McCrometer Designs A Unique Telemetry Solution for Colorado Water District
The Platte River System is a lifeline of natural resources that flows through Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The Central Colorado Water Conservancy District (CCWCD) is home to a 100-mile stretch of the South Platte River and represents 700 farm and ranch families who are well owners within this 475,000-acre area. Over 1,000 wells are included in CCWCD’s augmentation plans located in the South Platte basin alluvial aquifer. The pumping of these irrigation wells impacts the resources of the senior surface water rights holders. McCrometer provided Mc®Propeller meters and a custom telemetry solution for CCWCD to comply with the strict Colorado Water Court decreed plans for operation.
The History Behind CCWCD
Since 1965, Central Colorado has been working closely with irrigators to protect and preserve the natural resources provided by the Platte. Each of these groundwater users is considered Junior to the surface water rights holders known as Seniors. When drilling wells became popular in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, the surface water seniors noticed a decrease in the river’s water flow. The recognized hydrological connection between the groundwater being pumped by the wells and the surface water of the river led to Water Court rulings and associated legislative action to pass laws mandating the groundwater users to meter and augment their water usage.
The McPropeller Meters
CCWCD had over 1,000 McPropeller meters installed on their wells. This meter was the ideal choice for Central Colorado because of its design and easy installation process. The stainless-steel body has a ± 2% accuracy rate with a pre-calibrated, corrosion-resistant polymer impeller. These meters have been serving agricultural users since 1955, and because 95% of Central Colorado’s users are irrigators, the McPropeller was a perfect choice.
Telemetry in Colorado
For years, CCWCD was metering their member wells without telemetry; this made data acquisition very time-consuming and expensive. However, finding an electronic data collection device with a reliable telemetry option for CCWCD proved difficult. A requirement was established by state officials laying out particular telemetry guidelines. The totalizer number on the meter is required to match the totalizer number on the website. In addition, the meter register needs to be non-programmable, meaning there is no allowance for physical tampering. These regulations created a dilemma for both CCWCD and McCrometer, so together, they designed a solution that would comply with the legislation.
McCrometer’s Market Development Manager, Ken Quandt, and CCWCD’s Executive Director, Contracts Manager and Meter Program Administrator, Randy Ray, Lynn Kramer, and Chris French, teamed up with the McCrometer engineering and Research and development (R&D) teams to create a unique solution for their needs. The McPropeller’s FlowConnect™ package enables a feature called ExactRead™. This technology allows for an exact match from meter to the website by sampling the digital register directly for its totalizer value. FlowConnect offers a wide variety of customization options, including communication options of satellite or cellular and power options of battery-only or rechargeable by solar power. CCWCD selected the satellite option with an internal lithium battery for its power supply. After they made these selections, engineering and R&D put together the Colorado Package to comply with the non-programmable law.
The Technology Behind the Colorado Package
McPropeller’s FlowConnect utilizes a digital flow calculator and display called FlowCom. Generally, FlowCom has magnetic read switches that enable user interface programming, but for the Colorado Package, McCrometer designed an internal switch that disables any ability for external programming. This design eliminated the potential for tampering with the meter and allowed CCWCD to implement telemetry into their wells by retrofitting the FlowConnect unit onto the existing McPropeller meters.
Government Funding Through Grants
Throughout CCWCD’s existence, they have written multiple grants to receive meter funding for the district. Ken helped Central Colorado with the grant writing process for the implementation of telemetry. Together, they secured enough funding through the US Bureau of Reclamation for 125 FlowConnect units in 2019. They plan on submitting another grant in 2022 for additional funding to install more FlowConnect units. “We have been really happy with the product development and research that McCrometer has done to make our data available for each well via satellite connection. Furthermore, helping offset some of our costs with grant dollars.” – Randy Ray of CCWCD.
As time and technology continue, McCrometer and CCWCD will progress with the times to design and implement new ways of preserving and protecting valuable natural resources for decades to come.
For more information about the McPropeller and FlowConnect, or to receive a quote on your upcoming flow project, visit www.mccrometer.com/ag
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