The Baja California State Water Commission (CEABC) manages the headgates of the Colorado River – Tijuana Aqueduct, locally referred to as ARCT. The ARCT is the primary water supply for nearly two million people on the Pacific coast of Northern Mexico. The ARCT spans over 120 km before providing water to the cities of Tecate, Tijuana and Playas de Rosarito.
CEABC diverts up to 520 ML/day from the Canal Reforma irrigation channel to supply the ARCT. The upstream supply of water in the Canal Reforma is adjusted frequently to meet the needs of the downstream irrigation district, causing the water level in the Canal Reforma to vary dramatically. In order to maintain a constant flow through the ARCT headgates, CEABC operators needed to make frequent site visits to undertake a lengthy process of repeated manual flow measurements and adjustments to the existing radial headgates until the correct flow rate was restored. If these adjustments were not made, the irrigation district further downstream on the Canal Reforma suffered from overtopping or undersupply.
CEABC had to measure and control flow into the Tijuana aqueduct without the risks and delays of manual operation. Ideally they would also have the ability to remotely monitor and control the headgates.
Colorado River – Tijuana Aqueduct (ARCT) and Canal Reforma irrigation channel
“CEABC can be sure of meeting the water supply needs of nearly two million people without affecting the downstream district.”
The solution chosen was to install two remotely managed Rubicon FlumeGates™ to replace the existing manual radial gates. The FlumeGates were sized to check an upstream water level depth of 2.3 metres, meeting the maximum flow requirements of the site (520 ML/day) while fitting within the existing concrete structure so that minimal civil works were required. Since the ARCT is the primary source of drinking water for millions of people, the new solution had to be installed quickly to minimise any supply disruption.
Remote monitoring and management
The FlumeGates are remotely managed using a cloud deployment of Rubicon’s SCADAConnect® software. The gates are connected to the internet via a cellular network and CEABC can monitor and adjust flow rates using and a standard web browser, avoiding the need to install costly servers and specialist communications infrastructure.Monitoring of the site is simplified through the use of SCADAConnect’s on-screen and SMS alerts which indicate if there are operational problems.
The CEABC operator is now able to remotely set a desired flow rate. Using their integrated level sensors, the FlumeGates automatically make opening and closing adjustments to maintain the desired flow rate, responding immediately to any level variation in the Canal Reforma.
The FlumeGates provide CEABC with instantaneous flow measurement and accumulated volume data. This information can be viewed on each gate’s display screen and remotely via SCADAConnect.
CEABC used to be contacted by the irrigation district on the Canal Reforma downstream of the ARCT headgates every two weeks with complaints about channel overtopping or undersupply.
After implementation of Rubicon’s Site Management Solution, CEABC has not received a complaint in over a year. CEABC can be sure of meeting the water supply needs of nearly two million people without affecting the downstream district. Changes in water level in the Canal Reforma no longer adversely affect supply to the ARCT and changes in demand can be met rapidly by remote control.
The reduction in site visits has had the additional benefit of savings in personnel costs and vehicle maintenance.
SCADAConnect screens are used to manage the ARCT headgates