This chapter gives an overview of the issue of water management. We describe open channel systems, why they are difficult to manage, and why control engineering may provide useful tools to better manage such systems. We also emphasize the difficulties involved in the design of efficient controllers for open channels: they are distributed systems, with large delays between inputs and outputs, few measurements along the system, subject to large and unmeasured perturbations, with a nonlinear behavior. Our approach is based on an engineering background, where pragmatic but efficient solutions can be found to solve practical problems. We limit our study to the linearized Saint-Venant equations, which describe open channel flow around a given equilibrium regime. This is a classical approach in the control engineering community, linked to the gain-schedulingmethod for designing a controller for a nonlinear system, based on its linearizations.
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