RD108 uses Network Control to help the environment and lower operating costs


Country: USA
Location: Grimes, California
Organization: Reclamation District No.108

RD108 lies along the western edge
of the Sacramento River in Northern California. RD108 is one of the largest agricultural water providers on the river, delivering water to nearly 48,000 acres of farmland primarily growing rice.


Reclamation District No.108 (RD108) pumps its irrigation water directly from the Sacramento River. The river is the largest in California and serves as a critical migration route for Chinook salmon, along with other endangered fish species. To prevent these fish from entering their irrigation canal system, government resource agencies directed RD108 to screen three of their largest pumping plants along the river.

RD108 determined that replacing the three plants with a single screened plant, with interconnecting canals, was the most cost-effective solution. However, it would require constant operator action to control the pumps, maintain canal water levels and react to variable irrigator demand. Otherwise, there would be large water level fluctuations in the canals, making it difficult to provide consistent flows at lateral headings. Keeping the pumps running permanently was one solution, but would have resulted in unacceptably high energy costs and large operational spills.

    “With Rubicon’s Network Control Solution we pump only the water we need. We’re able to keep more water in the river and save pumping costs. When we made the decision to go with Rubicon hardware and software products, we were sure they could handle our unique situation. We haven’t been disappointed.”

    Lewis Bair

    General Manager, Reclamation District No.108


    In 2008, RD108 completed construction of the Emery Poundstone Pumping Plant. The new plant features state-of-the-art fish screens and utilizes two variable-speed and three fixed-speed 60-cfs pumps to divert water from the river into a limited capacity afterbay. The afterbay feeds two primary canals, which in turn feed six laterals.

    Rubicon implemented a Network Control Solution to automatically mange the pumps, afterbay and primary canals. Flow into the laterals is controlled by FlumeGates and operators use SCADAConnect to remotely set flow rates at these headgates to meet downstream irrigator demand.

    On the North Canal, a relift pump station controlled by a third-party SCADA system has been integrated with Network Control which automatically compensates for changes in flow made by the third-party system.

    FlumeGate icon, overshot integrated gate and flow meter

    FlumeGate x 12

    SCADAConnect Icon


    NeuroFlo Icon


    Network Visualisation Icon

    Network Visualization

    Irrigation Radio Communication Network Icon

    Radio Network


    Meeting variable downstream demand

    The key task of Network Control is to ensure that the requested flow rates through the lateral headgates are met, while still maintaining the desired water levels in the primary canals.

    NeuroFlo software coordinates and controls actions of the FlumeGates checking the primary canals and also controls the pumps so that they supply the exact amount of water needed by the downstream network.

    When canal water levels begin to drop as a result of extractions at the headgates and turnouts connected to the primary canals, NeuroFlo software automatically generates commands for FlumeGates to increase the flow rate into each of the pools upstream and for the pumps to vary their flow rate so that the desired water levels are maintained along the canals.

    RD108 has met the requirements of the government resource agencies by dramatically reducing the fish take while ensuring that energy and other operational costs are minimized.

    Network Control ensures the right amount of water is pumped from the river, water level fluctuations are minimized and the required flow rates through the lateral headgates are met.

    Water levels are now maintained within ±3 inches of their designated level 97% of the time. With stable water levels and reliable flow rates, ditch tenders can provide a better service to customers downstream.

    The SCADAConnect graph illustrates a FlumeGate along the South Channel automatically adjusting its flow rate (blue line) to maintain the channel water level (green line)

    RD108 canal water levels maintained

    “Having the Rubicon FlumeGates working together with the variable speed river pumps has simplified operations. The Rubicon system maintains stable canal levels which is essential for providing our water users a constant flow rate during the irrigation.”

    Chad Navarrot

    Operations Manager, Reclamation District No.108