The Bellavista Canal in northern Chile’s Coquimbo Region has undergone significant modernisation, integrating Rubicon Water’s telemetry and automated FlumeGate technology. This introduction of technology is benefitting approximately 1,500 irrigators and is achieving substantial increases in water distribution efficiency.
“The canal’s efficiency has improved to nearly 85%, enabling us to confidently apply for projects under the Irrigation Promotion Law as we witness tangible results. Without the technology integration, water wouldn’t reach the canal’s end, and irrigators now noticing increased yields on-farm” shares Bruno Zandonai Dalbosco, the organization’s president.
The Bellavista Canal stretches across 60 kilometers in the Elqui Province, complemented by an additional 135kms of secondary channels. The introduction of automated gates is improving irrigation practices for over 4,500 hectares. These regulation and measurement structures, consisting mainly of FlumeGates, are strategically positioned at 14 key sites within the network.
The president of Canal Bellavista emphasises, “The goal with implementing the gates was to gain full control of the entire channel, and we have successfully achieved it. This accomplishment has resulted in a more efficient use in water deliveries.”
This Association has significantly reduced operating costs, prompting the addition of more automated structures. One notable advantage is the ability to control most operations from their La Serena office, eliminating the need for constant on-site visits. The real-time information from the gates proves crucial for making irrigation decisions based on current, accurate data and historical flow figures. This transparent data is improving daily collaboration with growers.
Managing and monitoring emergencies with technology
Manuel Domínguez, civil engineer and advisor to the Bellavista Canal, highlights the advantages in adopting technology through the capability to handle unexpected events. The alarm system integrated within the gates enables the organisation to proactively respond to floods triggered by intense rains (an area unaccustomed to such rainfall) or seismic activity that might jeopardize the irrigation infrastructure.
“This technology isn’t solely for irrigation control; it provides valuable information, like detecting earthquakes. We’ve implemented a protocol for sites upstream of tunnels. During earthquakes, we closely monitor them, as there might be detachment inside the tunnel, leading to potential obstructions that could pose issues within the channel. We’ve experienced this before, and thanks to Rubicon, we averted accidents,” highlights Domínguez.
He adds that “without automatic deliveries, any system change results in water volumes reaching the end of the channel. With automated gates, all these volumes within the channel are efficiently directed to the right place, preventing wastage. This aspect is incredibly significant.”