Volume 14 Issue 2 February WA

Representing Eastern Washington in Washington, DC

by Chris Polly

Cathy McMorris Rodgers has agricultural roots in eastern Washington State and has represented Washington’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005. As of this year, her district has expanded to include additional agricultural land in Franklin and Adams Counties. In our cover interview, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers speaks to us about the importance of irrigated agriculture to Washington State and when and how producers should get in touch with her to convey their thoughts and concerns.

Next, we speak with three New Mexico water managers. Dr. Patrick Sullivan, the new treasurer-manager of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, tells us about facing drought, maintaining infrastructure, and fostering all-important collaboration in the Rio Grande basin. Coley Burgess, the manager of southeastern New Mexico’s Carlsbad Irrigation District, tells us about his agency’s infrastructure and efficiency efforts, and Aron Balok, the superintendent of the Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District, tells us about the water conservation measures his agency has taken to prevent the depletion of the area’s artesian aquifer and to avoid the risk of a priority call from senior water rights holders downstream.

A new software tool, IrrigationViz, developed by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, aims to help irrigation districts decide whether to move forward with system modernization projects by generating estimates of water savings, return on investment, and other metrics. INL Applied Data Scientist Shiloh Elliot and PNNL Software Engineer James Kershaw tell us more.

We also highlight another initiative aimed at using software to make data more manageable. Tony Willardson, the executive director of the Western States Water Council, tells us about the forthcoming Western States Water Data Access and Analysis Tool (WestDAAT), which will streamline the sharing of water data for western states.

Cortec is a major global manufacturer of corrosion- inhibiting products, with solutions for the water treatment, irrigation water, and civil construction industries, among others. We speak with Scott Bryan, Cortec’s technical sales manager for water treatment and coatings additives, and Julie Holmquist, its marketing content writer, to learn more about its products for the irrigation market.

Redistricting means that numerous irrigated producers in central Washington are now part of Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ district. That makes it a great time to get to know about her by reading our interview and getting in contact with her as work on the Farm Bill intensifies.

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 kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.