Experience and Vision
By Kris Polly
In this month’s Washington State edition, we speak with Roger Sonnichsen, the general manager of the Quincy– Columbia Basin Irrigation District (QCBID). Mr. Sonnichsen’s professional experience spans working for the state government, for Reclamation, and as a consultant for water resources planning, all of which has built his thorough knowledge and skill set. By constantly improving QCBID’s infrastructure, cultivating great employees, and carefully planning for years ahead, Mr. Sonnichsen is building the district’s future.
This month, we also look at New Zealand irrigation, which is known for innovation and adaptation. Vanessa Winning, who has been CEO of the industry organization Irrigation New Zealand since October 2020, tells us about the importance of understanding irrigation as something that supports entire communities.
We also speak with Craig Evans of the Morven Glenavy Ikawai Irrigation Scheme (MGI), headquartered in Glenavy, New Zealand, and Emrgy Australasia Sales Manager Sheridan Douglas about MGI’s pilot installation of Emrgy hydroturbines, the first in New Zealand.
Greg Yeoman of Stormwater360 tells us about the green roof that his company designed for New Zealand’s Mount Difficulty winery—the largest such roof in the nation.
Wes Long of Tubi tells us about his company’s mobile pipe-manufacturing plants, which can produce 500-foot lengths of high-density polyethylene pipe directly in the field.
Stephen Bell, the president of global UV company Trojan Technologies, tells us about his company’s work around the world, including in New Zealand.
We also feature two innovative New Zealand ag tech companies. Andrew Neill of Onfarm Data tells us about his company’s data-based decision-support software, and Paul Donaldson of WaterForce tells us about his company’s work designing irrigation systems.
New Zealand differs from the United States in hydrology, land use, and regulations, but its commitments to innovation and economy will be familiar to all U.S. farmers, and it should be of interest both as a source of ideas and as a potential market for expansion. With this in mind, Irrigation Leader will be launching a New Zealand edition in September 2021. I hope it will be of interest to our current readers and will help strengthen the connections between our two countries.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.