Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Micro-Irrigation Blitz Coming?

I've been following a micro-irrigation list serve (discussion group) for maybe 3 years now.  It has been personally organized and run by a person in academia and has been focused soley on the technology and science of micro irrigation - promoting all the positives as well as seeking solutions for all the not so positives.  A ton of fair, honest and unfettered discussion has been had since I've joined.  But alas, due to personal reasons the group inventor is stepping down and after few offers to take over the discussion group, he is allowing Toro Micro, a commercial company that develops and sells SDI equipment, to assume the helm. 

And was I ever surprised at the very first "new regime" post.  Tom, representing an engineering and design company promoting, selling and installing smart irrigation systems for business and agriculture (SDI elements included) says (paraphrasing):  "let me be among the first to begin a new thread".   He goes on:
This year, I have attended a few conferences (Park City, UT, and Las Vegas), as well as attended NRCS State Technical Advisory Committee meetings. A couple of presentations were shaded with tones of non-denial that agriculture holds the most potential for really dramatic water and energy optimizations and risk/uncertainty reductions, affecting the nation as a whole.  I would like to report that bold and unified action plans are being developed to boldly transition irrigated agriculture in the West to precision irrigation/fertigation.

But what good is all our enlightened chats if the majority of producers ONLY wish to irrigate and fertilize like their pappy did back in the 1950’s, no rank belittlement intended? Do we need a T. Roosevelt to get irrigation districts, and their stockholders, and the Fed., as well as serious, national agribusiness contributions to rally and unite, towards wide-scale, pressurized network infrastructure and on-farm sensor-based, adaptive management automation….across virtually all of the 17 western states?
Who can't see where this group is headed?  Those who feel that new irrigation technology needs to hold up a minute until government can place appropriate controls on the conversions to ensure no increases of consumptive water use will need to catch their collective breaths - or start monitoring this discussion and demanding some collaboration.

Converting all irrigation water use to higher application efficiencies and then addressing the water supply problem is a huge mistake.  All the capitalization makes subsequent management more difficult than it already is.  The capped water supply issues need to be addressed first, then the conversions.  Yes, the order of implementation does make a difference.  Oh well, just another day in the water management business.


  1. Micro irrigation has been in the news recently. I am searching for its details about what exactly it is. I liked your post and get some information about this kind.

  2. Irrigation Systems: The following link is to the Kansas State University Micro-irrigation page. This should help in your research.


    The point of my post is that there are times when converting an older, less efficient irrigation system to a new, highly efficient one, that more water gets consumed than previously. To promote irrigation efficiency upgrades across the entire West without recognizing and understanding these situations could have negative water resource impacts.

    Thanks for the comment.