Irrigation Leader
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    Volume 11 Issue 7 July/August 2020 Washington State Edition

    This month, Irrigation Leader has the pleasure of featuring an interview with Congressman Dan Newhouse, who represents central Washington’s 4th district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Newhouse speaks with us about a number of highly timely topics, including title transfer and the possibility of including funding for irrigation districts in a post-COVID‑19 stimulus bill.  The rest of this issue is dedicated to pressing issues in the state of Montana. On May 17, the long-feared happened—the catastrophic failure of drop structure 5 in the St. Mary unit of Montana’s Milk River Project. Unless and until it is repaired, it will not be possible to replenish the project’s storage, threatening…

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    Volume 11 Issue 7 July/August 2020

    On May 17, the long-feared happened—the catastrophic failure of drop structure 5 in the St. Mary unit of Montana’s Milk River Project. Unless and until the St. Mary unit is repaired, it will not be possible to replenish the project’s storage, threatening the agricultural producers and municipalities that rely on its water. Much of this July/August issue of Irrigation Leader is devoted to this critical situation and how to resolve it. Our cover interview features Jennifer Patrick of the Milk River Joint Board of Control and Marko Manoukian of the St. Mary Rehabilitation Working Group, two individuals who are working on the ground to facilitate the drop 5 repair. We…

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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…

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    Volume 11 Issue 6 June 2020 Washington State Edition

    Washington’s AgForestry Leadership program provides invaluable training, networking, and learning opportunities to state’s rising generation of water leaders. The 18-month course includes seminars across Washington State; a visit to Washington, DC; and an international trip—this year, to Cambodia and Vietnam. In this issue, we interview four members of Class 41, this year’s graduating class, about what they are taking away from AgForestry.  Our interview with General Manager Brad Wind of Colorado’s Northern Water demonstrates how irrigation districts harness nature on a grand scale. Northern Water sends hundreds of thousands of acre-feet a water a year under the Rockies to irrigate a swath of northeastern Colorado as large and populous as…

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    Volume 11 Issue 6 June 2020

    Irrigation is a story of humans harnessing nature. We collect, measure, and move water—sometimes across a field, sometimes across a state or a mountain range— and make crops grow out of what was once barren ground. The elemental power of irrigation is very much on display in our interview with General Manager Brad Wind of Colorado’s Northern Water. Northern Water sends hundreds of thousands of acre-feet a water a year under the Rockies to irrigate a swath of northeastern Colorado as large and populous as the state of Delaware. This is a feat of human ingenuity, engineering, and hard work.  The harnessing of nature also happens at the microscopic level,…

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    Volume 11 Issue 5 May 2020 Washington State Edition

    Our cover interview with Mark Wagoner reveals the unusual challenges that the Gardena Farms Irrigation District in Touchet, Washington, faces. To put it simply, the district lacks any significant supply of water from July 1 to October 1, if not later. Nevertheless, the district’s farmers have identified appropriate crops for their situation and are improving and piping their delivery system piece by piece. This issue of Irrigation Leaderalso features several stories from a country that knows much about building amid challenging conditions. “Give the plant everything it needs, but not one drop more.” This was said to me in a conversation with a representative of an Israeli company that traced…

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    Volume 11 Issue 5 May 2020

    Give the plant everything it needs, but not one drop more.” This was said to me in a conversation with a representative of an Israeli company that traced its roots to the development of drip irrigation over 50 years ago. That quote has stuck with me because of the practical mindset it represents; use water, but no more than needed. As you will see in this issue of Irrigation Leader, that practical mindset pervades Israeli agriculture. Despite its semiarid and desert geography, Israel is an agricultural innovation leader. Israel developed drip irrigation a half a century ago and has not stopped irrigating since. Our cover interview with Uri Shani of…

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    Volume 11 Issue 4 April 2020 Washington State Edition

    New Zealand is a country of gracious people, amazing scenery, and highly productive irrigated agriculture. New Zealanders, or Kiwis, face many of the same irrigation challenges that Americans do, though in some cases they have come up with new and innovative solutions that Americans can learn from. All this was on display during Irrigation Leader’s New Zealand irrigation education and trade tour, which took place from February 22 to 27.  A total of 34 participants, our largest tour group ever, traversed the beautiful South Island, visiting irrigated pastures, farms, indigenous Māori communities, apiaries, vineyards, cities, and sites of natural beauty. Along the way, we saw gravity-fed ponds, automated gates, aquifer…

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    Volume 11 Issue 4 April 2020

    New Zealand is a country of gracious people, amazing scenery, and highly productive irrigated agriculture. New Zealanders, or Kiwis, face many of the same irrigation challenges that Americans do, though in some cases they have come up with new and innovative solutions that Americans can learn from. All this was on display during Irrigation Leader’s New Zealand irrigation education and trade tour, which took place from February 22 to 27.  A total of 34 participants, our largest tour group ever, traversed the beautiful South Island, visiting irrigated pastures, farms, indigenous Māori communities, apiaries, vineyards, cities, and sites of natural beauty. Along the way, we saw gravity-fed ponds, automated gates, aquifer…

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    Volume 11 Issue 3 March2020 Water Banking at Oroville-Tonasket

    In our cover story this month, Jay O’Brien of the Oroville- Tonasket Irrigation District tell us about how his district is putting its unused water in trust and using it to gain revenue while also helping water users in need downstream. It is a promising setup that will be of interest to other Washington State water right holders.  This issue of Irrigation Leader also brings you a number of features on groundwater. In northeastern Nebraska, an area called the Bazile Groundwater Management Area, suffers from nitrate infiltration into its groundwater. We bring you interviews with the managers of four local natural resources districts (NRDs) that have joined forces to engage…