Irrigators in Latin America recognise the benefits of channel automation

Canal associations note improved water metering, distribution, and cost savings. Now, water reaches end-of-system farmers, enhancing overall efficiency.

Rubicon Water is a key player in agricultural water management technology, bringing substantial experience to project design, implementation and large-scale automation of gravity-fed irrigation networks. The technology leverages sophisticated software and communication infrastructure to enable managers of channel networks to operate their system with high levels of efficiency and control. By connecting intelligent gates, flow meters, and water level sensors, our solution enhances productivity through efficient water resource management and precise control.

In Latin America, the Association of Canalysts of Canal Camarico in northern Chile’s Coquimbo Region is among the latest organizations to integrate Rubicon’s telemetry gates. Cristian Carrión Henríquez, the Association’s president, highlights the technology’s impact, stating, “We now have immediate management and control, as these gates provide real-time information on incoming water. Irrigators observe a significantly improved and more reliable service from the association.”

Camarico is one of over 30 districts in the region who’ve noted substantial enhancements in water use efficiency, all thanks to automated channel regulation.

Chile grapples with an enduring 14-year drought, with over 50% of the country’s regions facing water scarcity, impacting 47.5% of the population, as per 2022 studies by the General Directorate of Water (DGA).

Twelve regions, along with rural communes in the Metropolitan Region, have declared agricultural emergencies. In the Coquimbo Region, northern Chile, the Elqui River Surveillance Board, managing 95% of its water supply, has implemented Rubicon technology to better manage these resources. Critical for a 125-thousand-hectare basin, the automated control technology ensures precise water distribution, vital for agricultural production, including the significant Pisco industry. Gabriel Varela Cano, the Board’s president, credits Rubicon and the technology for improving the water situation within the region.

The Association of Canalysts of the Bellavista Canal, in the same northern region, shares encouraging outcomes. Overseeing water distribution to 1,500 farmers, President Bruno Zandonai Dalbosco notes a substantial 85% improvement in channel efficiency.

This enhancement, facilitated by Rubicon’s technology, spans a 60-kilometre canal with gates strategically placed at 14 sites. The technology ensures precise irrigation across 4,500 hectares of crops. Without this incorporation, water wouldn’t reach the canal’s end, demonstrating increased water yield and overall efficiency.

Zandonai emphasises the pivotal role technology is playing in achieving more efficient water deliveries.


“Rubicon enables the management of a channel system, whether by flow or volume, allowing the manipulation of various delivery structures directly from a computer or phone. Through a straightforward operation of opening and closing floodgates, we can deliver water precisely where the farmer needs it,” explains Rodrigo Romero Jara, Manager of the Association of Canalysts of the Biobío Norte Canal, situated in the Biobío Region, southern Chile.

Technology Enhancing Water Efficiency for Sugarcane Growers in Argentina

In Argentina, Ledesma, a significant sugar company, aimed to enhance efficiency in sugarcane irrigation and invested in Rubicon technology. To date, they have integrated 18 automated gates and irrigation management software.

Previously, Ledesma’s farm operators struggled with the challenge of unpredictable river fluctuations supplying water to their plantations. This resulted in insufficient water at times and uncontrollable excesses causing damage to the irrigation infrastructure.

Mario Caorlin, Head of Department at El Talar Sugarcane Fields of Ledesma, highlights the positive shift: “The gates have eliminated the impact of fluctuations that previously disrupted our farm’s irrigation operations. We now have a fully stabilised and controlled flow, providing real-time information for efficient management, distribution, and utilisation of irrigation. This improvement enhances both labor and water efficiency.”