Canadian Irrigation District Goes With the Flow

Aug. 27, 2015

Water is a valuable resource in the arid regions of the United Irrigation District (UID) in southern Alberta, Canada. Agriculture uses 60% to 65% of the freshwater consumed. Water use is closely regulated and monitored. 

Fred Rice, manager of the UID, was looking for a flowmeter that did not obstruct flow in the irrigation canals. He had used many types of meters in the past, but “other methods required a structure or weir in the channel that raised the water level and required a holding pond.”

The UID began installing AVFM Area-Velocity flowmeters. The Greyline flowmeters work with a sealed ultrasonic sensor mounted at the bottom of a pipe or channel. The submerged sensor measures water level and velocity and the flowmeter is calibrated according to the size of the pipe or channel. 

The UID uses the Area-Velocity meter’s flow rate display to regulate daily total flow delivered to its customers. Water users notify the UID prior to operation. The district knows the typical water consumption of each pivot, so ditch riders adjust channel gates to regulate the flow rate and provide sufficient water for the number of pivots scheduled to be in operation. Unused water is returned to the river. 

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