Low-Energy Pipeline

A Low Energy Pipeline (LEP) is a gravity-fed shared pipeline system that uses large diameter Rubicon BladeMeter service points and smart software to distribute water from channels to multiple farms.


Pipelines are subject to hydraulic constraints such as available head (pressure), the capacity of the channel upstream, pipe diameter and the diameter of the service point. These constraints limit the amount of water that can be supplied within a given timeframe.

Traditional gravity-fed pipelines serving multiple properties provide users with unreliable and inconsistent flows. Pressurised systems rely on pumping to improve service but incur high energy costs.

With the LEP’s smart technology it’s now possible to provide a high level of service within the tight pressure head constraints of a gravity pipeline.

Confluent software schedules water orders and uses detailed knowledge of pipe network dynamics, combined with automated service points to avoid fluctuations in pressure and flows caused by neighbouring valves interfering with each other. All properties along the pipeline receive high and consistent flows.

The LEP software automatically manages water orders to ensure they don’t exceed the ability of the pipeline to fulfil them. When an order is received, the software uses a hydraulic model of the pipeline to check its timing and flow rate against concurrent orders and pipeline capacity. If there is not enough capacity to meet the required flow rate for the duration of the order, the system gives the option of rescheduling, accepting a lower flow rate or choosing to pump if it’s a hybrid LEP.

Hybrid LEPs have a pump installed at the pipe intake to boost the gravity system. This provides the choice of pumping to maintain pressure (and hence flows) at times of high demand, so that multiple irrigations can occur simultaneously along the pipeline.

Features and Benefits

High and consistent flows

Large diameter service points and sophisticated software deliver high and consistent flows enabling high-performance surface irrigation.

Near on-demand supply

The LEP’s automated service points can supply water near on-demand, so crops have water when they need it and you can grow more productively.

Improved lifestyle

Being able to rely on consistent flow rates means you don’t have to constantly check irrigation progress. You can manage irrigation with more certainty, more peace of mind and fewer sleepless nights.

Lower energy costs

The LEP avoids the energy costs of full-time pressurised pipelines, while still providing great service.


BladeMeter service points automatically open and close so you don’t have to be onsite to start and finish an irrigation.


The BladeMeter’s integrated meter accurately measures high and low flows, so the LEP can deliver water at rates suited to all crop types and irrigation methods. Plus with a hybrid LEP, system capacity can be increased if needed.


BladeMeters provide accurate metering at each LEP service point, so you can be sure everybody is getting their fair share.


The LEP solution can fully integrate with Rubicon Water’s channel automation system and customers will benefit from convenient phone and online water ordering. When ordering online, available capacity is shown on a graph, making scheduling simple.

Future proof

It’s relatively easy to add additional service points or convert a gravity-only system to a hybrid system in the future, so the solution can grow as your needs change, with low additional cost.

Improved delivery efficiency

Replacing open channels with buried pipes improves efficiency and reduces water losses.

Lower whole-of-life costs

Serving multiple properties with a single, efficiently operated pipeline incurs lower capital costs compared to individual connections. Plus the BladeMeter’s integrated valve and flow meter design reduces maintenance, and there are no buried components for easy service access.


BladeMeter Pipe Meter for high flow gravity irrigation


The BladeMeter is a combined pipe valve and flow meter. With the BladeMeter it is now possible to automatically deliver precise quantities of water at both high and low flow rates in pipelines using gravity pressure.

The BladeMeter sits at the outlet end of a pipe and modulates to maintain a constant flow rate even when the supply pressure is fluctuating. With remote control built-in, it can be pre-set to turn on and off automatically to deliver a constant and accurately measured flow rate and volume, day or night.

Its compact, all-in-one design ensures rapid installation, reliable operation and easy maintenance. The BladeMeter’s large diameter and unique dual plate actuation system reduces head loss, helps prevent weed fouling and makes it easy to service.

And by using Sonaray flow measurement technology it measures accurately at high and very low flow rates, so it has the flexibility to deliver water at rates suited to any crop type and irrigation method.

SCADAConnect Icon


SCADAConnect is Rubicon’s SCADA software designed specifically for irrigation. It provides the ability to monitor and manage all field devices, with comprehensive alarm management and the ability to do sophisticated trend analysis.

Irrigation Radio Communication Network Icon

Radio Network

Rubicon’s engineers will design and install a communication system that will enable the inter-communication between BladeMeters in the LEP system and integrate with any existing Rubicon technology. This provides remote monitoring of all field equipment from the control centre.

NeuroFlo Icon


NeuroFlo Network Control is the software that determines the response of each BladeMeter and coordinates the propagation of flow information within the pipeline.