Irrigation Leader
  • Portrait photo of John Simpson
    Interview,  Water Law

    Assessing Idaho’s Groundwater Settlement John Simpson of Barker Rosholt & Simpson LLP

    The Eastern Snake Plane aquifer in southern Idaho supports nearly 2 million acres of farmland, dozens of cities, and various industries across the region. In 2015, after years of contentious litigation and a declining water supply, groundwater users and surface water users in the region entered into a settlement to end the conflict over the management and use of the groundwater in the aquifer. The settlement was a critical step toward protecting Idaho’s water future and combatting rapid decline in the Eastern Snake Plain aquifer. Idaho’s water future is looking more secure than before the settlement, but there is still work to be done. Tyler Young, a writer for Irrigation…

  • Governor Butch Otter rounding up cattle
    Interview,  Water Law

    Springing Into Action Governor Butch Otter's Guidance for Maintaining Idaho’s Water Resources

    Idaho, like many states throughout the western United States, is dependent on irrigation for its agriculture economy. The state’s two main crops, potatoes and sugar beets, require 32 inches of water a year to thrive. With agriculture being the backbone of the state’s economy, efficient and sustainable use of irrigation water supplies is paramount for the success of the state and its farmers. Governor Butch Otter began his public service as a representative for Canyon County in the Idaho House of Representatives in 1973. He has served Idaho as lieutenant governor, United States representative, and most recently as governor. During each of these roles, Governor Otter has played a pivotal…

  • Photo closeup of cherries from above
    Irrigated Crop,  Water Law

    An Update on the Produce Safety Rule

    In November 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the Produce Safety Rule, which includes an Agricultural Water Provision (AWP) requiring that growers identify, inspect, and monitor their irrigation water supplies for indicator E. coli. Compliance for all aspects of the rule was set to begin in January 2018. However, in March 2017 the FDA made an announcement that it was reviewing the AWP after increasing pushback and confusion over some of the finer points of the provision. In the end, it kept the criteria the same but pushed the timeline for compliance out an additional 4 years and continued to emphasize the possibility of refinement as more…

  • Interview,  Water Law

    The Use of Federal Water for Growing Hemp An Interview With Reclamation's Steve Davies

    A lthough the Agricultural Act of 2014 includes provisions for the growth of industrial hemp for research purposes under state-approved programs, the use of federal water had been in question given hemp’s classification under the Controlled Substances Act. However, in late May 2018, the Bureau of Reclamation’s Montana Area Office issued the first permit for the use of federal water from a reservoir operated by Reclamation to irrigate industrial hemp. Only one permit has been issued so far; however, this action could allow for the crop’s growth in popularity throughout the West. In an interview with Tyler Young, writer for Irrigation Leader magazine, Montana Area Office Manager Steve Davies speaks…

  • Photo of Snake River
    Water Law

    Is There a New Sheriff in Town? The Permitting of Irrigation Operations and Management by FEMA

    Imagine that water delivery entities are required to obtain permits from their local community or communities prior to diverting water into their canals. Imagine that water delivery entities and drainage districts are required to obtain permits from their local community or communities prior to removing debris impeding flows in their canals or ditches. What if the operation, maintenance, cleaning, and repair of irrigation and drainage facilities (ditch use) was subject to regulation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through local community flood control authorities? Does it make sense to grant local communities the power to permit the activities water delivery and drainage entities must perform to maintain the safe…

  • Photo of hemp at sunset
    Water Law

    Marijuana, Hemp, and Water—OH, MY! Water Delivery for Marijuana and Hemp Cultivation

    The town of Nipton, California, is on the verge of a population boom. This former ghost town, which was founded in 1905 and sits near the Nevada border, was recently purchased by American Green, Inc., an Arizona-based marijuana technology company. American Green intends to make Nipton America’s “first energyindependent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.” Offering products ranging from cannabis-infused water to marijuana edibles, the new owners hope to make this sleepy hamlet on the edge of the Mohave Desert a destination hotspot for marijuana enthusiasts. But to make this dream a reality, American Green is going to need ingenuity, manpower, and water. Lots and lots of water. You cannot grow marijuana and…