Irrigation management program slated for July 16 in Monte Alto

Will focus on challenges, opportunities of system modernization

Irrigation in the Rio Grande Valley will be the focus of the July 16 program in Monte Alto. (Photo courtesy Texas Water Resources Institute)

MONTE ALTO – An educational program focused on improving efficiency within irrigation districts and farms in the Rio Grande Valley will be presented from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. July 16 in Monte Alto.

The program is free, but attendees are required to preregister at http://twri.tamu.edu/irrigation by July 8. It is designed for irrigation district managers, board members and growers, and is presented by the Texas Water Resources Institute, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Water Development Board.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in the conference room at the Rio Farms Inc., 25601 N. Farm-to-Market Road 88. A catered lunch sponsored by Texas Regional Bank will be provided at the Rio Farms conference room.

Dr. Lucas Gregory, Texas Water Resources Institute senior research scientist, College Station, said Darren McGregor, general manager for Rubicon Water in North America, will give the keynote presentation.

“McGregor’s presentation will highlight the work Rubicon Water has done in Australia to modernize the irrigation conveyance system in the Murray-Darling River basin,” he said.

Gregory said integrating technology and operational systems such as automated canal gates and valves, flow metering, and employing the latest systems and technology have improved operational efficiency for irrigation districts and on farms.

“But these don’t come without some challenges,” he said. “McGregor’s discussion will focus on highlighting the challenges faced and lessons learned with modernizing and increasing efficiency in the Australian irrigation system network.”

Gregory said topics and presenters will include:

  • Harlingen Irrigation District Cameron County No.1 efforts to improve its efficiency and capabilities of the Rio Grande Center for Ag Water Efficiency, Al Blair, Axiom Blair Engineering, Austin.
  • Benefits of converting small irrigation canals to pipelines. Isaac Huacuja of SWG Engineering LLC, Weslaco.
  • Salinity management options for irrigators, Dr. Girisha Ganjegunte, AgriLife Research associate professor, El Paso.
  • Approaches implemented in the field and lessons learned for an ongoing cotton irrigation demonstration project, Matt Klostermann, president of Rio Farms Inc., and Gregory. The presentation will include a demonstration-site field tour.
  • Updates on the recent Texas Legislative session. Wayne Halbert, former general manager of the Harlingen Irrigation District.
  • Financial programs available to improve irrigation infrastructure within the districts and on farms, Brooke Paup, Texas Water Development Board director.
  • Additional resources available to water districts and farmers, Sonny Vela, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service specialist.

The event is part of TWRI’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Irrigation Education and Outreach project, funded by the Texas Water Development Board through an Agricultural Water Conservation Grant to AgriLife Extension.

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Contacts: Lucas Gregory, 979-845-7869, LFGregory@ag.tamu.edu

Vidal Saenz, 956-383-1026, vidal.saenz@ag.tamu.edu

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