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october 2019

Washington State’s Irrigated Wine Grape Industry


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CONTENTS OCTOBER 2019 Volume 10 Issue 9

Irrigation Leader is published 10 times a year with combined issues for July/August and November/December by

An American company established in 2009

STAFF: Kris Polly, Editor-in-Chief Joshua Dill, Managing Editor Tyler Young, Writer Stephanie Biddle, Graphic Designer Eliza Moreno, Web Designer SUBMISSIONS: Irrigation Leader welcomes manuscript, photography, and art submissions. However, the right to edit or deny publishing submissions is reserved. Submissions are returned only upon request. For more information, please contact our office at (202) 698-0690 or irrigation.leader@waterstrategies.com.


Washington State’s Irrigated Wine Grape Industry

5 T urning Water Into Wine By Kris Polly 6 W  ashington State’s Irrigated Wine Grape Industry 12 H  ow Irrigation New Zealand Promotes Innovation and Sustainability 18 T he South Island’s Efficient Irrigated Dairy Farming 22 N  ew Zealand’s Farm Environment Plans

30 T he Differences Between U.S. and New Zealand Irrigation 36 T -L’s Business in New Zealand and Around the World 40 H  ow IWS Builds Customized Fish Screens 42 In Memoriam: Scott E. Davis 46 C  LASSIFIEDS

CIRCULATION: Irrigation Leader is distributed to irrigation district managers and boards of directors in the 17 western states, Bureau of Reclamation officials, members of Congress and committee staff, and advertising sponsors. For address corrections or additions, please contact our managing editor, Joshua Dill, at joshua.dill@waterstrategies.com. Copyright © 2019 Water Strategies LLC. Irrigation Leader relies on the excellent contributions of a variety of natural resources professionals who provide content for the magazine. However, the views and opinions expressed by these contributors are solely those of the original contributor and do not necessarily represent or reflect the policies or positions of Irrigation Leader magazine, its editors, or Water Strategies LLC. The acceptance and use of advertisements in Irrigation Leader do not constitute a representation or warranty by Water Strategies LLC or Irrigation Leader magazine regarding the products, services, claims, or companies advertised. /IrrigationLeader

Coming soon in Irrigation Leader: November/December: Yakima Basin Integrated Plan January: The Managers Issue Do you have a story idea for an upcoming issue? Contact our editor-in-chief, Kris Polly, at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.





Vicky Scharlau, Executive Director, Washington Winegrowers. Courtesy of Washington Winegrowers


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ADVERTISING: Irrigation Leader accepts one-quarter, half-page, and full-page ads. For more information on rates and placement, please contact Kris Polly at (703) 517-3962 or irrigation.leader@waterstrategies.com.

Turning Water Into Wine


he Washington Winegrowers is the association that represents one of Washington State’s most exciting irrigated crops: wine grapes. In this month’s cover story, I interview Vicky Scharlau, the group’s executive director, about trends in the wine grape world and about irrigation’s crucial role in expanding and advancing Washington State’s high-quality wine industry. Much of the rest of this issue focuses on New Zealand, home to thousands of acres of irrigated agriculture, and to its impressive professionals. Elizabeth Soal, chief executive officer of Irrigation New Zealand, gives us a broad overview of the top issues facing the irrigated farmers who form her organization’s membership. John Nicholls, an irrigated dairy farmer and chair of MHV Water, a major irrigation scheme in the Canterbury Plains region, tells us about the issues specific to dairy farming and explains why New Zealand farmers are so efficient. Keri Johnson, a natural resources engineer at Irricon Resource Solutions Services, tells us about the new farm environment plans that New Zealand farmers are expected to develop, and the effects that these are likely to have on irrigated farming in the country. Hamish Howard of Assura Technologies has developed a highly customizable software platform that can be used for managing irrigation assets, as well as many other applications. We also speak with several Americans about their experiences with New Zealand. Dr. Stuart Styles is the director of the Irrigation Training and Research Center at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He tells us about the

By Kris Polly

impressions of New Zealand irrigation he picked up during an extensive tour of agricultural land in the South Island and explains the biggest differences between New Zealand and U.S. irrigation. Randy George, vice president of international sales at T-L Irrigation, tells us about T-L’s international markets with a special focus on New Zealand. Finally, Rich Gargan tells us about International Water Screens’ projects around the world and the fish screens it has installed in New Zealand. Finally, we also have the sad duty of remembering Scott Davis of True Point Solutions and Rubicon Water, who recently passed away. Scott was a friend and a great water professional. He will be missed. New Zealand is a fascinating country for anyone interested in irrigation. The technological sophistication, efficiency, and environmental friendliness of its agriculture is impressive. Irrigation Leader will be sponsoring a tour to New Zealand in February 2019. If you find the interviews in this issue as interesting as I do, why not sign up and see this beautiful country firsthand? IL Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and 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.




Washington State’s Irrigated Wine Grape Industry

Riesling grapes at Bonair Winery in the Yakima Valley.


ashington State has become well known as a producer of high-quality, good-value wines. With thousands of acres of wine grapes across the state, predominantly in the irrigated high desert of central and eastern Washington, the wine grape industry is a major player in the state’s agricultural landscape. Much of this is thanks to the state’s irrigation infrastructure. The irrigation districts and Reclamation projects in the Yakima and Columbia River basins play a major role in providing valuable water to Washington’s fertile lands—including its vineyards. In this interview, Vicky Scharlau, executive director of the Washington Winegrowers Association, speaks with Irrigation Leader Editor-in-Chief Kris Polly about the organization and the irrigated agriculture it represents.

3½ years there before being hired by the Washington State Apple Commission. I worked there for about 10 years in many capacities and then worked as president of the Washington State Horticultural Association. In fall 1999, after I left that position, a member of the wine grape industry called and asked me what I was doing next. I was starting consulting, and he said, “That’s great, because the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers [now the Washington Winegrowers Association] is looking for a part-time executive director.” That’s where it started. I have served as the organization’s executive director since then.

Kris Polly: Please tell us about your background and how you came to be in your current position.

Vicky Scharlau: The Washington Winegrowers, which adopted its current name about 3 years ago, was created in the early 1980s, when the Washington wine industry started finding its feet. The association has since grown to about 1,000 members, including vintners and winegrowers. With the changes in the wine industry, many growers now also have wineries, and many wineries also own their own acres. The industry, which was previously more strictly divided into two separate categories, has become homogenous and



Vicky Scharlau: I grew up in Wisconsin on a dairy farm and graduated from the University of Wisconsin (UW) with a degree in agricultural journalism and a minor in agricultural economics. I moved to Washington State, where I had family friends. I started working with the Washington State Department of Agriculture and spent

Kris Polly: Would you give us an overview of the Washington Winegrowers and its history?

vertically integrated. Our members also include companies that provide products and services. Our tagline is “Advancing the Industry,” which we do by assimilating and disseminating complex information that is relevant to the industry, both on the wine grape growing side and on the wine production side. Our goal is to promote the well-being of the industry. We do that through increasing public and political awareness. We operate both in our state capitol, Olympia, and in Washington, DC. We establish connections between different related interests and provide information to governmental agencies, elected officials, and staff. Kris Polly: How is the organization funded? Vicky Scharlau: We are a completely membership-based organization. We also hold industry-focused educational events throughout the year, the biggest of them being our annual convention and trade show. Kris Polly: Is there a difference between wine grapes and other types of grapes, like table grapes?


Vicky Scharlau: There are really four sectors in the grape industry: wine grapes, juice grapes, table grapes, and raisin grapes. Each of them is grown and handled very differently.

Kris Polly: Would you give us a sense of the scale of wine grape growing in Washington? Vicky Scharlau: All of Washington State’s wine grape acres could be dropped within the perimeter of California’s Sonoma Valley. We’re not very big compared to California, but wine grape growing is expanding steadily, incrementally, and successfully. We currently have 57,000 acres. Washington State really has the perfect climate for wine grapes. We are known for growing world-class apples, cherries, and other fruits, so it stands to reason that our soil and climate also provide the perfect atmosphere for worldclass wine grapes and wine. When the fathers of Washington wine started the industry decades ago, they realized that they couldn’t compete at the scale and magnitude of California, so they intentionally positioned Washington State to compete at a higher level of wine quality. Our sweet spot is not at the bottom end of the scale with cheaper wines, but at the premium level. Great quality and good value is the place where Washington State can consistently compete. That’s our niche in the wine trade. Wine connoisseurs recognize that they can get better quality wines at lower costs from Washington State as compared with many other parts of the world. Kris Polly: Where in the state are wine grapes concentrated?

Wine production in Washington State.



A panoramic view of Silver Lake Winery, located outside of Yakima, Washington.

Vicky Scharlau: You can find wine grapes all over the state, from the Canadian border in the north to the Oregon border in the south—in fact, we share some of our American Viticultural Areas with Oregon—and from the Olympic Peninsula in the west to the Spokane area in the east. The acres are predominantly found in the Yakima and Columbia Valleys from Yakima down to the Tri-Cities. There are also wine grapes near Walla Walla, up to Mattawa, and into the Chelan Valley. There are little pockets of grapes in largely the same areas where you’ll find tree fruit. Kris Polly: What makes Washington State such an ideal location for growing wine grapes? Is it soil, climate, or water? Vicky Scharlau: It is all three. We have volcanic soil, winddeposited fine sand, and silt from ice-age flood deposits. Many of Washington’s wine grape growing areas are in the high desert of eastern Washington, which has warm days and cool nights. That is perfect for wine grapes as well as for tree fruit, especially apples. Grapes don’t need a great deal of water, but they have to have it when they need it. The fact that large sections of eastern Washington, as well as some sections of western Washington, are irrigated provides an intentional and purposeful amount of water for the growth of wine grapes. Kris Polly: How are the grapes irrigated?


