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Check Structure Anatomy Infographic

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Colorado River water enters the CAP system near Lake Havasu, and from the moment it begins the 336-mile journey, it is skillfully managed from CAP’s Control Center. One way that is possible is through effective utilization of check structures.

The system’s 39 check structures act as a metering device, controlling the flow of water into and out of a segment, or pool, of the canal. Each check structure contains two radial gates that operate independently, a feature designed to provide system redundancy. The gates are operated by electric variable speed motors that Control Center Dispatchers can move in increments as small as 1/100 of a foot. The max capacity is 3,000 cubic feet per second.

“The exact height of each gate is based on what we are trying to achieve at that moment and is a delicate balance between system demand, maintenance activities, diversion targets, power market and other constraints,” said Control Center Supervisor John Hussen. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve the most efficient operational plan every day.”

The check structures’ geographical locations are based on the locations of pumping plants and riverbeds; some are as far apart as 10 miles; one is less than a mile from a pumping plant. They work together with all the other system features to ensure reliable water deliveries.