What is more important than water resources in a drought? Not much, and Elephant Butte Irrigation District’s SCADA Systems Department Director Patrick Lopez has created a new website at https://www.ebid-nm.org/scada, to provide a wealth of water and weather information in one easy to navigate location. From surface and groundwater details to local weather and the NOAA Climate Forecast, the site is a one-stop shop for those needing water data to plan for the future and review the past.
SCADA, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, simply refers to “a computer system for gathering and analyzing real time data.” (webopedia.com) These systems are used across a wide variety of industries, including water control. The Water Resource Information System Lopez has developed is highly interconnected, gathering data from across the District, then transferring it to headquarters, where it is monitored, analyzed and used to develop water management plans and protocols.
In 2019 the New Mexico Legislature passed into law the Water Data Act, funding an initiative to gather statewide water data. A collaborative group of federal, state, and local agencies and organizations is working together with Associate Director of Hydrogeology Programs Stacy Timmons to develop an integrated Water Data Service for New Mexico. The initiative’s goal is to integrate the state’s critical data and information on water quantity, quality and use according to https://newmexicowaterdata.org/. “New Mexico is the second state in the country to enact policy that directs integration of water data,” the site reports.
EBID is proud to contribute to the water data project a wealth of informative data it has long been collecting as part of its innovative approach to water stewardship. The District shared three datasets from its SCADA website, encompassing surface water, groundwater and weather data. According to Lopez, “Collaboration with New Mexico Water Data is critical during ongoing drought periods as our data will provide a comprehensive view of the hydrological system in the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys. This will contribute to accurate and reliable modeling and forecasting to improve water management in our state.” To date, the initiative has collected 28 datasets on water quantity alone from organizations across New Mexico committed to pooling their knowledge base.
Organizations and individuals can access the publicly available information on the District’s SCADA website to examine near real time data, then use it in a wide variety of ways to inform their decision making about water use, conservation, and agricultural practices. The site’s tabs direct users to information about rain gauges, weather stations, river levels and flow speeds, stormwater collection and groundwater data for wells and the aquifer.
EBID’s SCADA Department tracks, analyzes, and reports on surface water and groundwater within the District boundaries. During the growing season, surface water flow data is monitored throughout the District delivery system, which includes diversion dams, river gauging stations, main canals, lateral headings, spillways, and drains, using an extensive system of Remote Telemetry Units (RTUs).
The system also oversees weather stations, rain gauges, flood control dams, and arroyo channels to track storm activity and capture additional stormwater inflows to aid in aquifer replenishment and field irrigations. In addition, shallow groundwater elevation is closely monitored via these RTU’s to assess aquifer health.
The District also uses the data collected by the SCADA system in its extensive surface water quality monitoring program in the interest of public safety. Employees conduct routine sampling of multiple water quality parameters from the Rio Grande and additional sites throughout the District.
Take a look at the new site to learn more and contact EBID if you have questions.