Vicky Scharlau: The growing season is from late spring through harvest. Harvest occurs from late August through September and October, depending on fall temperatures. Kris Polly: What are some of the water conservation measures that winegrowers are employing? Vicky Scharlau: I think the biggest factor affecting water use and conservation from the educational side is making sure that the industry understands how much water a grapevine needs and when. There are many assumptions growers have been making without research to back them up. Over the past 30–40 years, we’ve learned a great deal. We have been working closely with researchers at Washington State University. Throughout the irrigated West, we work closely with our sister organizations in California and help spread new information from research that is done there. If we can use less water and still keep plants healthy, thriving, and productive, the growers are enthusiastic about doing it. Kris Polly: What trends do you see in the wine grape industry today? Vicky Scharlau: The challenge for the wine grape industry and the factor that makes it different from the other specialty crops in the United States is that our growers don’t really grow grapes, they grow wine. We are at the mercy of changes in consumer taste. That depends to some degree on generational shifts. The Baby Boomers are aging out, and as they do, new consumers of wine and wine products are coming in. We have to keep up with a dramatic shift in taste and in wine consumption preferences. When I was growing up, the only alcoholic beverage you could find in a can was beer. Now, you can find everything from malted beverages that resemble hard liquor to wine. Many of our wineries can’t keep up with the demand for wine in cans. Those demands change quickly, and it is difficult to keep up with the trends, because it takes a grapevine years to come into full production. If we find out today that a new variety is becoming hot, it will take at least years to shift production toward it. That is not easy to do, considering that you only get one harvest a year from a grapevine.


Vicky Scharlau: Wine grapes are grown in a number of irrigation districts, including the Columbia Basin Project, the Sunnyside Irrigation District, the Roza Irrigation District, and the Kennewick Irrigation District, as well as in the Walla Walla area, all the way up into the Wenatchee Valley, and in areas beyond, including in Chelan. Most wine grapes are drip irrigated. It’s quite a chore to put in the systems once you’ve planted your grapes. There are a few overhead irrigation circles left, but that is not ideal for wine grapes because it can’t be as precisely regulated as drip irrigation can be. The method of irrigation depends on the area as well. We’ve put a great deal of research funds and educational initiatives into questions about the best way to irrigate wine grapes when it comes to timing and amount. It depends on the variety of wine grape and what the grower is trying to achieve in terms of flavor profile.

Kris Polly: Is there a yearly cycle for growing and harvesting wine grapes?

Kris Polly: What are the most popular varieties right now? Vicky Scharlau: For Washington State, the big reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, and the most popular whites are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. Riesling has been considered our most popular grape historically, and we’re still making outstanding Rieslings, but the acres of Riesling have dropped a bit and the market has flattened out. Kris Polly: What are the irrigation-related challenges that winegrowers in Washington face? Vicky Scharlau: Just a few years ago, some large wineries were looking to put in more acres, and they were frustrated because if they could find the right land, they couldn’t find water. Our challenge is not only access to land, but also getting water on it. We have become knowledgeable about the best kinds of soil and the best locations in which to grow certain varieties, but those locations also have to be in relatively close proximity to a winery facility, because trucking grapes for hours can damage them. The additional challenge is that we’re not looking for small blocks. To be efficient, a grower needs hundreds, if not thousands, of acres. That new, watered land is very valuable to us.

Maryhill Winery in the Columbia Gorge.


Kris Polly: What is your vision for the future? Vicky Scharlau: Consumer trends affect the wines that are produced, which affects demand for grapes, which shifts the structure of the industry, which shifts how we promote and protect the industry. The association has to change along with all those shifts. We aim to become more adept at being a wine state and to improve our abilities to grow wine grapes, educate ourselves with research, and advocate at the state and federal levels. We continue to operate in an environment that is not conducive, healthy, or encouraging for farmers in production agriculture. That is especially true in Washington State. I hope we come to understand that quickly, before we start driving farmers out of the state or into retirement. We have some of the most sought-after land in the West right here in Washington State—just look at the largest Bureau of Reclamation project in the United States, the Columbia Basin Project. If we can’t find an environment that promotes farmers, including wine grape growers, wineries, and vintners, we will lose that advantage. Operating in that environment is a challenge for the association. It is difficult to be nimble and to meet the needs of both large and small growers and vintners, operating with one foot in Olympia and the other foot in Washington, DC. Finding programs that can help our growers and vintners and all specialty crop growers in the West will continue to be important. Additionally, the rapid changes in and the increase in regulation represents an incredible burden. I feel like I’m frequently the bringer of bad news when communicating with the industry. Out of need, we’re becoming more about advocacy and less about education, which is really unfortunate. But together, we must AG-vocate for future generations! IL

Horseback riders at Celilo Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge.

The Benson Vineyards Estate Winery, on the shores of Lake Chelan.

Vicky Scharlau is executive director of the Washington Winegrowers Association. She can be reached at (509) 782-8234.




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How Irrigation New Zealand Promotes Innovation and Sustainability

The rich agricultural land of the Canterbury Plains area of New Zealand’s South Island.


rrigation New Zealand is a member-founded industry organization committed to representing the interests of New Zealand’s irrigation sector and promoting best practices across the industry. With new environmental standards and water management regulations currently being discussed by New Zealand’s government, Irrigation New Zealand is keeping abreast of the policy discussion and preparing to help its members implement and abide by the new laws. In this interview, Elizabeth Soal, chief executive officer (CEO) of Irrigation New Zealand speaks with Irrigation Leader Editor-in-Chief Kris Polly about her organization’s involvement in the policymaking process and how it is promoting positive environmental outcomes. Kris Polly: Please tell us about your background.


Kris Polly: Please tell us about the history of Irrigation New Zealand. Elizabeth Soal: Irrigation New Zealand has a vision of irrigation for a thriving and sustainable New Zealand. It was originally formed as a technical organization in the 1970s and then it went into a bit of a hiatus. It was relaunched in the early 2000s, when it was recognized that there was a need for an organization dedicated to representing the interests of irrigation schemes, irrigating farmers, and the irrigation service industry in New Zealand that would also do things like setting technical standards and providing guidance for the industry as a whole. We are a not-for-profit organization with a voluntary membership. We are run by a board of directors. We have a small team of eight based in both the North and South Islands. Our main office is in Lincoln, which is on the South Island near Christchurch, because the majority of irrigation in New Zealand happens in the Canterbury region.


Elizabeth Soal: I started in the role of CEO of Irrigation New Zealand at the end of February 2019. Prior to that, I worked for 8 or 9 years with the Waitaki Irrigators Collective, which is a group of six irrigation schemes and independent irrigators in the area of North Otago and South Canterbury on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. I was the director of strategy and policy and did a lot of work related to planning, relationship management, and general water issues. Prior to that, I was a government policy advisor for the lower South Island at the Ministry of Social Development, based

in Dunedin. My role there involved looking at issues related to things like unemployment, labor market development, and social programs. Prior to that, I was at the Ministry of Justice of New Zealand. I hold degrees in politics and law, and I’m currently studying for a PhD in geography with a focus on water governance.

Kris Polly: How many schemes are there in New Zealand? Elizabeth Soal: Dozens. We have several thousand members, though the membership includes all the farmers that are part of irrigation schemes. We have around 800,000 hectares (1,976,843 acres) of irrigated land in New Zealand, the majority of which is in Canterbury. We have some large schemes that are around 30,000–40,000 hectares each. Then we also have a lot of small schemes that serve two or three farmers, as well as a lot of independent farmer-irrigators who have their own water permits with their own groundwater bores or surface water abstraction. Kris Polly: What are Irrigation New Zealand’s top issues? Elizabeth Soal: There are a lot of changes happening in relation to water policy in New Zealand at the moment, both on a national and a regional level. The government is currently working on new national environmental standards related to farming. Those will set regulations for the whole country that farmers will have to comply with. They will also include freshwater reform packages that cover things like water quality regulations, but will also look at how we allocate water as a country and the permitting system and other systems for water use and management. These standards will result in fairly significant changes for the water management industry as a whole. At the same time, on the other side of water management is a national review occurring in relation to wastewater, drinking water, and storm water. That affects us as well, as a lot of our irrigation schemes provide water for those purposes through their infrastructure. When those nationallevel regulations are set, they will have to be implemented at the regional level. The regional authorities have some autonomy, so there will be variation across the country as to how those regulations are implemented. That will be a major focus of our work for the next couple years. Kris Polly: What are some of the top water quality issues that your irrigators are facing? Elizabeth Soal: The number 1 issue that we have at the moment, particularly in Canterbury, is nitrates leaching into groundwater. That’s tied in with things like irrigation efficiency and land use. Sediment entering surface water bodies through overland flow is another concern, relating to phosphorus buildup in waterways. There are also concerns around biodiversity and habitats, particularly for our native aquatic species, a lot of which are endangered or in decline. Kris Polly: What are some of your strategies to help your farmers deal with these upcoming changes? Elizabeth Soal: The irrigation sector has been at the forefront of trying to improve environmental practice on farms for the last few years. The primary vehicle we use to do that are farm

environment plans. Many of our irrigation schemes employ environmental managers and have overarching environmental management strategies. The farmers have to complete farm environment plans under those strategies, which are then externally audited. The idea is that they will continuously improve their practices over time through the mechanism of the audited farm plan process. We are working with the government on the farm planning policies that they are implementing at the moment. The government wants to ensure that there isn’t a multitude of different farm plan types being developed, so it has established working groups, which we are a part of, that are developing the integrated framework for the farm plans. We will continue to push for farm plans as an effective means of managing environmental outcomes from farming at the national level. Advocacy with the central government was established as a major strategic focus for us by the new strategic plan our board of directors developed last year. Underneath that, we have other strategic priorities to support our advocacy work in areas like standard setting. We run accreditation programs for companies around things like irrigation design. We need to ensure that the standards and codes of practice that we promote remain relevant and up to date and that we get good environmental outcomes. Kris Polly: If a company outside New Zealand is interested in working in New Zealand and helping you with your environmental plans, what is the best way for it to get involved? Elizabeth Soal: We have a quarterly magazine, Irrigation New Zealand News, that goes to all our members, regional councils, and other recipients. That’s a really good means of advertising and informing the market of your product. Back issues can be found on our website. Our website also contains information about how to advertise. We also run industry forums, which overseas companies may be interested in taking part in. That would allow them to engage with the sector, hear about the issues we are dealing with, and find out what opportunities are available for private companies to enter the sector. We also run a biennial conference. The next one is in April 2020 and will include a trade expo. We are in the process of planning for that now. If a company wants to be part of our exhibition and conference, it can get in touch with us via our website. There are still spaces available at the trade expo. Kris Polly: What is your message to overseas companies that want to work with you? Elizabeth Soal: New Zealand is a great market: We have a lot of innovators, and our farmers are known worldwide for innovating, adopting new practices, and adapting to changing markets, whether those changes are local or global. There are a lot of opportunities to harness that innovation. We want to encourage companies to support farmers in IRRIGATIONLEADERMAGAZINE.COM

