Irrigation Leader
  • Photo of Benton Irrigation District's river pump station in 2010 showing construction
    Interview,  Manager Profile,  Washington State

    Ed Mitchell: Operations Manager of Benton Irrigation District

    Benton Irrigation District serves over 4,500 acres of urban and agricultural land around Benton County in southeastern Washington. Over the last decade, BID undertook a $35 million project to convert its open-ditch system into a fully pressurized, completely pipe-based system. This technological leap has resulted in significant advances in water conservation. Kris Polly, editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader, spoke with BID Operations Manager Ed Mitchell about the district’s history, challenges, and recent accomplishments.

  • Bruce Scott stands in front of a pivot that waters crops in a green field. Mountains in the background.
    District Profile,  Interview

    Improving Water Delivery and Efficiency for Farmers Daniel Carney and Kevin Pearson of Eastern Municipal Water District

    In summer 2018, Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) of Perris, California, received a $210,000 grant from the Bureau of Reclamation to support increased water use efficiencies among its agricultural customers. The grant funding is part of the Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency program, a joint program between Reclamation and the National Resources Conservation Service. EMWD was one of three agencies nationally to receive program funding. The funding will support new technology to assist local agricultural producers become more efficient and to provide them with a better understanding of their water use needs. It will include real-time online tracking of water use, creating weather-based water budgets for local farms and replacing…

  • Photo of Clancy Flynn standing in a field
    District Profile,  Interview,  Washington State

    New Leadership at Columbia Irrigation District An interview with Clancy Flynn

    Colombia Irrigation District (CID), located in southeastern Washington, delivers water to approximately 10,000 acres on close to 7,000 parcels of land. CID holds one of the oldest water rights in the Yakima River basin, with the district having officially formed in 1917. The CID system begins at the Wanawish Dam along the Yakima River and delivers water to the town of Kennewick. The CID system consists primarily of open canals, both lined and unlined, which total approximately 41 miles in length. CID is currently building its vision for the future to proactively ensure its water delivery capability for many years to come. Kris Polly, editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader, spoke with…

  • Photo of Brian Olmstead pointing to the left
    Interview,  Manager Profile

    Securing Idaho’s Water Flow Brian Olmstead of Twin Falls Canal Company

    As in most parts of rural America, agriculture reigns supreme in southern Idaho. The area receives around 10 inches of rain and 19 inches of snow per year, but a substantial amount of water is required to ensure that traditional crops, such as corn, barley, potatoes, and beets, can flourish. Since 1903, the Twin Falls Canal Company has been providing water to the farmers, municipalities, and individuals who live in the more than 202,000 acres of land it services. Kris Polly, editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader, spoke with Brian Olmstead, general manager for the Twin Falls Canal Company, about issues affecting the Twin Falls Canal Company today, the 2015 Idaho Groundwater…

  • Photo portrait of Paul Tuss
    Interview,  Manager Profile

    Economic Development in North-Central Montana Paul Tuss of Bear Paw Development Corporation

    C reated in 1969 as an economic development district, Bear Paw Development Corporation has been shaping the economic landscape of north-central Montana for nearly 50 years. Since its inception, a dedicated team of specialists have been managing economic development projects, assisting local governments in planning public works, and coordinating investments to further advance the local economy to better serve the needs of the residents within the five-county region. Bear Paw Development is looking to propel its district forward by establishing itself as a leader in alternative energy, transportation, light manufacturing, food processing, health care, value-added agriculture, micro-enterprise development, and workforce education. In an interview with Irrigation Leader’s editor-in-chief, Kris Polly,…

  • Photo of a small dam on a small river. Forested mountain the background.
    Association Profile,  Interview

    Jeremy Sorensen of the Strawberry Water Users Association

    The Strawberry Water Users Association (SWUA) delivers 71,000 acre-feet of water to more than 40,000 acres of orchards and alfalfa fields, as well as burgeoning communities on the southern Wasatch Front in Utah County. SWUA uses the infrastructure of the Strawberry Valley Project, the first Bureau of Reclamation project in Utah, to move water from the Colorado River basin into the Great Basin. For General Manager Jeremy Sorensen, delivering water on behalf of SWUA is a family affair. Since SWUA was founded 100 years ago, there have only been 20 years in which there was not a Sorensen on the board of directors. Mr. Sorensen’s father is currently one of…

  • Aerial photo of Eight Mile Lake situated in the mountains
    District Profile,  Interview,  Washington State

    Tony Jantzer of Icicle and Peshastin Irrigation Districts

    In August 2017, the Jack Creek Wildfire ran rampant through the Cascade Range in Washington State, leaving thousands of acres of land destroyed and impenetrable by water. Due to the lack of absorption, the Icicle and Peshastin Irrigation Districts have been taxed with accommodating the higherthan-normal-level runoff captured in Eight Mile Dam, adding stress to the 1920s-era structure. As a result, the board declared an emergency to address looming challenges. Irrigation Leader’s editor-in-chief, Kris Polly, spoke with Tony Jantzer, secretary-manager for Icicle and Peshastin Irrigation Districts, to learn more about the districts and the situations they are facing. In the interview, Mr. Jantzer speaks about the challenges his team faces…

  • Photo of Mark Maynard sitting in an office
    District Profile,  News

    Improving Flow Accountability at the Columbia Improvement District

    The Columbia Improvement District (CID) in Boardman, Oregon, is working to maximize the capabilities of its water infrastructure with the goals of improving system efficiency and reliability to better serve district members. CID General Manager Mark Maynard has led an initiative to automate and improve efficiency throughout the CID system. The installation of McCrometer FPI Mag meters has been a critical component of that effort. Situated off the southern banks of the Columbia River, CID provides water to 18,000 acres of farmland via a 7-mile main canal, 6 pumps off the Columbia River, 30 booster stations, and a large network of pipelines throughout the area. On average, CID pumps 76,000…

  • Photo of Lake McClure during a drought. The original Exchequer Dam, normally submerged, is exposed.
    District Profile,  Interview

    Expanding Storage to Sustain Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley John Sweigard of Merced Irrigation District

    With rights dating back to the 1800s, Merced Irrigation District (MID) is a senior water rights holder on California’s Merced River, a tributary of the San Joaquin River. The irrigation district formed in 1919 and built Exchequer Dam, creating Lake McClure. MID completed the 490-foot New Exchequer Dam in 1967, impounding more than 1 million acre-feet of surface water, creating flood control space, and providing a generating capacity of 95 megawatts of renewable hydroelectric power. MID currently serves approximately 2,200 growers and more than 130,000 acres of highvalue orchards and row crops in the eastern San Joaquin Valley. Over the years, and like most water providers in California, MID has…

  • Photo of East Goulburn Main Channel
    District Profile

    Murrumbidgee Irrigation

    In 1912, the Australian government formed Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) following the commissioning of Burrinjuck Dam in the Snowy Mountains. The intent of the project was to construct a system that would make inland Australia a drought-proof major food producer and that would create jobs for an expanding nation. Today, MI has done just that and much more. Servicing over 3,300 landholdings that are owned by over 2,500 customers within a 670,000-hectare area in the Murray-Darling basin, MI has developed into a large and thriving irrigation district. MI’s core operation is the delivery of water through an extensive integrated supply and drainage network ranging over 140,000 hectares. The system comprises 250…