MEC with audience under tent canopy

of flow and total dynamic head (pressure or pump lift), types of pumps, impellers, variable frequency drives, understanding pump test information, measuring flow, irrigation scheduling, and many other related topics. All of this equipment is incorporated into the MEC and demonstrated live. The MEC display is actually a pump efficiency test in real time. The exact same measurements that pump testers record when performing irrigation pump audits are measured with the MEC equipment. These measurements include the water flow rate in gallons per minute, total dynamic head in feet (including lift from the water source and discharge pressure) and energy in.

Equipment on the MEC is updated and new technologies introduced regularly. Recently, a fully operational electric SmartMeter that California utility ratepayers have on their own farms was installed. Instantaneous kilowatt readings allow for easy tracking of the power consumption of irrigation pumps. This is especially useful when changing pump speeds using the variable frequency drives installed in the MEC. The immediate impact of slower revolutions per minute on the pump shaft shows significant energy savings on the SmartMeter. From there, a few easy calculations demonstrate to seminar attendees how efficiently the pump is operating and the cost of moving water to their farms.

MEC truck and trailer

Future plans include equipment upgrades such as remote pump control and irrigation system monitoring. CIT staff have conducted over 400 seminars and an additional 200 outreach events through the California Public Utilities Commission- funded projects for Pacific Gas and Electric since the program’s inception. Over 15,000 attendees have participated in the MEC’s

educational message. CIT has realized that the live demonstrations more effectively convey the message of water and energy efficiency to seminar attendees than what is possible with just a lecture.

APEP continues promoting and incentivizing efficient water and energy use in California. More information is available at

Photo credit: Center for Irrigation Technology

Bill Green is an education manager at the Center for Irrigation Technology at California State University, Fresno. For the past

nearly 15 years, he has worked to provide education opportunities about water- and energy-use efficiency and groundwater

protection for CIT, the California Department of Water Resources and other organizations. Green previously served as the chair of the IA’s chemigation common interest group. He manages and farms his family’s raisin grape vineyard near Fresno. 19

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