Volume 14 Issue 7 July/August WA

Progress in the Odessa Subarea

By Kris Polly

The Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program (OGWRP) is an important project that is designed to help complete the promise of the Columbia Basin Project and eliminate excessive groundwater pumping. This month, we’re happy to bring you news of its progress, including its recent receipt of $32.8 million in appropriations in the Washington State Legislature’s capital budget. We speak with four of the program’s top advocates: Craig Simpson, the secretary-manager of the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District (ECBID); Sara Higgins, the executive director of the Columbia Basin Development League; Jon Erickson, the development coordinator of ECBID; and Kristina Ribellia, the executive director of the Columbia Basin Conservation District.

As a native of western Nebraska, I can attest that it is no place to grow pineapples in the winter. Yet farmers are doing just that with simple geothermal greenhouses manufactured by Greenhouse in the Snow. We speak with Allen Bright about the ingenious technology, designed by founder Russ Finch, and what can be grown with it. We also speak with Leigh Dodd, the executive vice president of the Greenhouse Company of South Carolina, about the company’s line of Jāderloon greenhouses, which are suited for customers ranging from commercial operations to hobbyists.

Next, we speak with Mike Britton of Oregon’s North Unit Irrigation District about its new pump station, fish screens, and other infrastructure upgrades.

We also talk with Josh Mosier, the North American general manager of Komet Irrigation, a global irrigation company known for its high-efficiency sprinklers and other products.

Then, we speak with Ward Neesen, the chief technology officer at Watertronics, about the new WaterVision 2.0 cloud telemetry system, which can automatically and remotely control pump and irrigation systems, help prepare reports, and adjust flow levels to optimize the output of irrigation devices.

Next, we talk to Alejandro Caballero, the director of engineering at Spanish engineering and consulting firm BIOAZUL, about the company’s work around the world to purify and reuse wastewater, especially for agricultural irrigation.

We also speak with President Mark Turpin and Business Development Manager Steve Macomber of Duperon about the company’s rakes and screens, which can help irrigation managers handle debris, storm surges, and waste in their systems.

In one sense, the business of irrigated agriculture is simple: putting water on plants. But as we all know, doing this efficiently, productively, and effectively takes hard work, ingenuity, and creativity. From geothermal greenhouses to telemetry systems to recycled wastewater, this month’s interviewees exemplify these qualities.

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.