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The Canterbury Plains area of New Zealand’s South Island, with the Southern Alps in the background.

making good environmental decisions and plans, because farming within the new limits, particularly those related to environmental outcomes, is going to be really challenging. As we grapple with issues like climate change, innovation is going to be key. We are interested in technological solutions to the issues that we’re facing and seeing how we can implement them in the New Zealand context.

schemes employ technology and farm environmental management planning to help their shareholders maximize productive while reducing their environmental footprints. Managed aquifer recharge is an exciting innovation on the Canterbury Plains, seeking to improve both water quality and water availability through the supplementation of groundwater with surface water. The Waimea Dam is a response developed by a local community to an increasing water quantity challenge—in an area that experiences long, hot summers with high sunshine hours, the dam will provide water for farming, communities, businesses, and the environment. Kris Polly: Please tell us about your vision for the future.

Lincoln, New Zealand, home of Irrigation New Zealand’s headquarters.

Kris Polly: What is your message to the New Zealand Parliament?

Kris Polly: Irrigation Leader will soon be leading a tour of New Zealand. What should participants be on the lookout for? Elizabeth Soal: The tour will see infrastructure and farming in some of New Zealand’s largest irrigation schemes. These


Elizabeth Soal is chief executive officer of Irrigation New Zealand. She can be contacted at esoal@irrigationnz.co.nz.


Elizabeth Soal: In terms of our top issue, the government is currently reviewing the Resource Management Act, which is our overarching environmental and planning legislation at the national level, and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, which both drive regional-level policies around freshwater management and use. There is a lot of uncertainty about where these reforms will go, and water users are already having to grapple with new rules and regulations around water quality that have only recently come into force. We are also uncertain as to what the effects of climate change will be on water availability, and we would like the government to think seriously about water storage and water infrastructure that will be needed to adapt to climate change over the coming decades.

Elizabeth Soal: One of our other priorities at the moment is responding to climate change. The climate change predictions for New Zealand are quite interesting. It is going to have major effects on surface water bodies, particularly rivers. If we see less snow, the flow of our big Alpine rivers will be reduced. We may need to think about increasing our water storage options in order to increase our resilience to climate change. I really want to expand the conversation, though: In the past, when we’ve looked at things like water storage, it’s been thought of as solely for irrigation and considered in an engineering-dominated way. We need to be thinking more about how things like water storage can actually promote all-around community well being. How do we support communities with drinking water supplies? How do we support industry through water storage? How do we support, say, the environmental augmentation of streams that are under pressure because of these climate change issues? How might we use aquifers as a means of storage through managed recharge? I think we need to start thinking about those things now. We’ve got some really good infrastructure in New Zealand now because of good decisions that we made 50 years ago. We need to be thinking about the next generation of water infrastructure and how we can make good decisions for our children and grandchildren. IL

Las Vegas to Phoenix Irrigation Leader Tour January 25-31, 2020 Starting off in in Las Vegas, participants will spend 2 nights at the Mirage Hotel and tour the Hoover Dam. The tour group will then travel by bus to see irrigation techniques and crops grown in Yuma, Arizona. Following one night in Yuma, the tour will move on to Phoenix, Arizona, where participants will attend the two-day Operations and Management Training Workshop. After 4 nights in Phoenix, the tour will conclude with a morning exploration of the Scottsdale, Arizona, waterfront. The tour fee is $2,500.00 U.S. per primary attendee with a $1,500.00 fee for attending spouse. The tour fee will cover hotels, bus travel and group meals. Airfare is not included.

For more information, visit irrigationleadermagazine.com To reserve your tour slot, please e-mail kris.polly@waterstrategies.com. An invoice for the nonrefundable $500.00 deposit will be sent to you. Final payments must be made by November 1, 2019.



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An aerial view of dairy operations under a center pivot on New Zealand's Canterbury Plain. The main pivot and the first and second towers are oversized to clear buildings. The fencing between the irrigated wedge pastures is electrified to keep cattle in and spring loaded to allow pivot towers to cross.

The South Island’s Efficient Irrigated Dairy Farming


he Canterbury Plains area of New Zealand’s South Island is a rich area of surface-water-irrigated dairy and crop farming. Its large schemes, similar to American irrigation districts, draw water from the alpine rivers and convey it via pressurized pipes and open channels to the region’s highly efficient farms. John Nicholls is a dairy farmer as well as the chair of MHV Water, one of New Zealand’s largest irrigation schemes; he is also a director of a number of other large businesses that provide services into the agricultural industry. In this interview with Irrigation Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill, Mr. Nicholls explains why New Zealand dairy farmers are so efficient and highlights the distinctive features that set New Zealand’s irrigated agriculture apart from that of the United States. Joshua Dill: Please tell us about your background and how you came to be in your current position.



John Nicholls: It wasn’t until my late 20s that I started dairy farming. I had graduated from university, traveled the world and worked in a number of professional occupations, including sales and marketing, but I hadn’t found my niche. Dairy farming was that niche. I quickly learned that the most important thing about business is employing the right people and having the right team around you. My wife and I struggled the first couple years; she had to go back to work to support the business while we had a young family. Once we got the right people

around us and the right management team, our business grew reasonably quickly. We were reasonably aggressive—we bought and sold property in the Wairarapa, in the southern part of New Zealand’s North Island. The area has quite a harsh climate to farm in, with wet winters and dry summers, and our property had no irrigation. We quickly learned that we needed irrigation to build the resilience of our revenue. We purchased an irrigated property, and it opened my eyes to the possibilities irrigation provided. We leased another irrigated property and spent another 10 years in the North Island before deciding to sell and head south to Canterbury. We sold the majority of our business on the North Island, shifted our family to the South Island, and purchased two irrigated dairy farms in an area where, at that stage, there was an abundance of water and an abundance of opportunity. From that point, again employing great people, we began building our business. Today, we own 6 dairy farms with 5,000 cows and employ just under 35 people. When I was first elected to the board of Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Limited (MHIL), it was solely a water supply company. Within a reasonably short period, I was elected chair and we started to develop the company. Today, it is a multifaceted service operation that not only delivers water but also manages environmental consents for its farmershareholders and engages in education and advocacy. Again, I knew we needed the right people, and we recruited a new chief

water supply from the Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR), of which we are a shareholder. The building of the RDR began as a work project during the Great Depression. It takes water across the top of the Canterbury Plains to supply irrigation, and the unused water is used for hydropower generation. Our farmers use the water we deliver to irrigate 58,000 hectares (140,000 acres) of highly productive land in the Hinds/ Hekeao Plains of Mid Canterbury. Approximately 60 percent of MHV shareholders are dairy farmers; 20 percent are dairy support, or farmers who grow feed and provide winter grazing for the cows; 15 percent are cropping farmers, who grow corn, wheat and alfalfa; and 5 percent raise sheep and deer. Joshua Dill: Would you tell me about the efficiency of dairy farming in New Zealand?

executive officer, Mel Brooks, who shared our vision. About that time, MHIL merged with a neighboring irrigation scheme, Valetta Irrigation Limited, to form MHV Water, which is now New Zealand’s largest irrigation company. We see ourselves as an intergenerational cooperative, with our shareholders at heart but with a wider community view as well. As chair of MHV Water, I have always had a strong interest in the irrigation company’s activities and strategy and in how it would continue to remain relevant. I had exposure to other cooperative governance structures and wanted to be part of guiding MHV Water through what I expected would be a period of considerable change. I am also a chair and a director on a number of other boards. My governance roles have grown to the stage where my time on an actual dairy farm is quite limited—I spend maybe 1 day a week on farm. The majority of my time is spent on governance and looking beyond the horizon to the future. There are some big issues coming down the road for our farmers. On farm, there is an increasing focus on environmental sustainability, specifically the management of nutrient losses to water and greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. More broadly, we need to consider how our industry could be disrupted and ensure we have the capacity to understand and adapt to future developments so that that our shareholders’ farming businesses continue to be profitable. MHV Water, in various forms, has been around for 80 years, and we want to make sure we’re here for the next 80 years, delivering value to our shareholders.  Joshua Dill: Would you tell us a little more about MHV Water? John Nicholls: We’re located in Mid Canterbury, an area of 350,000 hectares (850,000 acres) bounded by two rivers. We have 206 farmer-shareholders, and we deliver water via a network of 320 kilometers (200 miles) of open races and 100 kilometers (60 miles) of pressurized pipes. We take our

