Hierarchical MPC-Based Control of an Irrigation Canal

  • A. SadowskaEmail author
  • P. J. van Overloop
  • C. Burt
  • B. De Schutter
Part of the Operations Research/Computer Science Interfaces Series book series (ORCS, volume 58)


We discuss the problem of controlling an irrigation canal to accommodate fast changes in the canal state in response to events such as offtakes announced with no time lag or sudden weather changes. Our proposed approach comprises a hierarchical controller consisting of two layers with decentralized PI controllers in the lower layer and a centralized MPC-based event-driven controller in the higher layer. By incorporating the hierarchical controller structure we achieve a better performance than with the PI controllers only as currently in use in the real world, while barely increasing the communication requirements and remaining robust to temporary communication link breakdowns as the lower layer can work independently of the higher layer when the links are being restored. The operation of the higher-layer controller relies on controlling the head gate and modifying the settings of the local controllers. This way, an acceleration of water transporting is attained as the controller allows for rapid reactions to the need for more water or less water at a location. Specifically, when there is a sudden need for water, the storage in some of the pools is used to temporarily borrow water. Alternatively, when there is too much water at a location, it can be stored for some time in upstream or downstream pools before the PI controllers manage to remove the water.


Model Predictive Control Irrigation Canal Prediction Horizon Local Controller Main Canal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Research supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007–2013] under grant agreement no. 257462 HYCON2 Network of Excellence.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Sadowska
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. J. van Overloop
    • 2
  • C. Burt
    • 3
  • B. De Schutter
    • 1
  1. 1.Delft Center for Systems and ControlDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Water Resources ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC)California Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

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