Centralized Water Use Database for Irrigation Water Management in CNPPID
by Marcia Trompke, CNPPID Conservation Director
Producers taking water from Central’s E67 Pipeline Canal are involved in our newest precision management pilot project; funded in part by Nebraska lottery dollars through the Nebraska Environmental Trust, McCrometer Inc., Central and Nebraska Extension. McCrometer’s Steve Grove (Hemet, CA) and Paul Tipling (Salina, KS), came to NE last week to help Central staff install equipment at 25 new field sites. These sites, added to the 2015 installations, bring total sites in the project to 51. In addition, a third McCrometer weather station was set up next to an existing UNL station to compare measured weather data and the results of the evapotranspiration calculations from each unit.
Each project site using water from E67 has been fitted with a UHF radio/solar panel set and a digitizer added to the existing flowmeter. Most sites have a digital rain gauge unless pivot water will hit it. A gateway unit at the powerhouse near Johnson Lake calls each field station every hour and each weather station every 15 minutes to gather data and transmit it to a host computer at McCrometer. Producers have access to this information from each of their fields and the weather stations immediately from a home computer, tablet or smartphone. Data is graphed, tabled and archived for producers and all data is exportable to an Excel spreadsheet.
The outcome of precision management is expected to be high yields with minimum use of irrigation water. It is possible that an irrigation event can be saved at the beginning or end of the season or both once the producer has reliable information on hand to make those decisions.
- The E67 Canal headgate is on the outlet side of Johnson Lake and the canal provides irrigation water to 5,767 acres to the south.
- In 2001 and 2002, the E67 earthen canals were upgraded to 18.2 miles of pipeline, 2.9 miles of membrane lined canal (bank to bank) and a 0.4 mile lateral was left open. The project saved 5,000 AF of seepage and evaporation losses annually; storable water that can enhance aquatic and shoreline habitat at Lake McConaughy.
- The E67 Telemetry Project is an upgrade on the customer side of the meter; an effort to help customers raise the efficiency of crop water use.
- By having reliable information on the soil water balance in every field, producers are able to determine daily which field(s) need an irrigation.
- The ability to see the amount of rainfall measured at the weather stations in 15 minute intervals, allows producers to determine if they need to irrigate through a light rain or shut a pivot down.
- Data is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world
- Central will allow producer purchased add-ons to be integrated into this system. Pressure sensors, soil moisture sensors and pivot locators are some of the possibilities.
- Central will be able to see individual and aggregated deliveries throughout the season and by 2017, should be able to integrate the meter data directly into the accounting software for billing.
- 2017 will be Year 3 of this project when all remaining turnouts will be included in the Telemetry system.
- NET is providing 3 years of funding, $194,100 total as a cost share grant
- 1 (2015), $61,380
- 2 (2016), $65,460
- 3 (2017), $67,260
- McCrometer, Inc., Central, NE Extension share of the total project is $ 226,540
- NET grants are funded from the NE Lottery; that return dollars to local communities to help fund improvement projects from these categories;
- Surface and Ground Water
- Waste Management
- Air Quality
- Soil Management