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Irrigation network design with SIGOPRAM

  • Irrigation network design with SIGOPRAM
  • In order to move forward with the works in the Segarra-Garrigues Irrigation System, ASG has designed a GIS tool to carry out calculations for complex irrigation networks quickly and effectively: SIGOPRAM.

About the entity

Aigües Segarra Garrigues
Aigües del Segarra Garrigues is a private company in charge of executing the land consolidation works, and of drafting the projects, executing, operating and maintaining the irrigation distribution network of the Segarra-Garrigues System, in Spain.

The Segarra-Garrigues Irrigation System entails a significant change for agriculture in the province of Lleida, Spain, transforming some 70,000 hectares from rainfed to irrigated agriculture.

It is an irrigation infrastructure that stores and transports water under pressure to each of the land parcels of 16,000 new users. The main elements of the Segarra-Garrigues system are upstream and downstream reservoirs, the main canal, pumping stations, irrigation ponds, power lines, as well as a large network of pipelines and complementary elements that make up the irrigation system.

The works in the system's backbone, that is, the upstream Rialb reservoir, the downstream Albagés reservoir, as well as the main canal, are built and operated by the public company Acuaes.

The company Aigües del Segarra-Garrigues (ASG) is in charge of the design, construction and operation of the rest of the irrigation system — comprising 41 irrigation ponds, 33 pumping stations and a 4,500 km pipeline network — for the next 30 years. ASG was awarded the project by the Regional Government of Catalonia, through the Department of Agriculture and Infrastructure.

Thanks to SIGOPRAM, ASG offers calculation and optimisation services for irrigation networks to irrigation associations, consulting firms, etc.

Hence, ASG is responsible for the entire irrigation project cycle, from the conceptual design, to the construction project design, construction works, and operation. It is, no doubt, a complex and ambitious undertaking, worth more than 1 billion euros, which includes a large number of construction projects of irrigation networks, which, in addition, are subject to important changes both concerning construction and operation. How can such a large number of connected irrigation networks and constant changes be managed?

There is a one-word answer: innovation. ASG has custom designed the technology it needed creating SIGOPRAM, a GIS application formulated for irrigation networks' project design, construction and operation. With SIGOPRAM we can design, calculate the dimensions, and simulate pressure water networks; it allows the design of complex irrigation networks swiftly, with significant time savings.

What did the implementation of SIGOPRAM mean for ASG?

  1. Organised information sharing with engineering and construction firms

ASG has worked with some 30 companies providing project and technical assistance, each one with its own working methods, and, initially, in the year 2004, with limited GIS knowledge. Thanks to SIGOPRAM, we have introduced GIS as a working tool for engineering and construction firms, streamlining and standardising information sharing, and enabling independence when it came to project adjustments and amendments.

  1. Improved capacity and response time

ASG needed a tool to manage constant changes in the irrigation networks, given the changing land-based circumstances during the life cycle of the project construction and later, during operation. Thanks to SIGOPRAM, we can give a prompt response, technically validated, to any required changes in the project construction or operation, and study alternate technical solutions with no need to depend on those responsible for project design. We do complex network calculations in record time. Afterwards, we test the networks designed by simulating their operation. The networks are subject to thousands of different working situations, and we assess the extent to which the design can be adapted to the different scenarios.

  1. Information accessible to all departments

SIGOPRAM can work with personal or corporate databases, making the application a data storage that can be integrated with the rest of the departmental information systems. This has enabled ASG, for instance, to streamline billing processes by the finance department, or identify areas with greater pressure risk to support the preparation of irrigation agreements by the land department.

  1. SIGOPRAM has become a benchmark programme for the sector

SIGOPRAM is now being used not only by ASG, but by engineering and design firms and entities in Spain, Portugal, and several Latin American countries.

Also thanks to SIGOPRAM, ASG offers calculation and optimisation services for irrigation networks to irrigation associations, and to construction, consulting and engineering firms, etc.

With all these modules, SIGOPRAM offers a global solution to manage the implementation of any irrigation network

SIGOPRAM has 6 main modules

  1. Design and user interface module

It comprises the keys, tools and windows that allow, swiftly and conveniently, the input and output of graphical and alphanumeric data. It takes advantage of all the possibilities GIS offer, with automated capture of the geometrical characteristics of the network.

  1. Distribution network module

It is responsible for the calculation of design flows and the less costly pipeline diameters that will suit the required pressures and flows.

  • Calculation of the dimensions of irrigation networks that operate on demand, with rotating turns, or with design flows in pipelines assigned by the user.
  • Full automated calculation of the dimensions of irrigation networks with surge tanks and valves to reduce pressure.
  • Analysis of network operation through hydraulic simulation. Simulation of complex networks.
  • Predefined and user-friendly themes and graphical output.
  1. Parcel irrigation network module
  • Calculation of the dimensions of parcel-level irrigation networks using sprinklers or drip irrigation.
  • Automated positioning of sprinklers/drip irrigation grids in parcels, using a square pattern or staggered row layout.
  • Maps of irrigation evenness while using sprinklers.
  1. Energy model
  • Optimisation of irrigation rotation with direct pumping.
  • Calculation of optimum pumping height.
  • Calculation of setting curves for the network.
  • Regulation of pumping stations.
  1. Construction module
  • Calculation of the dimensions of hydrant elements.
  • Calculation of the dimensions of special parts and anchoring elements.
  • Longitudinal profiles with automated height set-up of the pipeline, with the position of air/vacuum relief valves and drains.
  1. Remote control module (beta version being developed)
  • Construction of radio link profiles
  • Radio link map between remote units (IRU) and concentrating units (IMU).

With all these modules, SIGOPRAM offers a global solution to manage the implementation of any irrigation network, and, ultimately, to manage the daily operation of networks by irrigation associations, technicians or entities.

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