Irrigation Leader
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    Special Issue June 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic that hit the United States in mid-March has disrupted countless aspects of daily life. Across the nation, many of us have been working from home; some people have lost their jobs or been furloughed; and all of us are wondering if and when things will go back to normal.  Agriculture, of course, is the definition of an essential service, and the irrigation industry, by extension, is one as well. Irrigation districts do not have the luxury of temporarily closing up shop, especially during the spring, when many canals are being watered and prepared for the summer growing season. Their work must continue.  How exactly are they pushing…

  • Featured,  Interview

    Shane Leonard, Roosevelt Water Conservation District

    The Roosevelt Water Conservation District (RWCD) has been serving farmers, urban irrigators, and other water users in the Phoenix, Arizona, region for almost a century. The district’s current service area is approximately 40,000 acres. As an essential business, RWCD has had to find new ways to operate during the COVID‑19 pandemic. In this interview, RWCD General Manager Shane Leonard tells Irrigation Leader about the challenges the agency has had to face and how it has changed its operations to overcome them. 

  • Featured,  Interview

    Gary Esslinger, Elephant Butte Irrigation District

    Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID) has stewarded the surface water of New Mexico’s portion of the Rio Grande Project for over 100 years. EBID services 6,700 farm members within 90,640 acres. As an essential business, EBID has had to find new ways to operate during the COVID‑19 pandemic. In this interview, EBID Treasurer- Manager Gary Esslinger tells Irrigation Leader about the challenges the district has faced and what it has changed in order to continue operations. 

  • Featured,  Interview

    Tom Myrum, Washington State Water Resources Association

    The Washington State Water Resources Association (WSWRA), based in Olympia, is the coordinating agency for irrigation districts across Washington State. It represents over 100 irrigation districts and companies, which together deliver water to over 1.1 million acres of irrigated agriculture. The WSWRA is the oldest continuously active organization dedicated to the development and operation of irrigated lands and to related water resource activities in Washington State. Today, irrigation districts, like all businesses across the United States, are seeing their operations affected by the COVID‑19 pandemic. In this interview, WSWRA Executive Director Tom Myrum tells Irrigation Leader about what WSWRA is doing to face up to this crisis. 

  • Featured,  Interview

    Jasper Fanning, Upper Republican Natural Resources District

    The Upper Republican Natural Resources District (NRD), based in Imperial, Nebraska, is one of 23 local NRDs charged with protecting Nebraska’s natural resources. The Upper Republican NRD serves an area that covers Dundy, Chase, and Perkins Counties in the southwestern corner of the state, including approximately 450,000 acres of groundwater-irrigated land. In this interview, Upper Republican NRD General Manager Jasper Fanning tells Irrigation Leader about how his agency has kept up its operations amid the challenges of the COVID‑19 pandemic. 

  • Featured,  Interview

    Diane Campanile, People-Dynamics

    The COVID‑19 pandemic has disrupted the day-to-day functioning of businesses and public agencies in myriad ways, raising safety worries and motivating a large shift to remote work. Amid these changes, employers have obligations to support their sick employees, protect their healthy ones, and figure out how to restart normal operations in a safe and prudent manner. In this interview, Diane Campanile, the founder of human resources (HR) firm People-Dynamics, tells Irrigation Leader about the rules and regulations all employers should be aware of in these challenging times.   

  • Featured,  Interview

    John Winkler, Papio–Missouri River Natural Resources District

    The Papio–Missouri River Natural Resources District (NRD) in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the 23 NRDs in Nebraska whose mission is to manage the soil, water, wildlife and forest resources within their boundaries. As an essential business, the Papio–Missouri River NRD has had to find new ways to operate during the COVID‑19 pandemic. In this interview, General Manager John Winkler tells Irrigation Leader about the challenges the NRD has had to face and how it has adapted its operations to this challenging situation.   

  • Featured,  Interview

    Alan Hansten, North Side Canal Company

    The North Side Canal Company supplies irrigation water to about 160,000 acres of farmland in southern Idaho. As an essential business, the company has had to find new ways to operate during the COVID‑19 pandemic. In this interview, North Side Manager Alan Hansten tells Irrigation Leader about the challenges the company has had to face and what it’s had to change in order to continue operations.   

  • Featured,  Interview

    Mel Brooks, MHV Water

    Mel Brooks is the chief executive of MHV Water, a large-scale irrigation district—a scheme, in New Zealand parlance— in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. MHV Water delivers water and manages environmental compliance for approximately 140,000 acres of highly productive farmland.   

  • Featured,  Interview

    Chuck Freeman, Kennewick Irrigation District

    Kennewick Irrigation District (KID) provides water to agricultural and residential customers across more than 20,000 acres in the Yakima River basin of Washington State. KID has 62 employees and serves 66,000 customers. In this interview, KID Manager Chuck Freeman tells Irrigation Leader how his district responded to the COVID‑19 pandemic and gives his advice about proactive decisionmaking.   

  • Featured,  Interview

    Elizabeth Soal, Irrigation New Zealand

    Elizabeth Soal is the CEO of Irrigation New Zealand, a member-founded industry organization committed to representing the interests of New Zealand’s irrigation sector and promoting best practices across the industry. In this interview, Ms. Soal tells Irrigation Leader how COVID‑19 has affected Irrigation New Zealand and describes the actions it has taken to protect its employees.