John Nicholls: The animals live outside 365 days a year, and production follows a seasonal profile, with the entire herd calving in spring and milking through until the end of fall. The cows are almost wholly pasture fed, and we aim to align the growth of our pasture to milk production so as to limit any cutting and carrying of feed. We do still use some feed supplements when needed, and in the South Island where it’s a bit cooler, the cows are fed a forage crop during the winter. Cows typically spend 2 months at winter grazing and come back to the dairy/milking platform for the next 10 months. The majority of our irrigation systems are incredibly efficient pivot systems. All these systems are audited by irrigation companies to make sure they have at least 80 percent distribution efficiency, with a desire to reach 85 percent efficiency. Joshua Dill: Irrigation Leader is going to be leading a tour to New Zealand next year, which is going to include visits to the Canterbury Plains area and a dairy farm. What distinctive things about New Zealand farming should participants look out for? John Nicholls: You’re going to be very welcome in our part of our world. I would suggest looking at our pasture-feed system. It’s not too common around the world. Water storage on farm is quite common. We have storage within our scheme and need to build more storage to improve our resilience as we move forward. It might also be interesting to see how we run our systems, using moisture meters and other technology to try to match irrigation to pasture demand.  Another thing to look at would be the variance between open-channel schemes, which are probably more similar to U.S. irrigation districts, and piped infrastructure. We are currently upgrading our open races, and by the time of your visit we will have completed the installation of Rubicon gates for automated delivery and control. Our long-term objective is to be able to deliver on-demand water in an open-race scheme as if with the flip of a switch. IRRIGATIONLEADERMAGAZINE.COM

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Our pipe schemes also differ from the ones U.S. visitors may be familiar with, simply because they are gravity pressurized. The Canterbury Plains area is actually quite steep, with a fall of about 1:100, meaning that the natural fall of the land is sufficient to pressurize our piped water. Our biggest challenge is typically designing sufficient pressure relief into the system so that the pressure doesn’t build up too high. Our cropping systems are slightly different too. Our farms don’t have the scale of U.S. cropping farmers and typically grow a mix of grain and seed crops as well as running livestock (either supporting the dairy industry or lamb finishing for meat production). The Canterbury Plains has seen significant changes in farming over the last 20 years. That change has attracted progressive farmers who have built some incredibly successful businesses. I think you will find it fascinating to hear their thoughts about where they are today and what they think farming will look like in 5–10 years.  Joshua Dill: Would you tell us about the regulatory legislation that is expected to be passed in the next year or so in New Zealand and how that will affect farmers?

Joshua Dill: Tell us about your vision for the future for irrigated farming and dairy farming in New Zealand.


John Nicholls: I’m incredibly excited about it. For irrigation, I want to maintain and improve the resilience and reliability that our system already has. We need to maintain the flexibility within our irrigation system to adapt to the needs of our farmers. Currently, most of our on-farm systems are set up to grow grass or cereal crops and can apply 5 millimeters (3/16 inch) of water per day. In the future, there could be other crops that need double that amount of water but for only half the number of days. I’m conscious that we don’t want our systems to be locked into our current practice; they need the capability to evolve as we change what we grow. From a dairy farming point of view, I’m incredibly excited about the future. The world supply of dairy is flat and will potentially start to decline. We just need our industry to be incredibly focused on adding value to milk so that they we can provide the highest milk price back to the farmers.  In Canterbury, I would love to see further consolidation across the irrigation schemes to ensure that we have consistency in how we apply our regulatory requirements. We already have a constructive relationship with our local regulator, Environment Canterbury (ECan), and with consolidation, I think we could agree to some high-level outcomes and become a lot more self-managed around what we do to achieve those outcomes. That’s going to take time—it could be 10 years—but ultimately, there could be one entity that manages all surface water, groundwater, and nutrient allocations and reports back to ECan. At the same time, we are a cost-recovery business, and we’ve got to make sure that we run an efficient business that returns value to our shareholders as we navigate these disruptions. IL John Nicholls is chair of MHV Water and a managing director of Rylib Group. For more about MHV, visit www.mhvwater.nz.


John Nicholls: In Canterbury, we’re already under a reasonably robust regulatory system. By 2035, we have to reduce losses of nutrients from our soils by 36 percent. That’s a big ask. The first milestone requires reductions of 15 percent by 2025. To achieve this, we need to improve on-farm practices around water and fertilizer use. We are focusing considerable effort on education, and we will need to continue to do that to ensure that farmers all understand their responsibilities and what they need to do. Ultimately, it could mean a change in fertilizer use and a change in water usage. Our current government is talking about a 10 percent reduction in livestock methane emissions by 2030. We need to understand the science of what this means, what it looks like, and how we adapt. Some farmers and shareholders are facing a huge number of headwinds and a lack of confidence in our sector. It’s challenging, but when you look at the farming sector as a whole, over the last 2–3 years, our dairy and meat sectors have actually enjoyed some of their highest and most consistent returns. Profitability in the farming sector is incredibly strong; we just have underlying statutory costs coming at us. There should be confidence in our market, but because of those headwinds, there isn’t. Our current government seems hostile to agriculture, even though it is the backbone of the New Zealand economy. I’m sure the tour participants will be surprised, since a lot of your states are incredibly supportive of agriculture and what it means for their economies.

Center-pivot irrigation on one of the Rylib Group’s farms.


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10/30/17 9:45 PM

New Zealand’s Farm Environment Plans

The Mackenzie basin on New Zealand’s South Island.


s chair of Irrigation New Zealand, a natural resources engineer at irrigation consultancy Irricon Resource Solutions Services, and an irrigated farmer, Keri Johnston is an expert on the practice and policy of irrigation in New Zealand. Both the technology of irrigation and the New Zealand regulatory environment have been changing in recent years, and irrigated farmers there are under increasing pressure to comply with stricter regulations and to prove their farms’ compliance with farm environment plans. In this interview with Irrigation Leader Editor-in-Chief Kris Polly, Keri Johnston describes what these plans entail, the challenges farmers face in complying with them, and New Zealand farmers’ message to local and national policymakers. Kris Polly: Please tell us about your background.

Kris Polly: Would you tell our readers about farm environment plans? Keri Johnston: Farm environment plans are a tool to help farmers identify and deal with the environmental risks on their farms. For example, runoff may be an issue for some farms. The plans are broken down by management area, including irrigation management, grazing management, and cropping management, and they help farmers determine how they are going to do these things better.


Keri Johnston: They came into being in a regulated sense around 2010. We were involved with a group of high-country station owners in the Mackenzie basin, an iconic area of natural value. Many of those farms go through a process we call tenure review. A lot of farms, particularly the high-country stations, were leased from the government, and tenure review was a review of those leases. It resulted in the government trying to prevent the farmers from farming on lands it considered to have significant ecological value, but in return was freeholding some of the lands it didn’t consider of significance. Of course, that meant that many of those farmers were losing area, and to make sure that they were still profitable on the area that they were retaining, many of them looked into irrigation development on that land. As this was contentious given the location, the consents required to do the development were publicly notified, meaning that the applications for consent were open to public submission. The farm environment plan was the tool developed by the Mackenze basin farmers to show that the intensification and development on the land that they would retain was going to be okay. Having a farm environment plan that was subject to audit became a condition of resource consents. They have become more embedded in regulation in more recent years. In Canterbury, where I’m based, they became part of the regional planning framework in 2012, which means that any farmer who goes through any sort of resource consent or permit process needs a farm environment plan. Kris Polly: What are some of the things that farmers must do under the plan? Keri Johnston: One of the big ones is the use of the Overseer model, which is a nutrient budgeting software tool. Basically, they need to look at the potential nitrogen and phosphorus losses that could occur from farming activity. They enter the physical characteristics of their farms into Overseer


Keri Johnston: I grew up on a farm in North Otago on the South Island of New Zealand. I married a farmer as well, and we are now between two farms here in South Canterbury, totaling 440 hectares. I have a bachelor of engineering in natural resources engineering, which is similar to agricultural engineering, from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. I’m also a chartered professional engineer. I specialize in engineering solutions for major water activities. Today, I am a natural resources engineer at Irricon Resource Solutions Services, a company in which I am also a 45 percent shareholder.

Kris Polly: How long have New Zealanders been using these plans?

along with information about how they farm—figures on irrigation; effluent; stock numbers and type; and supplement feed, whether it is made on farm or purchased. The program then tells them how much nitrogen and phosphorus are expected to leave their farms. Under our current regulations, a lot of farmers are subject to a nutrient discharge allowance, which is an Overseer number. Every year, they have to show that they have complied with it. A big part of the farm environment plan is showing this compliance and having the records in place to validate the inputs used in the Overseer model. Farmers’ recordkeeping now takes a lot more time than it did before. My grandfather would probably only have spent the morning of the 20th of the month at the office paying his bills. The 20th of the month is the day on which bills are traditionally due in New Zealand. Nowadays, it probably takes one full day a week just to complete your paperwork in order to show that you’re complying with your farm environment plan. Kris Polly: What happens if a farmer doesn’t comply with the plan? Keri Johnston: As part of our regulatory structure, there are certified farm environment plan auditors. They come on farm 12 months after the farm environment plan has been put in place and give a grade from A to D, with A being good and D being bad. The grade that you obtain dictates the frequency with which you are audited afterward. If you receive an A or B grade, that indicates that you are doing what you said that you would do, and you are basically allowed to carry on. If you receive a C or D grade and you are part of an irrigation scheme, the scheme would provide you a lot of support and try to bring your grade up the following year. If you’re not part of an irrigation scheme, the regional council would support you to help you get to where you need to be. It’s almost a three strikes system: They will help you up to a point, but if you don’t up your game, you may face consequences, such as not being delivered water. Kris Polly: Tell us about your business, Irricon. Keri Johnston: Irricon is an environmental consultancy. I head a staff of 18 who are involved in a lot of resource consent work. Most activities that we undertake here in New Zealand require some sort of permission from our regional council. We need resource consents to take water or to discharge animal effluent to land, for example. We work mostly with farmers and irrigation schemes. We are heavily involved with helping farmers comply with all the regulations that now exist. Kris Polly: How long has your company been in existence? Keri Johnston: We have been in existence since 2007. It started off with just three of us, and we have grown since

