The Tribunal de les Aguas de Valencia in Spain

Rubicon Water Newsletter – April 2023

In this issue:

World’s oldest Water Court adopts Rubicon technology

Groundwater Recharge Projects and how Rubicon tech can help

Turning old manually operation irrigation structures into new ones

WEEG 2023 Grant Awards

Tech savvy employees look for tech savvy employers

Leaving For Australia, but not gone for good

World’s oldest Water Court adopts Rubicon technology after 1,000 years of manual operation

After 1,000 years of agricultural water supply, the World’s oldest water court and the oldest democratic institution in Europe has modernized its irrigation practices with Rubicon technology.

The Tribunal de les Aguas de Valencia in Spain described the water and energy savings of Rubicon technology savings as “immense”.

The ancient Tribunal, honored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for its intangible cultural heritage, said: “We have taken 1,000 years to react, to automate the historical irrigation. But hey, since we have had it on, these few months, the savings have been immense.”

The Tribunal has met almost weekly for the 1,000 plus years to administer justice over water disputes and concerns about the nearly 15,000 acres of agricultural land fed from the Turia River in the Valencia region in Spain. Agricultural produce is sold mainly in local markets.

The still honored ancient rules of the Tribunal are simple and effective and respected by all members of the agricultural community. There are no lawyers, no documents and no long bureaucratic proceedings to delay what constitutes “the most elementary of human rights – justice”, as described by the Tribunal.

The 9 member Tribunal hears the arguments of each case. Their verbal denunciations are made and adhered to by all, and in this way, the agricultural community continues to function for the benefit of everyone.

Rubicon’s partner in Spain, Regaber, has made a video about the automation in Spanish, which can be seen on Regaber’s YouTube Channel here.

And a short English version on Rubicon’s LinkedIn Profile here.

Regaber has installed Rubicon FlumeGates to automate the water from the Turia River.

Regaber stated: “We are now able to give a fixed flow to the gates based on the flow that comes from the river. With these gates we are able to save water because we are more efficient. We can distribute it better and if there is a surplus, we are able to take the ecological overflow to the Albufera.” La Albufera is a freshwater lagoon and estuary on the Gulf of Valencia.

Learn more about the fascinating history of The Tribunal de les Arguas de Valencia on their website at: https://tribunaldelasaguas.org/en/

Oldest Water Court in Europe adopts Irrigation Modernisation Technology

Grant Funding Opportunities

Groundwater Recharge Projects and how Rubicon’s solutions can help to relieve pressures on aquifer depletions

Rubicon Water’s technology is assisting with different types of groundwater recharge projects in North America.

These replenishment operations mostly benefit from the automated control of storm and climate change related excess water in ways that include water re-direction and measurement, level control in recharge and storage ponds, and even the efficient transmission of surrounding information, such as water temperature.

Rubicon is also assisting with Winter surface water flood irrigation for the replenishment of groundwater. 

There are many different options that can be put into practice using Rubicon’s flexible technology. 

If you have a recharge project on your mind, please do not hesitate to contact us for ideas and information. We can put our heads together.

Turning old manually operated irrigation structures into new automated assets

Now is the time to take advantage of federal and regional funding opportunities and turn your old, labor-intensive irrigation structures into automated modern structures that serve your district, save water, and attract young tech savvy employees.

Whether you have a single structure that needs modernizing, an entire canal, or an entire irrigation system, you don’t have to go it alone.

Rubicon has a dedicated technical service division ready to assist you. Here’s how we can help:

1) We will carry out a free of charge Scoping Study which involves understanding your single structure, a complete canal, or your entire irrigation system and planning for future improvements. The Scoping Study will include detailed step by step improvements, the costs involved and the quantifiable benefits to be derived.

2) With a detailed plan you can now discuss internally and make decisions for the long haul, using the information to apply for grant funding when appropriate.

3) If you do not have the time or personnel to handle grant funding applications, Rubicon also has a full-service grant authoring program and has helped many customers achieve successful project funding. We can assist with many aspects of the process.

An old manually operated check structure with the potential to be modernized and automated with Rubicon technology

Rubicon Water’s Grant Writing Assistance

As a reminder, Rubicon offers free of charge, no obligation grant writing assistance, no matter how big or small the project is. Note that our grant service has successfully assisted customers in grant applications even for the purchase of a single gate awell as for more complex automated water delivery systems.

