Irrigators are in the business of moving vast quantities of vitally important water—a task that requires solid, reliable, and durable infrastructure. That is easy to say, but as any canal manager knows, keeping irrigation infrastructure in pristine shape can be an arduous task. In this month’s issue of Irrigation Leader, we speak with the executives, professionals, inventors, and implementers who are working to meet our nation’s infrastructure challenges.

Friant Water Authority delivers over a million acre-feet of surface water annually to water users in the Central Valley of California. Friant is facing a major issue of ground subsidence, which is reducing the capacity of its 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal. In our cover story, Friant Chief executive officer Jason Phillips talks about the challenges of raising hundreds of million dollars for federally owned infrastructure repairs.

Looking to Montana’s Hi-Line, we speak with Jennifer Patrick of the Milk River Joint Board of Control. The Joint Board operates infrastructure that dates back to the early 20th century and now demands repairs that are daunting in their scale and potential cost.

We also talk to Kevin Werbylo of the Headwaters Corporation, the entity that implements the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program. Headwaters is using a mix of new and existing infrastructure to provide endangered species law compliance and water use mitigation for water users in the Platte River basin.

We also speak with Walter Winder of Hydro Consulting, which produces AquaLastic, an affordable and highly effective elastomeric product used to repair cracked concrete conveyance structures—and keep them repaired for the long haul.

Riverscreen has created an innovative floating pump screen that can pull anywhere from 20 to 2,000 gallons a minute from rivers, lakes, streams, or livestock lagoons, making it a potential addition to an individual irrigator’s or irrigation district’s infrastructure.

Finally, we salute a longtime colleague—Jeff Sanger of Worthington is retiring after 30 years in the power industry. It has been a pleasure to work with Jeff, and we wish him well.

Infrastructure maintenance is a challenge for everyone in the irrigation industry. We hope that the stories of these hardworking men and women are an inspiration to you as you read this month’s issue of Irrigation Leader.

Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at