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Dynasonics ultrasonic flowmeters have been used in an application where open ditch irrigation has been replaced by a closed pipe system and precise flow control via wireless communications.

This system was employed by the Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company (MVIC) in Cortez, Colorado, to save water in the arid region.

As much as 60 per cent of the water that enters an open ditch irrigation canal is wasted via evaporation, seepage and losses at the end of the canal.

By replacing five miles of open irrigation ditches with closed polyethylene pipe and flow control, MVIC is saving 1,000 acre-feet of water per year.

Each branch turnout from the main header to a farm has a Dynasonics ultrasonic flowmeter and two butterfly valves.

The meter measures the amount of water passing through the turnout.

The first butterfly valve is controlled by the MVIC and is used to set flows according to the number of shares of water allocated to that particular farmer.

The second butterfly valve can be used by an owner to shut off or reduce water volume.

Flow control and measurement is implemented via a wireless supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

The SCADA system consists of a telemetry receiver and master control centre in the main office connected to field equipment via a wireless data link.

Each flowmeter is either solar or battery powered, providing savings by eliminating power wiring.

This feature not only saved on installation, but will also provide ongoing savings in the form of lower energy use.

The key component of each branch turnout is the flowmeter.

The closed pipe network project has been successful and the US Bureau of Reclamation is providing stimulus grants to the MVIC for construction of a second similar seven-mile pipeline project.

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