then. We are all farmers ourselves, which I think is really important, because we are going through all this on our own properties as well. Kris Polly: What should every New Zealand council member and member of Parliament know about irrigating farmers in New Zealand? Keri Johnston: Irrigated farmers are actually doing a lot to improve the environmental practices on farms, despite the fact that we are under a lot of public pressure. There is a widespread impression that irrigation is the sole cause of our water quality problems. The reality is that the irrigated farmers are doing far more than any other sector to improve how they operate on the farm. That needs to be understood by the public and the government. Kris Polly: What are some of the things that farmers have been doing? Keri Johnston: For one thing, they have been at the forefront of farm environment plan development. Irrigation schemes have also now evolved to become environmental managers for their shareholders. The schemes are ready to support farmers to get on the right track. Irrigated farmers in New Zealand are also taking up new technology. They’ve been innovative and adaptive. Things like variable rate irrigation have been common on most irrigated farms for quite some time. Kris Polly: Would you tell us about your role as chair of Irrigation New Zealand? Keri Johnston: It’s a new role for me. In 2018, we adopted a new strategy to set direction of travel for Irrigation New Zealand for the next 5 years. Our strategic objectives are advocating; setting standards for irrigators and the irrigation industry, such as our Code of Practice for Irrigation Design; creating an information base about irrigation; connecting with other likeminded organizations and officials; and engaging in thought leadership. New Zealand has a general election coming up within the next 15–18 months. Advocating on behalf of our membership to government and policymakers around civil regulations on water quantity and quality issues is really important for us at the moment. Our membership has emphasized that they see that advocacy as the most important thing we can do. IL

Keri Johnston is head of Irrigation New Zealand and a natural resources engineer at Irricon Resource Solutions Services. She can be contacted at keri@irricon.co.nz. IRRIGATIONLEADERMAGAZINE.COM

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Assura’s software can be used in the office or in the field.

Assura's software being used in the field on a mobile device.

Assura’s Adaptable Asset-Management Platform


ssura Software is a Christchurch, New Zealand–based technology company that builds highly configurable assetand case-management solutions. Its products are used by several large irrigation schemes—the Kiwi equivalent of U.S. irrigation districts—to manage their assets and record health and safety risks and hazards. Using Assura’s platform in the office on a computer or in the field on a mobile phone app, irrigation scheme employees or farmers can keep track of what tasks need to be done and the current status of their land and assets. In this interview, Assura Managing Director Hamish Howard speaks with Irrigation Leader Editor-in-Chief Kris Polly about Assura’s platform and the many uses it can be put toward. Kris Polly: Please tell us about your background and how you came to be in your current position.


Kris Polly: So your service provides a record of when assets are managed and maintained? Hamish Howard: Yes. The platform contains records of all your assets, and each one of those assets has a life cycle. The assets may require inspection on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, or a weekly inspection and an annual audit, or some other combination of maintenance activities. Our software provides reminders to the appropriate employees to go and do those things. Employees will have a list of tasks assigned to them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, or according to a schedule, and if they do not do them, the tasks will be escalated up the food chain on a time frame you have determined. At the end of the day, you’ve got a fully auditable list of what has been done (or not done) by whom and when. All that information is recorded and can be searched. You can easily build your own reports, displaying the information in the way that you need. For example, Mel Brooks of MHV uses the health and safety information to prepare her board reports. Mel and her team also use the software to make decisions about MHV’s assets. Our product gives MHV a view of where its efforts are being directed and in turn, the money that needs to be spent. 


Hamish Howard: I am the managing director of Assura Software, which in U.S. terms would be similar to the chief executive officer. I am also a shareholder in the business, so I have some skin in the game. I grew up on a mixed-cropping (sheep and crop) farm in Mid Canterbury, so I’m familiar with the issues of agriculture and irrigation. I’m also very familiar with moving irrigators. More recently, I grew and successfully sold an information technology business and then bought Assura Software, which is a configurable workflow software platform. If you played with Legos as a kid, you know that how you put those Lego blocks together determines the solution you get. Our software is the same in that we’ve built the blocks, and they can be put together for specific purposes. Just as the same Lego set can be used to build a car, a plane, or a boat, Assura’s software can be configured to manage assets, health and safety needs, a complaints process, or other issues. It’s very much a low-code/no-code approach. The pieces of our Lego set are digital workflows. The fields you put on these

workflows and the business rules you wrap around them will determine the solution you end up with. One relevant example is the use of our software by Mayfield Hinds Valetta (MHV ) Water, a large scheme in the Canterbury Plains area of New Zealand’s South Island. It has been configured to provide MHV with two or three things, including health and safety management and inspections. It is a highly configurable solution that MHV’s staff continue to adapt and develop to meet their changing needs.

Kris Polly: Can your software program be used on a mobile phone? Hamish Howard: Yes, it is web based and available on a number of platforms. It can be used on a computer, but if you’re running an irrigation scheme, a lot of your work is done out in the field, so the information needs to be available on a cell phone. Our phone app provides the same functionality as a computer does: It can be used to update information on hazards, undertake inspections, assign workflows to do pond inspections and route marches and update workflows, so they can be progressed to the next part of the task. Kris Polly: Are your services used by irrigation schemes in New Zealand? Hamish Howard: Yes. In addition to MHV Water, we’ve just sold it to a neighboring scheme, Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Limited. They will use it in similar fashion to MHV, essentially for asset management. They’ve got lots of pumps, ponds, pipes, vehicles, and other irrigation scheme assets. All those need to be monitored and maintained.  Kris Polly: Would you walk us through an example of a how an irrigation scheme might use your product to do a health and safety report? Hamish Howard: Farmers and irrigation scheme staff deal with risks from the environment, machinery, and animals. For example, on a pond inspection, a staff member may be at risk of slips and trips and other water hazards. In the field, the app can provide them with information on known hazards in their location before they start. They can look at each hazard and see what mitigation is in place or when it was last inspected. They can also update that information themselves with notes, photos, or video. Kris Polly: Does the app have a GPS-enabled map that shows where hazards are located? Hamish Howard: That feature, which is GIS integration, is on our development roadmap. We have built some of the core components but haven’t finished it yet. It would be useful for inspections, so that once you cross the geofenced boundary, an alert would be raised on your device alerting you to the hazards in the area. We would also like to build a feature that would allow users to draw shapes on a map to record the hazards in specific locations, effectively creating their own geofenced areas. That hasn’t been built yet. Most of our development roadmap items are customer led. When customers want or demand them, they tend to move up the priority list. 

Hamish Howard: Our product works in the United States or anywhere else, but we don’t have any customers there yet. However, we are keen to build relationships. That is why I recently attended a Microsoft conference. You can do so much remotely over the Internet, but I’m a little bit old fashioned: I quite like meeting people, understanding them, and building proper, genuine relationships. I’m hoping to get into the U.S. market through some good people who are looking for solutions like the ones we provide. Kris Polly: Where is the company’s headquarters, and how many people work there?  Hamish Howard: We’re based in Christchurch, which is the largest city in the South Island, with a population of about 380,000. By U.S. standards, it’s pretty tiny. We have 14 staff, so we’re not a massive company, but we’ve been going for a long time for a software company. We’ve got a lot of government clients, including the New Zealand Ministries of Education and Social Development, and some large corporate clients, which would be medium-size by U.S. standards. We provide a range of different solutions to them. Some of them have used our Legos to build health and safety systems; some of them use our software for case-management systems; some use it for asset management.  Kris Polly: How many years have you been doing this?  Hamish Howard: The company has been going since 1997. I and two others bought into it in 2015 and bought the company outright in 2017. I considered that a restart. The business was ticking along but not doing that well. It didn’t have a great marketing message. We got involved and brought the company some new money, but more importantly new energy, and got it turned around. Now it’s growing well, and we’ve got really good clients and really good staff. Kris Polly: Are you presently looking for a U.S. irrigation district to try your technology? If so, what is the best way for them to contact you? Hamish Howard: Absolutely! We would love the opportunity to discover whether what we have provided to New Zealand–based schemes fits well with U.S. districts’ needs and to address any gaps. Obviously, there are business reasons for wanting to expand into new markets, but it’s also personal for me, as I have an affinity for farming, irrigation, and land use. If anyone is interested in reaching out, they should e-mail me at hamish.howard@assurasoftware.com. IL Hamish Howard is managing director of Assura Software. For more about Assura, visit www.assurasoftware.com.

Kris Polly: Is your product available in the United States, and do you have any customers here? IRRIGATIONLEADERMAGAZINE.COM

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The Differences Between U.S. and New Zealand Irrigation The Rakaia River between Lake Coleridge and the river diversions for the Central Plains Water and Barrhill Chertsy Irrigation Schemes.


s director of the Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Dr. Stuart Styles is an expert on irrigated agriculture in the American West and on the newest irrigation techniques and technologies in the irrigation world. During trips to New Zealand in 2016 and 2018, Dr. Styles was able to visit irrigation schemes and irrigated farms on the South Island’s Canterbury Plain. In this interview, Dr. Styles tells Irrigation Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about New Zealand irrigation’s modern technology and the differences between irrigated agriculture in New Zealand and the United States. Joshua Dill: Please tell us about your background and how you came to be in your current position. Stuart Styles: I am the director of the ITRC at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I have been working in irrigation for 40 years now, and I’ve been in my current position for the last 26 years. At the center at Cal Poly, we have a professional staff of 15 full-time staff and about 30 students. I also teach three university courses during the fall quarter. Joshua Dill: Would you give a quick overview of the ITRC?


