Aging water delivery systems across the west are often inefficient and pose environmental or safety risks. Assessing and planning for the modernization of these systems can be cost-prohibitive and out of reach for many irrigation districts.


Composite Image by Melanie Hess-Robinson  |  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

IrrigationViz lock up

In response, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Idaho National Laboratory are developing IrrigationViz, a visual decision-support tool that provides users with high-level estimates for irrigation modernization projects, such as concrete lining for a canal or replacing a canal with a pipeline. Using a combination of public and private data and geographic information systems, IrrigationViz estimates how much water is lost in the current system, how groundwater is affected by investments in infrastructure, and how much hydropower potential there is in the system. These estimates help an irrigation district manager determine the potential costs and benefits of various projects before investing in expensive engineering assessments.

Calculate Financial Gains

IrrigationViz helps produce cost estimates and calculate return on investment and also estimates potential financial gains of modernization projects, including:

  • Savings from reduced energy costs
  • Sale of generated hydropower energy
  • Financial gains from conserved water
  • Savings from the reduction of canal maintenance costs
IrrigationViz infrastructure

Compare Potential Projects

Irrigation district managers can use the tool to organize potential projects across their system and view them in a single dashboard. Side-by-side comparisons and graphs help communicate the trade-offs among different projects, helping managers select the ideal project to move to the engineering design phase. These plans are needed to access federal funding programs, such as those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Idaho National Laboratory and PNNL developed IrrigationViz with funding and technical support from the Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office.