Irrigation Leader
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    Volume 12 Issue 2 February Washington State Edition Jon DeVaney of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association

    In this month’s issue of Irrigation Leader, we highlight tree fruit, truly a jewel in the crown of Washington’s irrigated agriculture. As Jon DeVaney, the president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA), tells us, tree fruit makes up 25–30 percent of the approximately $10 billion in farm-gate ag value produced in Washington every year. The WSTFA advocates for the industry in Washington, DC, and Olympia while also helping to spread useful new technologies, processes, and ideas to its members, including water conservation technologies.  Next, we turn our eyes toward Montana. In 2017, after 75 years of receiving affordable project use power (PUP) from the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program,…

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    Volume 12 Issue 2 February Preserving Irrigation for Sidney and Kinsey

    In 2017, after 75 years of receiving affordable project use power (PUP) from the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, the Kinsey Irrigation Company (KIC) and the Sidney Water Users Irrigation District (SWUID) of southeastern Montana were told that it had all been a mistake. The Bureau of Reclamation’s lawyers had determined that the two water providers’ access to PUP was due to a bookkeeping error and that only specific congressional legislation would enable them to use it again.  Happily, 3 years later, that legislation was signed into law by President Trump, and the future of the KIC and the SWUID has been secured. One hundred thirty families will continue farming with…

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    Volume 12 Issue 1 January Washington State Edition Larry Martin: The Skills of a Top Water Lawyer

    Water resources agencies operate at the intersection of many legal fields, from water rights to environmental regulations to the everyday operating concerns of municipal entities. That means that being a water lawyer requires experience in and thorough knowledge of many areas of the law. In our cover story this month, water lawyer Larry Martin of Halverson Northwest walks us through the intricacies of his trade.  We also feature several stories on the reconstruction of the drop 5 structure in the St. Mary Unit of Montana’s Milk River Project. On October 15, 2020, 5 months after its May failure, Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman and Montana’s congressional delegation, among many other stakeholders…

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    Volume 12 Issue 1 January Successful Emergency Repairs on the Milk River Project

    The May 2020 failure of the drop 5 structure in the St. Mary Unit of Montana’s Milk River Project was a catastrophic event. “To me, it looked like a bomb had been placed under the middle section of the drop structure,” said Milk River Joint Board of Control (MRJBOC) Program Manager Jennifer Patrick. But less than 5 months later, on October 15, Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman and Montana’s congressional delegation, among many other stakeholders and supporters, were attending a ribbon cutting celebrating the reconstruction of the drop structure, which is once again helping deliver water to the Milk River to benefit to the farmers, tribal users, and municipalities of Montana’s…

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    Special Issue: Security

    Safety and security are important concerns for any irrigation district manager. A manager must make sure that employees are safe on the job; ensure that operations are carried out in a way that keeps the public safe; and protect facilities from damage, vandalism, or theft. This requires responsible and forward-thinking management and the ability to respond flexibly when unexpected events occur. This year has brought with it two major safety and security concerns: the COVID‑19 pandemic and the wave of rioting, arson, and looting that accompanied the nationwide protest movement that followed the death of George Floyd in May.  In this special issue on security, our cover story is an…

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    Volume 11 Issue 10 November/December 2020 Washington State Edition

    The Odessa Groundwater Replacement Project (OGWRP) is a crucially important effort to dramatically reduce reliance on the overstrained aquifer in the Odessa region of north-central Washington State by replacing pumped groundwater with surface water supplies from the Columbia River. This month, we have the honor of interviewing four Washington legislators—Representative Tom Dent, Representative Mary Dye, Senator Mark Schoesler, and Senator Judy Warnick—about their work on the OGWRP and what they see as the legislature’s next steps.  Next, Shane Leonard of Arizona’s Roosevelt Water Conservancy District (RWCD) tells us that efficiency goes beyond infrastructure upgrades. It also includes making sure that you have the right employees and that they are properly…

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    Volume 11 Issue 10 November/December 2020

    Irrigation district managers usually think of one thing when they hear efficiency: reducing water loss. Of course, the concept goes much further. Efficiency includes saving water, but it also means saving time, saving money, and making good decisions the first time around so that there is no need to reverse course.  In our cover story, Shane Leonard of Arizona’s Roosevelt Water Conservation District (RWCD) tells us that efficiency goes beyond infrastructure upgrades. It also includes making sure that you have the right employees and that they are properly trained. This is all the more important in a rapidly urbanizing area like the one that RWCD serves.  Our conversation with Rick…

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    Volume 11 Issue 9 October 2020 Washington State Edition

    October 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Irrigation Leader and the 101st issue of the magazine. A great thank you is owed our readers, advertisers, and most importantly, the many exceptional men and women in irrigated agriculture who have shared their time, solutions, and ideas with Irrigation Leader and its readership.  Most of the credit for the idea of the magazine must be given to two individuals: the late Richard Lemargie, an exceptionally brilliant attorney for the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project; and Mike Dwyer, a true entrepreneur and, at the time, the executive director of the North Dakota Water Users Association. Richard phoned me a few months after the end…

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    Volume 11 Issue 9 October 2020

    October 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Irrigation Leader and the 101st issue of the magazine. A great thank you is owed our readers, advertisers, and, most importantly, the many exceptional men and women in irrigated agriculture who have shared their time, solutions, and ideas with Irrigation Leader and its readership.  Most of the credit for the idea of the magazine must be given to two individuals: the late Richard Lemargie, an exceptionally brilliant attorney for the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project; and Mike Dwyer, a true entrepreneur and, at the time, the executive director of the North Dakota Water Users Association. Richard phoned me a few months after the end…

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    Volume 11 Issue 8 September 2020 Washington State Edition

    What happens when lightning strikes a piece of critical infrastructure? Few irrigation district managers are eager to find out the answer to that question. Dave Solem of South Columbia Basin Irrigation District (SCBID), however, found out firsthand after one of his pump stations was hit by lightning on May 30. Thanks to hard work, recent upgrades to the pump station, and a little luck, SCBID was able to get the station back online in 2 days. Our cover story will be of interest to all managers who are responsible for preparing for and responding to accidents and natural disasters. We also feature three stories on groundwater recharge and aquifer storage,…