The Millennium Drought of the early 2000s in Australia led to fundamental reforms in water management in the country, including the establishment of a National Water Commission and the expansion of water markets. Water markets allow users to buy and sell water rights at market-determined prices, which helps to balance consumptive and environmental demand and to reveal the value that different users place on water. In 2012, the consultancy Aither was founded to provide water resources– related economics, policy, and management advice informed by the Australian experience. Aither has plans to expand operations to the United States in the near future. In this interview, Will Fargher, a founding director of…
HydroSide Systems has developed an innovative and award-winning technology for moving wheel lines, traveling guns, boom systems, and other traveling irrigation units. It aims to replace labor-intensive movers with a water-powered hydroelectric system, making irrigation units self-powered and autonomous. In this interview, HydroSide Founder and CEO Dana Mohr tells Irrigation Leader about how the company’s technology works and the benefits it can bring to irrigators.
Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A lifelong resident of central Washington, Congressman Newhouse served four terms in the Washington State House of Representatives and was the director of Washington State’s Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013 before being elected to his position in Washington, DC. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and serves on three subcommittees, including the Energy and Water Subcommittee. In this interview, Congressman Newhouse tells Irrigation Leader about his work to support irrigated agriculture in Washington and across the West and the outlook on federal support for irrigation infrastructure in the aftermath of the…
The Kinsey Irrigation Company, located in Custer County, Montana, provides water to farming across 6,640 acres of land, supporting 80 families. The company was recently informed that its existing power contract with the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program will not be eligible for renewal when it expires. This casts the future of the company in question, as alternate power sources would cost 6½–20 times as much as its current supply. In this interview, Doug Martin, the project coordinator for the Kinsey Irrigation Company’s legislative efforts on the Pick-Sloan issue, lays out for us the company’s current situation and how it could be resolved.
The Sidney Water Users Irrigation District (SWUID), based in Sidney, Montana, serves water to 48 family farms across around 5,000 acres in eastern Montana. Along with its neighboring district, Kinsey Irrigation Company, SWUID is threatened with the loss of affordable project use power (PUP) from the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, which was authorized by Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1944 and which SWUID has been using for 75 years. In this interview, SWUID President Raymond Bell explains the district’s situation and what actions are needed to preserve its operations and services.
Montana’s Fort Belknap Indian Community (FBIC), which brings together the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes on the Fort Belknap Reservation, is home to the nation’s oldest federal Indian irrigation project, the Fort Belknap Indian Irrigation Project (FBIIP). The FBIC has Indian reserved water rights in the Milk River basin and recognizes the importance of the water resources delivered by the St. Mary diversion. In this interview, FBIC Water Resources Department Administrator Kristal Fox discusses the history of FBIC’s water resources and irrigation and the importance of the Milk River Project.
The St. Mary diversion works, which deliver water from the St. Mary River to the Milk River and provide the water for the Milk River Project’s irrigation supply downstream, are located on the Blackfeet Reservation in northwestern Montana. While the facilities were built on Blackfeet land, largely with Blackfeet labor, the Milk River Project did not provide any water to the Blackfeet Nation until a new compact with the State of Montana was passed in 2016. After the recent failure of drop 5, the Milk River Joint Board of Control (MRJBOC), the Bureau of Reclamation, and other agencies are working closely with the Blackfeet Nation to carry out repairs in…
Mike Murphy has decades of experience in agriculture and has been the executive director of the Montana Water Resources Association (MWRA) for 27 years. MWRA advocates for Montana’s irrigated agriculture on both the state and the federal levels. In this interview, Mr. Murphy tells Irrigation Leader about the association’s top issues, including infrastructure funding and water rights adjudications.
While many Americans from outside Montana may not be familiar with the Milk River Project or the Sidney and Kinsey Irrigation Projects, their importance goes beyond Montana’s borders. The Milk River Project alone provides water to farmers who grow enough food to feed one million people per year. In this interview, Greg Gianforte, the representative of Montana’s at-large congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, tells Irrigation Leader about the importance of Montana’s irrigated agriculture and how he is supporting it in Congress.
Third-generation Montanan Jon Tester has represented Montana in the United States Senate since 2006. His prior experience in agriculture and local and state government means that he has an intimate knowledge of the importance of irrigated agriculture for Montana’s economy. In this interview, Senator Tester tells Irrigation Leader about his legislative work on behalf of Montana irrigators.