The purpose of this project is to accurately account for the flow of water in the Milk River watershed.  Flow meters are attached to all irrigator's pumps and water use information is collected in real-time using remote data loggers and communication devices.  Once fitted with water meters, water managers will precisely know how much water is being used from the Milk River at any moment.

This project is a pilot study and the results will help determine whether or not this is a practical water management strategy in Alberta.  The Milk River was chosen as the pilot location because it is a relatively small area and it was possible to put flow meters on all pump sites.  More importantly, the Milk River was chosen because the information collected during this study will help members of the International Joint Commission Task Force better understand water use in the watershed.


Thirty-five flow meters were successfully installed as of the Fall 2006.  Nearly all sites have been equipped with communications devices.

Three types of meters are being evaluated: 1) McCrometer bolt on turbine 2) MUIS Controls Insertion Turbine and 3) MUIS Controls Insertion Magnetic flow meter.  These flow meters all offer very low impedance or resistance to flow. All three of the flow meters were tested by Alberta Agriculture and Food and were accurate when compared to a full bore magnetic flow meter.

There are 3 types of communication devices using cellular and satellite technology that have been installed.  They are Optimum Instruments, ROM Communications and Bentek.  These communication devices send pulses from the flow meter every 100 gpm to the internet via the cellular or satellite network.  Once on the internet, Alberta Environment personnel can view the total water use and see who is currently irrigating their crops.

Coming soon - watch for the results of this pilot project in Spring 2007!


This study is being conducted by Alberta Environment and Alberta Agriculture and Food - Irrigation Branch.  Thanks to everyone for their cooperation and participation in this study!
Milk River Watershed Council Canada