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Irrigation Turnout Calibration Unit

Sponsor:  U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region

Irrigation Turnout Calibration Unit


ITRC identified a need to provide the hardware and methodology for calibrating flow measurements at existing and new irrigation turnouts supplied by open canals.


A special portable pump was designed, constructed and calibrated at Cal Poly by ITRC staff and student employees. The pump will be used in the field for independent calibration or verification of irrigation turnouts and can assist districts with the following potential scenarios:

  • aiding in SBx7-7 compliance
  • independent analysis for flow measurement conflicts between water users and providers
  • flow rating of non-standard flow measurement devices
  • verifying existing standard flow measurement devices


Irrigation Turnout Calibration Unit

Calibration unit in action

(click to enlarge)

The Calibration Unit specifications are:

  • Maximum flow capacity around 12 CFS
  • Self-priming, run-dry Cornell 14-NHG pump
  • Redundant McCrometer flow meters
  • 74 HP diesel power plant registered for use throughout California
  • 100 feet of 12" ringlock pipe and hose for suction and discharge flexibility
  • Successful pumping with extremely low suction submergence (12 to 18 inches)


Turnout Flow Calibration Activities

Since 2016, ITRC has conducted testing at the following California irrigation districts to complete calibrations or verifications on well over 100 irrigation turnouts:

  • Banta-Carbona Irrigation District
  • Columbia Canal Company
  • Fresno Irrigation District
  • Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District
  • Henry Miller Reclamation District
  • Madera Irrigation District
  • Merced Irrigation District (funded by others)
  • Modesto Irrigation District (funded by others)
  • Natomas Mutual Water Company
  • Patterson Irrigation District
  • Reclamation District #10
  • Solano Irrigation District
  • Sutter Mutual Water Company
  • Tulare Irrigation District
  • West Side Irrigation District
  • West Stanislaus Irrigation District


Districts interested in future calibration tests are encouraged to contact ITRC for next summer's opportunities.

Irrigation Turnout Calibration Unit     Irrigation Turnout Calibration Unit

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