Implementation and Management of a High Technology Irrigation System

by Robert W. Charley, CH2M Hill, Portland, OR, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Planning, Operation, Rehabilitation and Automation of Irrigation Water Delivery Systems


Eastern Oregon Farming Company (EOFC) irrigates 12,000 acres using a fully pressurized irrigation system. In 1981, the system was operated with minimal flow and pressure measurements and with no automation. In 1981, CH2M HILL proposed a program to reduce excessive energy costs. During selection of an irrigation system for a pilot energy study, Eastern Oregon Farming Company (EOFC) was considered for two reasons: The farm had always demonstrated superior management and it possessed some of the best operations records in the area. Without energy conservation measures, rising energy costs would have resulted in an increase in EOFC's electric bill from 62 per hectare in 1974 to 312 per hectare in 1983; the total 1984 energy cost would have exceeded 1. 5 million. The farm's pressurized irrigation system must deliver water to 4,839 hectares composed of medium to coarse sand soils. The system contains 101 center-pivot irrigators that supply Columbia River water to potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, corn, and cover crops. This paper presents the approach to project implementation and details of each work item designed to reduce energy and improve system management.

Subject Headings: Irrigation systems | Systems management | Agriculture | Irrigation | Electric power | Benefit cost ratios | Energy efficiency | Crops | Oregon | United States

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