Irrigation Leader
  • Featured,  Interview,  Irrigated Crop

    Growing Pecans in the Desert Southwest

    The climate of the desert Southwest is ideal for growing pecans, and the region produces roughly one-third of all pecans grown in the United States. With global demand for their product rising, New Mexico pecan growers see a bright future. However, there is a hard constraint on pecan production: water. Growing pecans in New Mexico’s arid land requires the efficient and intelligent use of limited irrigation water resources. In this interview, Greg Daviet, the manager of Dixie Ranch farm, speaks with Irrigation Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about how pecans are grown and harvested in New Mexico and distributed around the world.

  • News

    Security at Kennewick Irrigation District

    At Kennewick Irrigation District (KID), security is top of mind. In recent years, the district has participated in several staff safety trainings and implemented important new safety measures in its new building. KID has twice hosted Officer Philip Ball, a police-training specialist and owner of the Situational Awareness Institute, to train KID staff on active-shooter prevention and survival and verbal de-escalation. These training sessions educate employees on the importance of safety and how to stay protected during a crisis. The active-shooter training teaches staff what characteristics and signs to look for in a potential active shooter, how to report the problem, how to stay protected while waiting for authorities, and…

  • News

    Lessons From Madera Irrigation District’s Logo Redesign Campaign

    Madera Irrigation District (MID) services 140,000 acres of land in north-central California, most of which is used for growing almonds, grapes, and pistachios. MID contracts with Central Valley Project, pulling water from the Friant Dam and Hensley Lake, and also holds pre-1914 water rights to local surface waters. Madera, California, a city of some 65,000 people, is primarily located in the district and relies 100 percent on groundwater for its municipal water supply. In 2012, when Thomas Greci took over as the general manager of MID, the district had a problem with how it was being perceived by the water industry and its local customers. Over the next few years,…

  • Interview,  Irrigated Crop

    The Next Big Crop? Studying Hemp in the Imperial Valley

    I ndustrial hemp is becoming a big business in the United States. Projections show that it has the potential to earn billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in the next several years. Industrial hemp is a form of cannabis sativa with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, making it entirely distinct from its cousin, marijuana. Hemp is used in the production of goods such as rope, lotion, cannabidiol (CBD) oil, sunscreen, clothing, and paper. Research centers across the country are beginning to study the plant to prepare for its promising economic future. The Imperial Valley Conservation Research Center (IVCRC) in Brawley, California, is on the cutting edge…

  • 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…

  • Portrait photo of United States Senator James Risch (Republican, Idaho)

    Home-Grown Solutions The Key to Successful Water Management in the West

    Water was a pillar of economic success in the West long before Idaho and its neighbors became states. It has allowed us to boast of highly fertile farmland, thriving energy production, efficient transportation for goods, and unmatched recreational opportunities. As perhaps the most precious and vital resource in the western United States, our water comes with a storied past with competing interests. With its long history of controversy and compromise, those who best understand the complexity of the issues around water are the local communities. Western water is intricate and nuanced—and, above all else, so important to our state—which is why it is so vital that its management be focused…

  • 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…