Irrigation Leader
  • Featured,  Interview

    Enforcing Washington’s Screening Requirements Through Cooperative Compliance

    Water diverters in Washington State may know that fish screening is required by law, but they may not understand the relevant regulations and may struggle to afford compliant fish screens. The mission of the fish screening section of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is to solve these problems. Through its cooperative compliance approach, it aims to establish relationships of trust with water users, help explain screening requirements, and help users afford appropriate devices. In this interview, WDFW Biologist Danny Didricksen tells Irrigation Leader about how the screening section works to build, install, and care for screens for the benefit of both fish and water users.

  • Featured,  Interview

    A Cultural Exchange Between Washington State and New Zealand

    One member of the Irrigation Leader tour in New Zealand was Phil Rigdon, the superintendent of the Yakama Nation’s Department of Natural Resources, which oversees 17 different programs that cover fisheries, water, forestry, and environmental protection. While New Zealand is half a world away from the Yakima Valley, it has many commonalities, from the need to balance water use among fish, environmental needs, and agriculture to the need for water storage structures on irrigation districts. During the tour, Mr. Rigdon was also able to take part in a cultural exchange with members of the indigenous Māori people prior to the larger group visiting their community. In this interview, Mr. Rigdon…

  • Featured,  Interview

    Reflections on the Tour Experience

    Brian Betcher: General Manager (Retired), Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District, Pinal County, Arizona  Being recently retired from many years of irrigation district management, my focus was somewhat different for this trip. I took more note of big-picture comparisons between what I saw in New Zealand and the water world of Arizona. Upon my return home, I reflected on the benefits of having served a district that benefited from having one of its main sources of water be a river system that has tremendous storage. That created wonderful operational reliability and resiliency—the system is still half full after a 25-year drought. System automation and state-of-the-art water measurement are already part of my…

  • Featured,  Innovator,  Interview

    How Agri-Inject’s Fertigation Technology Can Prevent Nitrate Leaching

    Agri-Inject is a pioneer in the chemigation field. Since the 1980s, the Yuma, Colorado–based company has been promoting the use of mobile irrigation systems to apply fertilizer and chemicals in liquid form. This method of application, known as fertigation, allows for the quick, lowvolume, and continuous application of fertilizer, “spoon-feeding” crops no more than they can absorb and thus preventing leaching and nitrate pollution. In this interview, Erik Tribelhorn, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Agri-Inject, speaks with Irrigation Leader about the advantages of fertigation and Agri-Inject’s sales around the world.

  • Featured,  Interview

    Planning the Irrigation Leader Tour of New Zealand

    Irrigation Leader’s recent tour of New Zealand was planned in part by Mel Brooks, the chief executive officer (CEO) of MHV Water, New Zealand’s largest irrigation scheme. MHV Water provides water to over 200 farmer-shareholders on the fertile Canterbury Plains area of New Zealand’s South Island. In this interview, Mel explains how she selected tour locations that would showcase New Zealand’s irrigation industry, culture, and people.

  • Featured,  Interview

    The Water Education Foundation: Helping Professionals and the Public Understand Western Water

    The Water Education Foundation has been educating water professionals and the general public in California and across the Colorado River basin for more than 40 years. Its tours, conferences, publications, and online resources make the complex world of western water more easily comprehensible while also highlighting the high stakes of the issues involved. In this interview, Executive Director Jennifer Bowles tells Irrigation Leader about the foundation’s history, its current activities, and its importance for the irrigation audience.

  • 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…