The Many Pieces of the Irrigation Industry

By Kris Polly

I recently had the opportunity to attend a rugby match between the New Zealand and U.S. national teams in Washington, DC. New Zealand readers will not be surprised to hear that the All Blacks racked up a severely lopsided win, although the U.S. team did score its first ever try against New Zealand. Like everyone who has the chance to see the All Blacks in action, I was impressed by their skill and hard work. This month in Irrigation Leader, we feature the story of one former All Black, Sam Broomhall, who has brought those same qualities to his work as a managing director for irrigation supply company Think Water Canterbury. Today, Think Water Canterbury is a local dealer of Nebraska-made Reinke center pivots. Whether in sports or in the irrigation agriculture business, I am happy to see connections being made between our two great countries.

In the southwestern United States, severe drought in the Colorado basin is triggering cuts to water deliveries. To learn more, we speak with Tom Buschatzke, the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Two years ago, the unthinkable happened for Nebraska’s Gering–Fort Laramie Irrigation District (GFLID). One of its water conveyance tunnels collapsed, leaving it without water for more than a month during the most critical time of the year. GFLID Manager Rick Preston tells us about the hard work the district put in to get water flowing again.

Next, we speak with Dr. Khaled Bali and Dr. Stephen Kaffka, two University of California experts who were involved in studying the benefits of automating the surface irrigation of sugar beets in the Imperial Valley. Using Rubicon gates and software, they demonstrated an increase in water use efficiency from 70–75 percent to 85 percent.

Moleaer has created a novel and highly effective aeration system that injects water with billions of tiny air bubbles, thousands of times smaller than a grain of salt. We speak with Moleaer CEO Nick Dyner about the technology’s potential for reservoirs, canals, and other irrigation-related use cases.

Evans Equipment Inc. buys, refurbishes, and sells Caterpillars and other heavy work equipment, often disassembling the machines to the frame and completely rebuilding them. President Brad Evans tells us about the cost savings this allows the company to pass on to customers, including irrigation districts.

The United States and New Zealand may compete on the rugby pitch, but we cooperate on the irrigation field. I am always happy to see U.S. businesses and products in New Zealand and vice versa. I hope that this magazine helps establish and strengthen those connections. 

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and the 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