July 2008 Version 1
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
About this report
This Technical Manual for Assessing Hotspots in Channel and Piped Irrigation Systems has been developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as a key component of the Irrigation Infrastructure Hotspots Assessment project (Hotspots project) under the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure element of Australian Government Water for the Future program.
The objective of the Hotspots project is to identify areas in an irrigation supply system where localised significant water losses are occurring, through evaporation, seepage, leakage and operational components.
This technical manual follows on from a series of workshops that were organised by the CSIRO, in collaboration with the International Centre of Water for Food Security at Charles Sturt University. A separate paper entitled Project Report: Development of the Technical Manual for Assessing Hotspots in Channel and Piped Irrigation Systems details this process.
The technical manual is designed for irrigation water providers and consultants, to help them evaluate water losses and gains in open-channel irrigation delivery systems, as well as in piped irrigation delivery systems.
This technical manual:
- is modular in nature;
- details the sequence of technologies required for assessing hotspots, in both data-rich and data-poor settings;
- details how the recommended technology should be used (calibration and associated Australian or International Standard) and the subsequent accuracy of those technologies; and,
- provides a step-by-step standardised procedure for using the given technologies.
The technical manual can be used to:
- identify least-cost system analysis techniques (from diagnostic to detailed measurements) for identifying and quantifying sources of water loss and potential savings; and,
- spatially prioritise hotspot assessments at subsystem level that have been done using different techniques, and identifying what further database and analysis need to be done.
This manual includes many of the proven methods trialled in Australia and overseas. Water balances can be top-down or bottom-up, depending on the setting. The top-down water balance starts at the irrigation system level and disaggregates different components of flows to a lower level of detail only if necessitated by the purpose of the project. The bottom-up water balance starts with the description of the lower level processes (for example crop water balance or channel seepage) and scales up or aggregates these processes to the irrigation system level to develop a system water balance.
The technical manual can be used to evaluate water losses and gains for open-channel irrigation systems and piped irrigation systems, in both data-rich and data-poor settings. A whole-of-irrigation-system approach has been taken to provide insights into possible real water savings, including distinguishing between apparent and real losses and gains.