Computerized Irrigation Project Earthwork Design

by Michael R. Clough, SFC Engineering, Phoenix, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


A procedure was developed to perform earthwork optimization and land-leveling design for irrigation projects using aerial photogrammetry, a microcomputer and civil engineering computer software. The software includes coordinate geometry, digital terrain modeling and earthwork estimation features. Two distinct phases of design were developed. The first phase was to determine the best layout of a block of fields to minimize earthwork quantities. A simplified design of a block of fields was used to get indications of earthwork quantities for different layouts. The second phase of the design procedure was to determine the elevation of the fields which balanced the earthwork within the field boundaries. This design procedure has become a valuable tool for project planning and layout. Since the field elevations can be estimated closely, the water supply system can be designed prior to the fields being leveled. The construction of the water supply system can then closely follow field land leveling with only minor design changes required where there are significant differences between the design and constructed field elevations. This benefits the client, who can put the land into production at the earliest possible date. The use of this design procedure has also reduced the design cost by 35% and the survey cost by 50% compared to the previous design procedure. In addition, earthwork quantities are minimized by the investigation of alternative field layouts, which reduces the construction cost of the project.

Subject Headings: Earthwork | Hydraulic design | Computer models | Irrigation | Project management | Computing in civil engineering | Water supply systems | Optimization models

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