Volume 14 Issue 8 September AZ

Advocating for Arizona

By Kris Polly

In this month’s cover story, we have the privilege of speaking with Congressman Ruben Gallego about advocating for Arizona in Washington, DC, and in the Colorado basin. Congressman Gallego talks about the action he sees as necessary on the state, basin, and federal levels.

Then, we speak with two leaders from the Four States Irrigation Council, which has been providing irrigators from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming a forum to connect with each other and share ideas for more than 70 years. We interview current Four States President Steve Fletcher as well as Brian Werner, who helped run the organization for many years. In addition to its conference each January, which is a must-visit for all in the region, Four States organizes an annual summer tour, which this year visited Wyoming.

With that in mind, we talk to the managers of two Wyoming irrigation districts: Kevin Strecker of Goshen Irrigation District (GID) and Tyler Weckler of Heart Mountain Irrigation District (HMID). GID, which was on the itinerary for Four States’ 2023 tour, has been working to recover from a catastrophic 2019 tunnel collapse and is planning a permanent replacement for the tunnel, among other projects. HMID is working on a variety of rehab projects as well as grappling with the changes in land and water use caused by urbanization.

We also speak with Margo Jarvis Redelback of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association to learn a bit about irrigated ag north of the border.

Then, we talk to Andrew Skibo, who recently launched ClearChannel Vegetation Management, an aquatic weed control company specifically aimed at helping irrigation districts.

Finally, we speak with another member of Congress from the Southwest: Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury of New Mexico.

Protecting and preserving the Colorado River remains top of mind for Arizona farmers, water managers, and legislators. I’m grateful to Congressman Gallego for sharing his thoughts on the river with us, and fully agree with his conclusion: Managing the Colorado “is going to take an all- hands-on-deck approach.”

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.