Read the latest IA & ag association updates

Association news | Fall 2022

Read about summer 2022 updates in the ag industry from the California Agricultural Irrigation Association.

CAIA tackles irrigation education in fall meeting

The California Agricultural Irrigation Association held its annual fall meeting Sept. 14-15 in Pismo Beach, California, where attendees shared agricultural irrigation knowledge and discussed efforts to help the industry. A legislative and regulatory roundtable started the event, followed by innovation, educational and technical sessions on the following topics:

  • Tile Recharge — Subsurface Groundwater Recharge Without Impacting Farming Operations
  • SGMA Implementation Utilizing Evapotranspiration for Regulation
  • Smart Irrigation for Agriculture Leads to More Efficient Carbon Capture
  • Irrigation in Controlled-Environment Agriculture
  • Prospera Technologies and Grower Heartbeat: Checking the Pulse of the Industry

The keynote presentation at the CAIA member meeting was given by Ernest Conant, regional director of the California Great Basin Region of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Conant updated those present on the project he manages: the Central Valley Project, one of the nation’s largest and most complex water projects.

Many participants toured the Cal Poly Strawberry Center, a partnership between the California Strawberry Commission and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. There were also social events available for catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, as well as receptions and dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a wine tasting at Baileyana in San Luis Obispo, California.

The CAIA fall meeting is open to members and guests, and everyone is encouraged to attend next year’s fall meeting.

For more information about CAIA, visit

Read about summer 2022 updates in the ag industry from the Family Farm Alliance.

The Alliance discusses irrigation modernization

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie traveled to central Oregon in late July to celebrate the completion of Three Sisters Irrigation District’s 25-year effort to modernize its water delivery system. Family Farm Alliance members directly engaged with the senator and the undersecretary at a roundtable meeting to discuss the importance of the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program.

The event was organized to showcase the agricultural, environmental, energy, economic and community benefits of irrigation modernization and the broad collaboration between the many groups and organizations that made the work possible.

Modernization efforts include piping the district’s 64 miles of canals, installation of a fish screen and on-farm improvements.

“The roundtable event provided a tremendous opportunity for the Alliance and our central Oregon members to share firsthand experience working with WFPO and how the program has advanced projects that implemented multiple benefits for farmers and the environment,” says Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance.

Merkley and Bonnie also met with other industry stakeholders to discuss concerns and opportunities associated with WFPO implementation.

WFPO is a program that Western water agencies use to replace leaking, open canals with pressurized pipes and overall improving agricultural water security.

The program’s funding is becoming increasingly competitive because of the scale of need in modernizing agricultural infrastructure.

For more information about the WFPOs, visit

Read about summer 2022 updates in the ag industry from the Irrigation Association.

Irrigation Today places first in ACN awards

Irrigation Today received two first-place awards for editorial design in the 2022 Agricultural Communicators Network Communication Awards Program July 19.

Irrigation Today’s designer, Sean Burris, achieved top prize awards in ACN’s single-paged editorial design commercial category for “What’s on the Horizon,” which ran in the magazine’s Spring 2021 issue, and the two-page plus design commercial category for “Connecting Technology,” which ran in its Winter 2022 issue.

The ACN Communications Awards aim to recognize ACN members’ work in design, photography, writing, marketing and communications, and digital and social media contests. Submitted entries for the 2022 contest must have been published between April 16, 2021, and April 15, 2022.

Design entries were judged on creativity, concept and clarity of design, with the main emphasis on effectiveness in communicating editorial messages and not “art for art’s sake.”

IA announces 2022 awards

Charlie Abee, CAIS

The Irrigation Association named the winners of the 2022 Irrigation Association Awards, who will be recognized at the 2022 Irrigation Show and Education Week.

Charlie Abee, CAIS, an agriculture technology and irrigation professor at the College of the Sequoias, Tulare, California, was one of two recipients of the 2022 Excellence in Education Award. This award recognizes a person who is actively teaching or has formerly taught irrigation, water management or water conservation in affiliation with a two- or four-year institution.

Abee worked to create a program for entry-level technicians while also preparing students for higher levels of education. He serves on the IA Certification Board.

Go to to read Abee’s IA award Q&A. The 2022 IA Awards Program is sponsored by Senninger.

Read about summer 2022 updates in the ag industry from Western Growers.

Western Growers responds to IRA law

One thousand forty-five. That is the elevation, in feet, of Lake Mead at the Hoover Dam.

Lake Mead is 25 feet lower than it was on the same day in June 2021 and a staggering 44 feet lower than June 2020.

Between now and the historical low point of the year on Lake Mead, the water elevation will drop another 4 to 6 feet based on data from the last five years. If you were wondering the last time Lake Mead was at this elevation, it was sometime in late 1937 — when the lake was filling originally.

In response to the inclusion of $4 billion in drought-relief funding for the Colorado River Basin in the Senate spending bill, Dave Puglia, Western Growers president and CEO, issued the following statement:

“We appreciate the determination of Senator Kyrsten Sinema and her colleagues to secure substantial new funding for drought-related priorities in the Colorado River Basin, which supports 5.7 million acres of irrigated agriculture including most of the nation’s winter vegetables as well as other high-value foods such as citrus and melons.

“Not only does the Colorado River supply the water and power needs of nearly 40 million people across the West, it sustains the agricultural output of Yuma, Arizona, and California’s Imperial Valley. Without fast and serious federal assistance, a significant portion of the nation’s food supply hangs in the balance.

“Senator Sinema and the other Western members of the Senate who insisted on inclusion of this relief have our sincere gratitude.”

For more information about Western Growers, visit




Gains made, ground to cover

As representatives of the irrigation industry, we are not just advocates for our sector; we are stewards of a resource that sustains life.

Gradually and then suddenly

Here, I’ll share a couple of anecdotes that serve as bookends to some of my current thinking and research on aquifer depletion.

With a glass half full

These definitions highlight the challenges associated with maximizing profitability when irrigating with limited water supplies.