Pilot Project in Extremadura, Spain

On the 21st of May a FlumeGate was installed in the Orellana Irrigation District in Don Benito, south-west Spain, as part of a pilot project to examine new technologies for modernization. The installation was part of the first phase of a long-term modernization project for the irrigation district that first began in 2003 and is directed by a government body called SEIASA which has national responsibility for improving efficiency in irrigation districts in Spain.

Spain has focussed most of its modernization effort upon converting tertiary and quaternary canals to pressurized pipe systems. This represents a very large capital investment and then ongoing operating costs of electricity to operating pumps.

In contrast, Rubicon’s TCC technology simply improves existing open canals to make them as efficient in conveyance and distribution as pipes but at much less capital cost and with negligible operating costs because only sustainable energy is used: solar and gravity.

The pilot project in the Orellana Irrigation District is to trial alternatives to the traditional pressurized pipe approach because the number of canals in the district made the traditional approach prohibitively expensive. Instead, the district wants to measure and control flow in 200 tertiary canals in order to understand better where the water is flowing, and potentially move away from a water tariff structure based purely on surface area.

Like all districts they also have a number of points in their network that are particularly difficult to control with manual means. “The district deliberately chose a canal that has traditionally been problematic to control by manual means, but we love these sorts of challenges”, Peter Brew, Rubicon’s Director General for Europe said.

“The Orellana Canal District is perfectly suited to our TCC technology”, Mr Brew added. “The combination of flow measurement, automatic flow control and remote control and solar power in a single unit means it is easy to install, reliable and now operators can monitor or set the flow rate from anywhere with an internet connection.”

“Automating open canals is what we do”, he said. “Over 17 years we’ve installed more than 15,000 such gates in 10 countries and we’re confident that we can help the Orellana District manage their water better too.”