WEEG 2023 Grant Awards

The Water Energy & Efficiency program offers up to $500,000 for projects to be completed within two years; up to $2 million for projects to be completed within three years; and up to $5 million for large projects to be completed within three years with a required non-Federal Cost Share: 50% or greater.

There have been numerous successful grant awards under the 2023 WEEG program that feature Rubicon’s canal irrigation management technology. One of the successful projects includes our Total Channel Control (TCC) solution that will leverage our hardware, sophisticated software and telemetry to enable automated demand-driven delivery of water within the network. Under TCC, each product is interconnected to deliver the precise volume of water, when it’s required.  For further information the Rubicon’s grant assistance program please contact melissa.lowry@rubiconwater.com

Tech savvy employees look for tech savvy employers

Automation can help secure the future of your operational team by presenting an attractive modern role for emerging agricultural professionals. 

Young people raised on technology understand the benefits of technological modernization and what it means for them.

It is rare for anyone under the age of 40 to know a world without computers.  When faced with an antiquated irrigation system, as charming as it may seem, they wonder why they will need to work in an outdated ‘old fashioned’ way.  “Why drive to a gate to open or shut it when it can be operated remotely?” is an opinion frequently verbalized.

As many irrigation districts have discovered, the young employees they seek either don’t take the job or don’t stay in the job because the manual method of operation and physically moving infrastructure isn’t as appealing to the younger generation a data driven system.

Obtaining and retaining committed team members is priority as staff and managers reach retirement ages.

And giving existing employees the opportunity to upgrade their skills and stay relevant is also a good way to retain the interest of employees.

Besides attracting young team members, there are many advantages to canal modernization and automation.

“I’ll be back” – Peter returns to Australian soil

We say goodbye to Peter Moller as a North America guest resident, but he already has planned trips back in his calendar in 2023.

We want to start by thanking Peter for his time dedicated to Rubicon in the USA which necessitated being away from his family and home in Australia. Also, a huge thank you to Peter’s wife, Natalie, whom many of you will have met on her visits to join Peter and when she attended field trips and conferences.  In between her own work as a midwife and nurse, Natalie has made the journey to the USA many times in order to spend time with Peter. And the COVID-19 Pandemic played a huge role in further complicating the arrangement for Peter and Natalie.  It was fortunate that Peter made it back to Australia just before the lockdown and was able to remain there several months before being allowed to return to USA.  At least Peter and Natalie did not sit out that travel moratorium separated.

 “In total, Peter spent over five years working for Rubicon in the USA as Business Development Manager, bringing his expertise and wealth of knowledge of the irrigation industry to the USA team. As planned, he handed his business development role over to National Sales Manager, Eric Rothberg, but agreed to stay on another year in the USA to manage the launch of Rubicon’s FarmConnect offering in North America in 2022.

The launch of FarmConnect has been phenomenally successful in securing State government approval in California, Utah and Arizona and achieving highly successful pilot projects for water savings and enhanced crop production.

Lately, Peter has been busy in Washington DC working with advisers and educating legislators on the advantages of Rubicon technology for the Colorado River crisis, and for US agriculture in general, as the details of the next Farm Bill are processed.

Peter has also been instrumental in the team that is involved in the launch of the production of Rubicon products in Modesto, California.

“End to end Rubicon technology from the water source to the farm provides for food, water and environmental security,” said Peter. “Rubicon’s technology is unique in the world.”

“I have very much enjoyed being in the USA and the have met and worked with many people whom I appreciate very much. It was particularly interesting for me working in a market of this scale, the industry in the USA is so large and diverse with enormous possibilities. We are at the beginning of a pivotal shift towards untapped productivity potential.”

USA General Manager, Darren McGregor said: “Peter Moller volunteered to help the North American office as we were changing leadership and needed some veteran guidance. He was always willing to help in any capacity needed and picked up the traditional canal product line incredibly fast. His personality and demeanor were key as he quickly became a beloved team member and active part in the irrigation technology community.

I’ll always be grateful for his willingness to spend several years with us and be a pivotal part of our team – and, as a friend, I’ll miss seeing him stateside. I’m glad he’ll still be popping in for a while.  A special thanks to Natalie for letting us have him on an extended loan!”

Peter has already planned trips back to the USA in 2023, in June and then for two months in October and November, to deploy FarmConnect projects and guide our growing team in providing valued support to customers and continued expansion of the FarmConnect footprint. These include sizable Rubicon FarmConnect installations that have already secured state funding for their water savings and enhanced crop production capabilities.

Peter’s ongoing Rubicon role will be as Global Business Development Manager.