Irrigation Leader
  • Featured,  Innovator,  Interview

    Removing Nitrates From Groundwater via Wood Chip Walls

    Like many agricultural regions in the United States, New Zealand’s South Island deals with the contamination of its groundwater by nitrates. However, the situation is distinct in two respects. First, the alluvial gravel aquifers that underlie much of the intensively farmed land on New Zealand’s South Island are extremely permeable and are characterized by fast groundwater velocities. Second, the primary source of nitrogen in the groundwater is the waste produced by New Zealand’s millions of dairy cows. In this interview, Lee Burbery, a scientist at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in Christchurch, speaks with Irrigation Leader about the technical, political, and economic challenges of combatting nitrate pollution…

  • Featured,  Innovator,  Interview

    The Voyager: An Affordable Response to Nitrate Contamination

    Many rural agricultural areas across the United States have issues with nitrate contamination in their groundwater but lack the funds to build a large water treatment plant. That’s where Filtra-Systems steps in. The Oklahoma-based company has created the Voyager, a mobile water treatment station that is more affordable than a full-scale facility. Small communities can buy one or more Voyagers to treat their water, or can enter into service contracts with Filtra, reducing their up-front costs even more. In this interview, Kent Foster, Filtra’s senior vice president of business development, speaks with Irrigation Leader about his company’s solution and why it makes sense for rural communities with nitrate contamination issues.

  • Featured,  Interview

    Protecting Groundwater and Reversing Subsidence in the Coachella Valley

    The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is a 2014 California law intended to preserve and protect California’s precious groundwater resources. The law required all hydrological basins and subbasins across the state to be assessed for their priority and overdraft status and then to develop appropriate plans for the sustainable management of their groundwater. Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) was able to prove that its existing groundwater management activities lived up to the SGMA standard, obviating the need for new plans. Moreover, its groundwater management is resulting in a significant increase in groundwater levels and even the reversal of ground subsidence. In this interview, Zoe Rodriguez del Rey, the manager of…

  • Featured,  Interview

    Nebraska’s Integrated Management Planning System

    Nebraska is well known for its unique natural resources district (NRD) system, in which 23 local agencies handle a wide variety of environmental issues across the state, including groundwater quantity and quality, soil erosion, and flood prevention. While this system gives local bodies significant control, the NRDs also have to coordinate with the state. As awareness of the relationship between surface water and groundwater has increased, the Nebraska Legislature has mandated that NRDs establish Integrated Management Plans (IMPs) to help them coordinate with state agencies. In this interview, carried out early in 2020, Jeff Fassett, the director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), talks about how his agency…

  • Featured,  Interview

    Central Platte NRD’s Successful Groundwater Management Program

    Like many irrigated farming areas across the United States, the Central Platte Natural Resources District (NRD) faced problems with nitrate pollution in its groundwater. With the district’s shallow water table and widespread use of flood irrigation, fertilizer was leaching into the groundwater at levels that were detrimental to human health. Through education and regulation, Central Platte NRD has successfully turned the corner, and nitrate levels are now decreasing. In this interview, Central Platte NRD General Manager Lyndon Vogt tells Irrigation Leader about how his NRD managed to address the nitrate issue and provides his advice for other groundwater managers facing similar issues.

  • Featured,  Interview

    How Costco’s Fremont Poultry Facility Protects Local Groundwater

    Costco is known and loved for its $5 rotisserie chickens. In order to better provide this popular item, Costco has recently moved beyond simply supplying chickens to actually raising them. To do this, it established an enormous chicken operation— including a hatchery, a feed mill, a processing facility, and a network of local farmers who raise the poultry—in and around Fremont, Nebraska. It will eventually produce 2 million chickens a week. With such a large facility coming into the area, some locals were concerned about issues including the amount of chicken litter, or manure, that the poultry would create and its potential effects on groundwater. In this interview, Jessica Kolterman…

  • Featured,  Innovator,  Interview

    Fighting Groundwater Nitrate Contamination in the Bazile Groundwater Management Area

    Like many agricultural areas with sandy soils, northeastern Nebraska deals with nitrate from fertilizer leaching into its groundwater. In one region in particular, nitrate levels have risen to such a level that they threaten the health of the residents of 10 rural communities that are fully dependent on groundwater for their drinking supplies. In response, the four natural resources districts (NRDs) whose territories overlap this area have decided to work together to address nitrate pollution in the area they have designated the Bazile Groundwater Management Area (BGMA). By joining forces and funds and applying for federal and state grants, they are supporting mitigation activities like education and awareness raising, reporting…

  • Featured,  Interview

    Oroville-Tonasket’s Drought Year Water Bank

    Oroville-Tonasket Irrigation District (OTID), located in north-central Washington State, enjoys senior water supplies from its sources in Lake Osoyoos and the Okanagan River. However, the region has undergone droughts in recent years, resulting in curtailment for junior water right holders. In order to make use of the water available to it and to help those without a reliable water supply, OTID has set up a water bank under which it can first protect, then lease a portion of its unused water to interested customers in the Okanogan River basin and downstream along the mainstem Columbia River. In the short term, the water will be leased to help offset the district’s…

  • Featured,  Innovator,  Interview

    Besler Industries’ Durable Pickup Flatbeds

    Nebraska-based Besler Industries is a family-owned company that builds bale loaders, pivot track closers, tillage equipment, and other machines well known to irrigated farmers. Another of its most popular products is its pickup truck flatbed. The flatbeds are customizable and can accommodate a number of modular boxes according to the user’s needs. Best of all, they’re so durable that they often outlive the trucks they’re installed on. Besler’s flatbeds will be of interest to any irrigation district or organization with a fleet of pickups.  In this interview, Herb Besler, the owner of Besler Industries; Roland Besler, the production manager; and Cliff Kester, the inside sales manager, speak with Irrigation Leader…

  • Featured,  Innovator,  Interview

    Dawson Tire’s Mighty RhinoGator Tire

    Dawson Tire and Wheel, based in Gothenburg, Nebraska, is well known for its irrigation tires and wheels. Its most famous product is quite recognizable: the bright green polyethylene RhinoGator pivot tire. The solid RhinoGator will never go flat or fill with water or mud, and it is also UV protected. In this interview, Eric MacPherson, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Dawson Tire and Wheel, speaks with Irrigation Leader about his company and how he developed the RhinoGator tire.