Rubicon’s  Low Energy Pipeline (LEP) technology has been used to replace a half mile long open earthen supply canal as part of Goulburn-Murray Water’s Connections Project. Goulburn-Murray Water is Australia’s largest irrigation district. 

The Low Energy Pipeline is a gravity-fed shared pipeline system that uses BladeMeter™ turnouts and computer software to distribute water from primary canals to multiple farms.  It extends elements of Rubicon’s Network Control channel automation technology into a pipeline environment.   The LEP’s smart technology overcomes the problems associated with traditional gravity-fed pipelines, providing all users with a high level of service within the tight pressure head constraints of a gravity pipeline.

Software automatically manages water orders to ensure they don’t exceed the ability of the pipeline to fulfil them. When an order is received, the software uses a hydraulic model of the pipeline to check its timing and flow rate against concurrent orders and pipeline capacity. If there is not enough capacity to meet the required flow rate for the duration of the order, the system gives the option of rescheduling or accepting a lower flow rate. 

The system installed for Goulburn-Murray Water serves four irrigators and when fully completed will operate under both gravity conditions (9.9 cfs, 280 l/s) and, when required, under pumped conditions (18.7 cfs,  530l/s) – this is known as a ‘hybrid’ LEP system.

Hybrid LEPs have a pump installed at the pipe intake to boost the gravity system, providing the choice of pumping to maintain pressure (and hence flows) at times of high demand.

The pipeline is now operational and hybrid operation will be commissioned during December 2014.