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Ningxia - Tongxin County


Ningxia province, located in northern central China is an important agricultural area for China. The Yellow river which is the 2nd largest river in China after the Yangtze runs through the centre of Ningxia province . Large amounts of water are diverted from the river for use in large channel irrigation schemes, irrigating millions of hectares across northern China.  The Yellow river has traditionally provided much of the drinking water for large cities in northern China such as Beijing, but with growing urbanisation the river has become over utilised. Irrigation areas relying on the Yellow river for their water are actively modernising their system to improve delivery efficiency and grantee the availability of water for  all water users.



The Tongxin county government is implementing a modernisation project with the following objectives:

  • Ability to monitor their canals and delivery to customers using tablets, PCs or phones in real time to gain a better understanding of their holistic system operation and performance.  

  • Improved delivery service to their farmers by ensuring constant on-farm flow rates through the farm outlets.

  • Provide accurate measurement of the water delivered to the farmers for visibility of water usage and for cost recovery via volumetric billing.

  • Increased flexibility for controlling their canals in order to respond faster to farmer requests and condition changes and provide a more flexible service for the instigators


ICS with its manufacturing partner Auke Water delivered over 50 automated gates and flow meters as part of the stage 1 project during 2019.

All of the gates provide flow measurement using electromagnetic and parshall flume flow meters along with upstream and downstream water level sensors.

ICS was responsible for providing:

  • Solar powered, automatic control systems to measure and automatically control the flow rate on to the farms inline with the water delivery schedule.

  • Internet of Things communication using 4G to connect the remote sites to the internet for operational data transfer and to facilitate remote support and upgrades. 

  • Mobile phone APP too allow the channel operators to monitor and control the gates from their smartphone.

  • Selection and evaluation of suitable flow meters for the different site requirements.

  • Cloud server for data and application hosting


Phone APP

One of the important aspects of the project was the provision of an APP that allows all of the channel operators to simultaneous monitor the new water control gates simultaneously. The APP provided by ICS has the following funcionality:

  • View live data such as flow rate, gate position, battery voltage, water levels and alerts from the individual sites or channels .

  • Allow the operators to control the gate by moving it to a position or setting a flow rate for the gate to automatically maintain.

  • Ability to set a schedule e.g. to allow the gate to deliver a constant flow rate for 6 hours from 2AM to 8AM on the 4th of January

  • Connect live and historical video feed or photos from the sites to view current conditions and investigate vandalism or unauthorised access.

  • Provide on-phone notifications for system alerts or changes

  • Provide historical trends to view past performance using graphs and tables.

The APP has since been extended to provide farmer functionality also, allowing the irrigators to view their water usage, pay their usage bills using online payment methods commonly used in china such AliPay.


The solutions provided by ICS have allowed the Tongxin country channel operators to gain a much better insight to their water usage through accurate metering and remote monitoring functionality. This insight combined with the automation and control upgrades has enabled the operators to improve their delivery practices, increasing overall performance from both a delivery efficiency and customer satisfaction perspective.  

The asset owner is highly impressed with the quality and reliability of the ICS systems and intents to expand the project further to include more automated outlets and regulators in the main canal through 2020 and beyond.

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