Joshua Dill: You recently traveled to New Zealand. Would you tell us about that trip and what you were doing on it? Stuart Styles: In 2016, I was invited to be a keynote speaker at Irrigation New Zealand’s biennial conference. I arrived a day before the conference. I gave some background information about California, but I found that it wasn’t useful to the ag folks in New Zealand. This was mostly because I didn’t have a good understanding of the challenges and issues they were facing. I had been given a little bit of information before the trip to give me a rough idea of the challenges that they were dealing with and that these were similar issues to the ones we have in California— for example, high nitrates in the irrigation water—so I presented based on the work that we’d been doing on nitrate management in California. In 2018, I was asked to come back to New Zealand and do an assessment of irrigation schemes, which are similar to irrigation districts in the United States. I again attended a meeting of Irrigation New Zealand’s national conference in April 2018 as a keynote speaker. This time, I showed up about 2½ weeks before the conference and did a tour of irrigation schemes and farms with Irrigation New Zealand staff to learn about the issues that are most important in New Zealand. That allowed me to direct my talk more toward the local audience. Joshua Dill: Where in particular did you visit?


Stuart Styles: The year 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the ITRC. Our center performs various activities related to irrigation modernization. Our primary focus is California; about 10–15 percent of our work is in other states, and about 5 percent of our work is international. Charles Burt, chairman of the board of the ITRC, is the person who started the center, and he is still quite active. One distinctive characteristic of our center is that it supports one

of the teaching programs at Cal Poly, the Bioresource and Ag Engineering Department. We have helped build that program up from 15 students graduating per year to over 45 students graduating per year.

Stuart Styles: The visit started in Christchurch. We then visited various irrigation schemes and ended up on a tour traveling down to the conference, which was held in Alexander. We mainly covered the Canterbury Plains area, where there is a lot of center-pivot irrigation. A growing number of irrigation schemes there have modernized over the last few years. I was able to visit several of them and document the issues that were common to them to help prepare for my talk. Joshua Dill: In broad strokes, how would you describe the differences you saw between California irrigation and irrigation in New Zealand? Stuart Styles: It was apparent that irrigation schemes in New Zealand are modernizing to a high level. They are incorporating automation, reservoirs, new gates, flow measurement, data acquisition systems, new software, and new types of flow meters, including magnetic flow meters. There is equipment developed locally by manufacturers I hadn’t actually seen before. One of the key differences between New Zealand and the United States is the onsite fabrication of 30-meter (100-foot) sections of high-pressure, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. U.S. districts will need to assess this new technology. In a nutshell, irrigation schemes there are taking on some of the modernization activities that we have been promoting in the western United States, but they are doing it in one package, on a wholesale basis that I haven’t seen before. This approach allows irrigation schemes to establish a high level of automation and control, which really helps their growers out. That means that instead of having to negotiate individually with the power supplier, farmers are able leave rate discussions to the irrigation scheme. The irrigation schemes are successfully selling the idea to their growers that it is important to invest in this. The modernization is being done with private investment. The growers are paying for it basically out of pocket. In the United States, by contrast, irrigation districts tend to rely on outside funding or water transfers in order to do similar modernization projects. In California and other states in the West, districts tend to modernize over a longer time period.

Stuart Styles: I think it’s a combination of factors. A common explanation I’ve heard is that they wanted to consolidate the negotiating power of these large agricultural areas within a single entity. For example, after the major earthquake that occurred in Christchurch in 2011, the power company’s supply of power was unreliable and the pricing structure was unstable. A lot of the growers didn’t like that they were being forced to negotiate individually with the power supplier. The schemes removed the need for each grower to have a power line running out to their center pivots and individual pump stations. The new schemes supply pressurized water to each farm at 4 bars of pressure (60 pounds per square inch). That simplifies conditions for the farmers. In the Canterbury Plains, the delivery systems are built over an area with a large change in elevation. The elevation change allows for gravity water delivery and pressurizes the water sufficiently to run a pivot. Joshua Dill: Were there other technologies that you noticed in New Zealand that haven’t been widely adopted in the United States? Stuart Styles: Yes, two in particular. The first is magnetic flow meters. I observed an over 95 percent implementation of magnetic flow meters in New Zealand. Every turnout in the areas I visited was monitored and measured. The second technology that I was very impressed by was in-situ pipeline manufacturing. Building a pipe in Nebraska and shipping it to California is quite expensive, primarily because of transportation. In New Zealand, they ship raw materials to a site and set up a fabrication plant where HDPE pipeline is constructed onsite. I had never seen that before. Joshua Dill: Are there any barriers to the adoption of these technologies in the United States, or is it mostly a matter of awareness? Stuart Styles: I believe there is a barrier to using this pipeline technology. I was told that there are international restrictions on shipping bulk resin materials out to a remote site. I was never able to track down whether that was a true constraint or whether manufacturers simply didn’t want to go down that pathway in the United States. I think it is something that U.S. irrigation districts might be interested in pursuing.

Joshua Dill: Irrigation schemes in New Zealand are primarily private entities, correct?

Joshua Dill: How is the funding situation different in New Zealand and the United States?

Stuart Styles: Yes. There are some investors involved, but they are basically private enterprises that sell shares. They’re not publicly owned facilities. The irrigation districts in the western United States are typically publicly owned and managed.

Stuart Styles: My opinion is that growers in the western United States are not as willing to individually invest $2,000 per acre in capital in irrigation district modernization. Their expectation is that some of that funding should come from outside grants, water transfers, or some other external mechanism.

Joshua Dill: Are the schemes encouraging this modernization mostly because it will save them money, or are there legal or regulatory requirements that they’re trying to meet?

Joshua Dill: Are farmers in New Zealand simply more willing to take that financial hit? IRRIGATIONLEADERMAGAZINE.COM

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that they are probably 20–30 years behind California in their environmental oversight. The issues are similar. The groups that are investigating nitrates in surface and groundwater are progressing with their data collection and other efforts. Nitrates in the groundwater are a source of controversy. Some in the New Zealand environmental community are proposing that there should be no nitrates, which is impossible to do if you’re going to have agriculture. There’s been some push and pull over what the right numbers are. The ag community in New Zealand is looking at how groups in places like California and Nebraska have dealt with nitrates in the water. Joshua Dill: What crops are grown in New Zealand? 100-foot sections of HDPE pipe are constructed in the field.

Stuart Styles: There are a lot of vineyards, vegetables, and fruit trees. I saw a lot of different crops being grown during my visits. In the Canterbury Plains, the primary agriculture crop is alfalfa and pasture being grown under center pivots. The growers who are growing the alfalfa and pasture grasses are also involved in major dairy operations. The primary export of the dairy farmers is powdered milk. Joshua Dill: What other differences did you notice between irrigated agriculture in New Zealand and the United States?

A center-pivot installation with New Zealand’s Southern Alps in the background.

A magnetic meter on the Central Plains scheme.

Joshua Dill: What were your observations about the overall regulatory environment in New Zealand? Stuart Styles: My observation is that the regulations there are not as restrictive as in California. My other observation is


Stuart Styles is director of the Irrigation Training and Research Center at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He can be reached at sstyles@calpoly.edu.


Stuart Styles: I wasn’t there long enough to get a good answer to that question. I am still shocked that they were willing to spend so much, and I kept asking the people I interviewed about it. It was a tough question to answer.

Stuart Styles: All the center-pivot systems in New Zealand are designed as dual systems. The growers irrigate with fresh water, but they also irrigate the effluent water that comes from the dairy operation. You don’t see a lot of irrigation systems irrigating effluent in the United States. Second, the New Zealand growers are proud of having created variable rate irrigation (VRI). It is a newer technology that can be applied to center pivots in the western United States. We’ve had guys talk about it for the last several years, but the implementation has been slow. The injection of fertilizer directly into irrigation water is a relatively new technology in New Zealand but has been implemented for about 30 years in the United States. The New Zealand growers are starting to do it more, and it is resulting in improvements in yield and quality. When we were driving around in New Zealand, I would ask the growers whether they were using VRI and fertilizer injection, and the answer across the board was no. The main reason is that they’re putting on so much fertilizer with their effluent application that it would make it too complicated. In the United States by contrast, VRI is becoming more popular. I estimate that 15 percent of U.S. center-pivot users are using VRI. Applying fertilizer with the irrigation water is also a common practice in the United States. IL



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How Emrgy is Disrupting the Hydropower Industry

T-L’s Business in New Zealand and Around the World


-L Irrigation is a family-owned equipment manufacturer founded in 1955. Based in Hastings, Nebraska, it is active around the world, from the Middle East to New Zealand. Its hydrostatic drive center-pivot system is versatile and easy for clients around the world to use. T-L’s international business puts it in contact with foreign competitors and even intellectual property pirates who seek to benefit from others’ research and development. In this interview, Randy George, T-L’s vice president of international sales, speaks with Irrigation Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about his company’s business around the world, with a focus on New Zealand. Joshua Dill: Please tell us about your background and how you came to be in your current position.


and an Irish/Saudi Arabian company offered me a job. The following February, I went back over to Saudi Arabia on a contract. The company had a hard time finding people and had a bonus system in which you got a 12½ percent bonus your first year, a 25 percent bonus your second year, a 50 percent bonus your third year, and a 75 percent bonus your fourth. If you stayed 5 years, you got a full year’s salary as a bonus. I continued renewing the contract and stayed for 5 years. From there, I transferred with the same company to Georgia, in the United States, where it had set up a huge dairy operation to address the deficit of fresh milk in the Southeast in the late 1980s. We installed center pivots and huge wastewater systems, since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was just learning then what to do with all the waste coming off these dairy confinements. I then went back to Saudi Arabia for a second dealer and helped it set up operations in the 1990s after the Gulf War. I stayed for a couple years, and I have been working at T-L Headquarters since 1993. I took over as vice president of international sales in 2001 and am still in that position today. Joshua Dill: For those who don’t know much about the company, would you give a quick overview of T-L?


