009-002

Evaluation of Magnetic Meters for Irrigation Pipeline Measurement

Stuart W. Styles, Bryan Busch

Magnetic flow meters are used to measure the flow rate of a liquid in a closed pipeline. This type of meter is becoming increasingly popular for measurement with agriculture applications. Electromagnetic meters were tested by ITRC in pipelines located less than the 10 diameters upstream of disturbances with good results. Results show that location guidelines for placing a magnetic meter can be decreased even for turbulent conditions. This paper will discuss how a magnetic flow meter works, advantages and disadvantages of this type of meter, test results, and new guidelines for field applications.

P 2014-006

Implementation of New Irrigation Protocols on Strawberry Transplants on the California Central Coast

Stuart W. Styles, Kerilyn Ambrosini

From 2009-2014, ITRC has conducted research on water use, salinity levels and various other factors related to strawberry transplant establishment. This report summarizes research that can be found online:

P 2014-007

Pressure Recorders: Low-Cost, Robust, Low-Battery-Use Field Measurement Techniques for Trending Water Pressure

Stuart W. Styles, Kerilyn Ambrosini

Water users across California need robust, low-cost water level/pressure sensors with integrated data loggers for a high level of precision and accuracy. ITRC has installed Telog Instruments devices in California and Nevada over the last 12 years to provide a performance review of the devices.

P 2012-006

Implementation of Magnetic Meters for Irrigation Volumetric Measurement

Stuart W. Styles, Lynn Groundwater

The irrigation industry is experiencing a growth in the use of magnetic meters for measuring the flow rate and volume in irrigation pipelines. Historically, propeller meters have been the device selected by users. New legislation in California (SB7x7) will require measurement devices at key locations for irrigation water delivery. Some users are very interested in the magnetic meter for making the measurement at the turnout or farm gate. The key feature of the new meter is the ability for the device to work in less than ideal flow conditions. Electromagnetic meters have been tested by ITRC in lab and field pipelines located less than the 10 diameters upstream of disturbances with good results. There are several manufacturers that are selling units to the irrigation market as well as several types of magnetic meter designs. This paper discusses how a magnetic flow meter works, advantages/disadvantages of this type of meter, test results, and new guidelines for field applications.

P 2011-013

Strawberries: Effects of Modifying Irrigation Methods for Transplant Establishment

Stuart W. Styles, Lynn Groundwater, Curtis Lutje

In 2009, ITRC began a multi-year analysis of the current irrigation practices of strawberry growers on the Central Coast of California. Specifically, the project examines the impacts of salinity on young strawberry transplants and the current practice of sprinkler use during the establishment of transplants for salinity control in areas where drip irrigation is available. The overall goal of the project is to study current practices and determine any conditions where growers can minimize or eliminate sprinkler use on strawberries, thereby conserving water, saving pumping costs, and reducing runoff. Results from the first year of the study have suggested that, contrary to previous belief, using reduced sprinkler or only drip irrigation results in higher yields than conventional methods.

P 2011-012

Implementation and Field Calibration Pipeline Doppler Meters in Northern California

Stuart W. Styles, Lynn Groundwater, Jim Weathers

The Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority (TCCA) has been using SonTek Doppler flow meters at approximately 30 installations for about 3 years. TCCA is located in northern California with its headquarters in Willows. The Cal Poly ITRC compared the accuracy of the flow measurement readings from the new Doppler flow meters to the venturi meters that were installed by the US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). The venturis were used as the historical standard for flow measurement for TCCA. TCCA has opted to move away from the existing technology for a variety of reasons, especially due to the issue concerning access requirements for an enclosed space. TCCA has opted to use the Doppler meter as the replacement. In past studies, ITRC has used the R-Squared statistic to set the minimum number of data points for calibration. This paper evaluates the technique used by USGS to report the calibration of a meter.