Assessment of field water uniformity distribution in a microirrigation system using a SCADA system

Microirrigation is an efficient irrigation technique, although when wastewater is used the probability of operation problems such as emitter clogging increases. In most of microirrigation systems, control of irrigation performance is manual and sporadic, therefore clogging problems may not be detected at the right time. As it is easier to prevent emitter clogging if it is detected earlier, close monitoring of pressure and flow rates in microirrigation systems is an important way to achieve microirrigation system requirements and accomplish higher irrigation efficiencies. A supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system was used to monitor and control the performance of three microirrigation subunits; each one with four laterals, 90 m long with 226 emitters. The SCADA system monitored the pressure and flow across the irrigation laterals, and distribution uniformity coefficients were determined in real time, as they are indexes commonly used for evaluating drip irrigation systems. Results were compared with those experimentally obtained, showing a good correlation; although the emitter position had an important effect on the computed values. This work shows that a SCADA system can be easily used to continuously assess the pressure and water distribution uniformity without carrying out time-consuming manual field assessments ​
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