Randy George: I finished school and started working at T-L Irrigation in 1981, doing production work. I went into the service/spare parts department, and they shipped me to Saudi Arabia. I was 19 years old and had never flown before in my life. I worked there for a month setting up a new dealer with a warehouse, inventory, and stock. Then I came back home,

A pivot point in New Zealand.

Randy George: T-L started in 1955 as a family-owned operation run by a father and two sons. It manufactured aluminum tubes for flood irrigation. In the mid-1960s, due to the high cost of leveling land, center pivots were invented. The first machine was driven by high-pressure water going through turbines. The second machine was electric. The owner of T-L didn’t like electricity and water together, and as he was a mechanical engineer, he designed the first hydrostatic-drive center pivot, which we marketed in 1969 in the United States. We exported our first machine to Saudi Arabia in 1978. Now we export to about 80 countries worldwide. Joshua Dill: Would you give us an overview of your worldwide business? Randy George: We started to export to Australia in 1982. We also export to countries in Africa, Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe, including Argentina, New Zealand, Paraguay, Russia, and Uruguay. Argentina used to be a good market, but the peso crashed drastically and there is not much going on there anymore. Sub-Saharan Africa has been a good market for us. We sell a lot of machines to third-world countries because of the simplicity of the hydraulic system. People who can’t read or write can run and service our machines. At the moment, commodity prices are pretty low in the United States and domestic sales are quiet, so we are working hard to gain higher market share in international markets and to open new markets. Joshua Dill: Do you export full center-pivot systems? Randy George: Yes. T-L only produces in Hastings, Nebraska. We have no factories overseas. Joshua Dill: Would you tell us more about the New Zealand market? Randy George: At the beginning, a big dealer from Australia sold in New Zealand for us. We probably sold our first machine in New Zealand in the mid-1990s. We started setting up independent dealers there in the late 1990s. The majority of our systems are on the South Island, which is relatively flat compared to the North Island. Thousands of our machines have been sold there in the last 15–20 years. When it comes to irrigation, the easy stuff—the land that has little slope—is already set up with irrigation. Now we’re working on hills. We’re putting pivots on land with a 28 percent slope. Our pivots have probably got the highest standard slope capacity. They can deal with slopes up to 30 percent. That’s pretty steep—a slope like that is difficult to walk up. The majority of our systems are used on dairy farms. New Zealand is a good producer of milk, and it is relatively close to China, which is a huge market. The strength of the dairy industry has fluctuated over the last 20 years, but it continues to grow. New Zealand and Australia set up their dairy farms in an

unusual way. They graze their dairy cows underneath pivots. For the most part, there are few confined dairies where they bring the food to the cows. In New Zealand, they’ll put the pivot point center at the top of the milking parlor, and they’ll have segments out in the pivot area. They’ll just graze their cows and rotate the cows around as they eat up all the forage. New Zealand has a new prime minister who is skeptical of agriculture. There’s a big push by environmental groups over there to get dairy farmers to keep effluent out of the underground water and the surface water, and to do that, they are forcing them to put slurry into their pivots. There are reasons for concern and they need to have control, but they go over the top a bit. The government is forcing them to install valves that turn off sprinklers when they go over little ponds, roadways, and water tanks, which is expensive, unreliable, and requires complex programming. It’s expensive for those farmers to conform to all the regulations. Twenty years ago, the farmers just dumped the slurry on the ground. They had HDP piping, and underneath the pivot structure, they pumped pure slurry through the machine with tees, where it would hit a disc harrow blade and be dumped on the ground. They weren’t using the nutrients efficiently. Then they started diluting it, filtering it, and putting it on the fields through a proper sprinkler package, which is excellent and also environmentally friendly. Joshua Dill: Do you have to specially design pivot systems to do that? Randy George: We have done some special and nonstandard equipment, but the Kiwis like doing things themselves. We’ve got high-profile machines that go over houses and barns and can even have tractors and harvesters run underneath them. There are multiple reasons to use a high-profile machine, but there is lots of wind in New Zealand. A few years ago, 800 machines were blown over in one big storm. Customers and dealers have tried to design antiwind systems to attach to our pivots. One was a bag filled with water that dropped from the span. Another big customer with 30 machines designed a wind foil that put downward pressure on the axle of the pivot to keep it from blowing over. I don’t know if he’s ever tested it. Some guys would go out with battery-operated screw guns and anchor the axles with anchor screws. Most would do that for about 4–5 high wind warnings and then abandon it because of the additional work involved. Joshua Dill: How do T-L’s global markets differ from each other? Randy George: Every market is a little bit different. Some governments promote agriculture with subsidies or lowinterest loans, whereas other governments don’t have the cash to do that and rely on the World Bank or the U.S. Agency for International Development for funds to build up agriculture. There are protests around the world for all sorts of reasons. The worst thing that a government in Africa can IRRIGATIONLEADERMAGAZINE.COM

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have is hungry people. The big drought in the United States in 2012 resulted in skyrocketing prices for commodities. If commodity prices were double here, they were triple by the time the food was shipped across the Atlantic. Social media travels fast. If you want to get an uprising or protest started, you can do it in minutes now with a cell phone. Public unrest causes chaos and even civil war. No one will invest in irrigation with a civil war going on. Joshua Dill: How does intellectual property theft affect T-L’s business?

Joshua Dill: Is there legal recourse for these companies to object to that? Randy George: I don’t think so. I don’t think a patent means anything in China. You could spend a million dollars defending a U.S. patent, but would you gain anything? Joshua Dill: Can countries like New Zealand or Australia do anything about pirated systems being sold there? Randy George: As long as the machines are up to code, I don’t think so. Joshua Dill: To what extent are other companies becoming competitors on the global market? Randy George: The Europeans have been manufacturing pivots for over 20 years. The Austrian company Bauer is aggressive worldwide. It tweaks its machine a little bit, but all the technology comes from the United States. It is riding off our research and development. When the U.S. government put sanctions on South Africa in 1988, that country became self-sufficient and started manufacturing its own pivots, which were copies of U.S. products. Today, they’re still in business. There are manufacturers in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, France, Italy, Portugal, Russia, and Spain, and 15–20 of them in China.

A T-L pivot at the White House representing the state of Nebraska in the Made in America showcase in July 2019.


Randy George: I heard that the French company Otech was selling in Québec and that Rain Fine from China was trying to promote on the West Coast of the United States. That may or may not change with the import duties that President Trump is trying to get in place. Joshua Dill: What are T-L’s plans for international sales going into the future? Randy George: The company leadership is pushing us to boost exports anywhere the opportunity arises. Unless some of these third-world countries start subsidizing and promoting agriculture with low-interest loans or subsidies of some sort, the development of irrigation will be slow. However, as third-world countries see the benefits and food security that our systems provide, the markets will grow. IL

Randy George is vice president of international sales at T-L Irrigation. For more about T-L Irrigation, visit www.tlirr.com.


Randy George: It started in 2008 when the Chinese government set up a tender to all U.S. pivot manufacturers, and we all bid on them and sold quite a few machines in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2011, it said, “Thank you very much, there is now a 25 percent duty on pivots coming in.” Basically, the Chinese manufacturers had set up factories and copied pretty much everybody. Fortunately, T-L wasn’t among them, because our hydrostatic drive system is unique and difficult to copy, whereas an electric pivot simply involves a center drive, a couple of microswitches, a contactor, and a motor. Most of the Chinese manufacturers copied the structure from U.S. companies. I haven’t been to China since they put the import duty on us, but I have heard the market crashed from 5,000 systems sold per year to 1,000. Two U.S. manufacturers have factories over there, and they are exporting a lot of their machines because, from what I understand, they have to wait 2 years to get paid by the Chinese government. The Chinese companies that copied the U.S. systems are trying to survive by selling in first-world rather than third-world countries. However, they state that any parts and service can come from your U.S.-backed dealer since everything is interchangeable. They have no inventory and no service department to back them up. No overheads!

Joshua Dill: Do those companies ever try to market in the United States?


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Chris Gargan and Joel Irving alongside a large IWS screen.

How IWS Builds Customized Fish Screens


alifornia-based International Water Screens (IWS) creates custom-designed fish screens for irrigation districts and other canal managers. Its products meet the specific needs irrigation districts have for approach velocity, opening size, and flow level. IWS has sold its products both in the United States and in New Zealand. In this interview, Rich Gargan, owner of IWS, speaks with Irrigation Leader Editor-in-Chief Kris Polly about how his company creates fish screens, from design to construction.

All our fish screens are self-cleaning. If you put a screen with 3/32-inch openings in the water, it will catch debris like moss, leaves, and sticks. If you let it accumulate, the debris will plug the screen. Once that happens, the throughput velocity increases to the point that fish will start to impinge on the screen. It has to be self-cleaning to avoid that from happening.

Kris Polly: Please tell us about your background and your company.

Rich Gargan: Close to 50. A lot of times, we build what we think is a traveling screen, and after we put it in, the customer says, “Oh, by the way, this needs to work as a fish screen.” Then we have to make small changes so that it can also serve that purpose.


Kris Polly: What are the key design factors that irrigation districts or schemes should be aware of when creating a fish barrier? Rich Gargan: The approach velocity that is required by law at its location is number 1. The size of the opening required at its location is number 2. The amount of flow, whether measured


Rich Gargan: I’ve been in the screening industry for about 32–33 years now. Fish screens became popular around the early 1990s with the emergence of the environmental movement. We also manufacture traveling screens, which are designed with only debris removal in mind. We design our fish screens with different plastics and customize the size of the openings depending on the client’s requirements. Each fish screen is designed for a specific location.

