This paper presents the results of the Task Committee on Canal Automation Algorithms with regard to the influence of canal properties on the controllability of irrigation canals. While the control provided by individual algorithms was not evaluated, studies were performed to illustrate inherent hydraulic limitations—the inability of canal pools to recover rapidly from disturbances or flow perturbations. Studies were performed in nondimensional form to develop a better understanding of how pool properties influence pool response. Three such studies were performed. First, nondimensional backwater curves were developed for a range of canal conditions. The second study involved the propagation of waves initiated at the upstream end of a canal pool, as this is influenced by downstream boundary conditions. Finally, the response of pools to downstream withdrawals was examined in terms of their sluggish recovery even when the correct flow change is applied upstream. These results will help in understanding how canal properties influence the ability of operators to effectively control a canal either manually or automatically, and should influence future design practices.
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