Real-time irrigation canal operation

Using hydraulic modelling to optimise the Rangitata Diversion Race

The Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR)—New Zealand’s largest irrigation system—supplies water that irrigates 64,000 hectares of land. Previously, operation of the irrigation scheme was straightforward. After the Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation Limited Group was granted permission to swap water at the bottom end of the Rangitata Diversion Race, water delivery became more complex. To help river operators, we developed a system that uses a hydraulic model to forecast system response and recommend control gate setpoints. This enables operators to balance supply with demand priorities using real-time data.