Kris Polly: How many fish barriers or fish screens do you think you’ve designed and built?

in cubic feet per second, gallons per minute, or gallons per day, is also important to know, as is water level. If the customer can give us that information, we can design a fish screen. Kris Polly: What are the key steps from design to construction? Rich Gargan: We need to know key criteria like flow rate, water level, opening size, and approach velocity. We also defer to the customer on what kinds of materials they want to use for their construction. They may require 304 or 316 stainless steel or a steel screen frame with stainless steel chains and belting. Those options can be mixed and matched in any way. The customers know what works best in their systems. Then we create a conceptual design. Once the customer is happy with the conceptual design, we give them a quote. Kris Polly: Do you try to visit the site before you do a quote?

The main maintenance required is removing the debris from behind the screen. Kris Polly: How often do you need to change out the belting or mesh material used in the screen? Rich Gargan: The belting should never need to be changed unless it is damaged by a catastrophic event. Normally, there is no wear on the belting itself. Theoretically, it should last just about forever. The only time that we have changed the belting out on a screen is when we went to a larger size. We installed a fish screen in Yuma that was designed for grass-eating carp that, at the time, were 12 inches long and 2 inches around. Now those carp are huge, probably 30 pounds, so we have been able to make the belt openings bigger. Kris Polly: What do you think is most surprising to potential customers?

Rich Gargan: More often than not, when people contact us regarding fish screens, they’re shocked by how big and expensive the project ends up being. For instance, Chris Gargan is working on a project in Santa Paula right now where the client was running all its water through two of our normal traveling screens. Somebody was jogging one day by the screen and saw a dead fish on the bank that the screen had removed from the water. An environmentalist sued them, and now they are looking at 140 feet of screens rather than 8 feet. They have to go from an approach velocity of 4 feet per second down to 0.3 feet per second. Joel Irving was working with Rich Gargan with one of IWS’s screens. someone in New Zealand who thought he needed a few screens. Rich Gargan: Yes, almost always. When we did the calculations to meet his requirements, he would have needed 36 screens, each 10 feet wide. When we Kris Polly: How long does building a fish barrier project tell people things like this, the first thing they do is they generally take? get mad at us because we’re delivering bad news. People need to understand that we are just designing screens Rich Gargan: It’s probably 10 weeks from design to construction. to their specifications. In order to achieve the velocities required, you have to cover substantially more surface area Kris Polly: What are the general maintenance requirements than what you might think. IL and life expectancy of a fish barrier? Rich Gargan: The amount of general maintenance required is very low. You might need to do minor maintenance as infrequently as once every 10 years. The majority of fish screens have low approach velocity requirements, as low as 0.33 feet per second. That minimizes the wear on the screen.

Rich Gargan is the owner of International Water Screens. He can be contacted at iwsrich@sbcglobal.net.


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In Memoriam: Scott E. Davis On Thursday, June 13, 2019, Scott Davis, a loving husband and father, passed away at age 69. Scott was born on February 20, 1950, in Antigo, Wisconsin to Edgar and Ruth Ann Oeldrich. He received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1973, and was later awarded a master of business administration by the University of Phoenix. Scott worked as ranch manager for Milliken Land & Cattle Corporation in Buckeye, Arizona, and later was ranch manager for Fisher Ranch Corporation in Blythe, California, where he met his wife, Peggy Duquette. They were married in Prescott, Arizona, on March 22, 1986. They raised two children, Samantha and Jake, in Flagstaff, Arizona. Scott and Peggy moved to O’Neals, California in 1999, where they purchased Grassy Creek Ranch. Scott loved the privacy of the beautiful Sierra foothills, where he could enjoy Canada geese, wild turkey, deer, falcons, hawks, and all four seasons with the Yosemite Mountains in the background. He had a passion for raising Limousin/ Angus cattle and performance quarter horses. From 2002 on, Scott worked as business development manager for True Point Solutions, and in 2019 he worked as account manager for Rubicon Water. Scott is survived by his wife Peggy, his children Samantha and Jake, and his grandchildren Hunter Gossage, Tyler, and Ryleigh Davis. He is also survived by his mother Ruth Ann Davis, his brothers Rick, Doug, Jeff, and Steve, and several nieces and nephews.


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Scott E. Davis Memorial Scholarship Endowment at www.uafoundation.org/scottdavismemorial or by check, paid to the order of UA Foundation/CALS, and mailed to UA Foundation / CALS, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, The University of Arizona, 325 Forbes Building, Tucson, AZ 85721.


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Does your irrigation district have a job listing you would like to advertise in our pages? Irrigation Leader provides this service to irrigation districts free of charge.

E-MAIL: Kris Polly kris.polly@waterstrategies.com. TULUATIN VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT: DISTRICT MANAGER Salary: Dependent on experience. DESCRIPTION: + The Tualatin Valley Irrigation District (TVID) is seeking a District Manager. TVID is located in Forest Grove, Oregon, and serves approximately 350 customers and irrigates 17,000 acres in Washington County. A Reclamation project built in the late 70s, TVID operates Scoggins Dam and two pumping plants and maintains over 120 miles of buried pressurized pipeline ranging from 6” to 60”. There are currently 7 full time employees. QUALIFICATIONS: + Applicants must have the experience, education, and management skills necessary to operate and maintain the district. FOR MORE INFORMATION: e-mail: joe.rutledge@tvid.org. RUBICON: ACCOUNT MANAGER – CENTRAL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA Salary: Dependent on experience. DESCRIPTION: The role of account manager requires both sales of Rubicon solutions throughout the Central Valley of California and cooperation with management to execute sales strategy and new business development. Primary duties include: + Developing close customer relations and new accounts + Developing proposals to improve customers’ business performance in collaboration with Rubicon’s solutions engineering team + Developing and delivering project and equipment quotations + Strategic business development. Qualifications: + Agricultural, engineering, or related technical degree (bachelor’s degree preferred) + Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills + Technical skills and understanding of hydraulics and basic engineering and construction principles + Exceptional time-management, organizational, and relationship-building skills FOR MORE INFORMATION: e-mail alias.newton@rubiconwater.com. ELEPHANT BUTTE IRRIGATION DISTRICT: PROJECT ENGINEER Salary: $23.00/hour DESCRIPTION: Will work under the supervision of the district engineer. Duties include:


+ Designing, developing, and overseeing system improvement projects + Assisting with the planning, field work, design and construction of a wide variety of projects + Providing technical support on all issues related to engineering planning, fieldwork, design, field applications, and construction QUALIFICATIONS: + A BS in civil engineering or engineering technologies and successful passage of the Fundamentals of Engineering exam + Ability to apply college-level mathematics such as algebra and trigonometric computations to standard surveying, design, and construction operations + Ability to use MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, AutoCAD computer software; the ability to use surveygrade GPS and ArcView GIS or to quickly learn + Experience in irrigation or agricultural systems, public sector employment or consulting, knowledge of engineering land and surveying issues, the ability to read and interpret maps and legal documents, and language skills are all advantages FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit ebid-nm. org/index.php/information/#hiring or e-mail Delyce Maciel at dmaciel@ebid-nm.org. KENNEWICK IRRIGATION DISTRICT: PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYOR Salary: $32.42 to $44.33/hour DESCRIPTION: Under the engineering/operations manager’s direction, the professional land surveyor plans, organizes, and performs various technical engineering surveying activities related to project design and construction; creates and reviews parcel and easement boundary legal descriptions; reviews canal easements, rights-of-way, and property segregation documents; performs measurement of geographical features technical duties; trains supporting staff and coordinates; and performs surveying work. QUALIFICATIONS: + Bachelor’s degree in surveying, engineering technology, or related field + Washington State Professional Land Surveyor license FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit kid.org/employment. KENNEWICK IRRIGATION DISTRICT: GIS ANALYST/DEVELOPER DESCRIPTION: KID is seeking a GIS analyst-developer to be responsible for all aspects of district’s GIS files, related applications, maps and data. Responsibilities include developing workflows, defining policies, and planning GIS project development; coordinating with staff and management to define and customize GIS project content; being the design and development lead for enterprise GIS and related web services; writing programs and developing user interfaces, menus, and macro-level commands; and providing backup for IT support. QUALIFICATIONS: + Master’s degree in GIS, computer science or closely related field and 1 year’s experience programming in GIS software environment + OR bachelor’s degree and 3 years’ experience in similar fields + OR combination of education and experience providing desired skills, knowledge and ability. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit kid.org/employment.


Upcoming Events October 2 Golf Tournament, Oregon Water Resources Association, Sisters, OR October 25 H2OPen Golf Tournament, Arizona BWC, Casa Grande, AZ October 29 Conference and 55th Annual Meeting, Columbia Basin Development League, Moses Lake, WA November 4–8 USCID’s 2019 Conference, Reno, NV November 6–8 88th Annual Conference, NWRA, Houston, TX December 2 Annual Agribusiness Roundtable, Arizona BWC, Tempe, AZ December 4–6 Annual Conference, Washington State Water Resources Association, Spokane, WA December 11–13 Annual Conference, CRWUA, Las Vegas, NV December 13–14 2019 Winter Meeting, Western Governors Association, Las Vegas, NV January 25–30 Las Vegas to Phoenix Education and Trade Tour, Irrigation Leader January 29–30 Operations and Management Training Workshop, Irrigation Leader, Phoenix, AZ February 22–27 New Zealand Education and Trade Tour, Irrigation Leader

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Profile for Water Strategies

Irrigation Leader Washington State October 2019  

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