Document Type


Publication Date

January 2012


Introduction: Water requirements increase as more people use more water for domestic purposes. The increase is augmented as technological advances add to the water needs of agriculture and industry. Additional urban landscaping adds further to the demand. Simultaneously, the same forces increase demands for flood control, hydrelectric power, and navigation; and a more urbanized population want more flows preserved for productive natural environments, recreational use, and aesthetic enjoyment. The response over the years to these growing demands on water resources has been to supply increasing amounts of water and greater levels of development for other purposes by building more projects, larger projects, multipurpose projects, and multiproject systems. The construction and operation of these facilities have changed the flow and water quality regimes of our rivers. Some majore river basins are now approaching full utilization of their runoff (U.S. Water Resources Council 1978). As the opportunities for water project construction are exhausted, the name of the game shifts to systems operation for more precise water delivery when and where it is needed. More rapid and reliable data collection can provide a better information base for determing need. Greater benefits can then be achieved by applying optimization models on a real time basis and promtly using the results in automated control systems. Fortunately, the needs for more carefully controlled water resources systems operation come at a time when advances in electronics are offering a new surveillance and control technologies. Greater efficiency can be achieved by more rapid measurement and thorough analysis for application of the informatino that has been used in the past as a basis for systems operation. However, full advantage of the capabilities of the electronic age can only be achieved by gathering information that has previously been impossible or impractical to obtain, developing more comprehensive analytic models, and applying the results with more precise automated control systems. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate thinking about what can be done. As a starting point, we will gather ideas by diagraming the natural cycle that supplies our water, identifying losses and inefficiencies within it that might be reduced through more effective use of information for operating purposes, and examining existing reservoir operation procedures. The resulting list of potential applications for information and control systems provide direction for refining current automated operating systems. We can end by dreaming about a fully automated system for irrigation water delivery.