Smart Irrigation in Action

The Irrigation Association’s Smart Irrigation Month is a perfect opportunity to promote the importance and value of smart irrigation practices.

Published online: Jul 10, 2019 Irrigation John Farner, Government & Public Affairs Director, Irrigation Association
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This article appears in the July 2019 issue of Potato Grower.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Water is the driver of nature.” While this statement holds true even in the 21st century, water is now the driver of a lot more, including politics, policy and conflicts. While water is, in fact, all around us, only a small percentage of it is available for us to use for drinking and other uses, including irrigation.

This ever-increasing focus on water use is just one of the many reasons we celebrate July as Smart Irrigation Month. In fact, this July is the 15th celebration of Smart Irrigation Month. Each year, the irrigation industry and those who support smart irrigation practices, technologies and their benefits come together to celebrate smart irrigation and promote just how essential smart irrigation is to our environment, economy and society.

Fortunately, the benefits of smart irrigation are all around us. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the rivers we cherish and the roar of a crowd under the Friday night lights at your local high school. Though we are often unable to see smart irrigation in action, we trust that it’s doing its job, without wasting one of our nation’s most precious resources: water. Unfortunately, not everyone understands these roles irrigation plays in our daily lives. We need to do a better job of telling our story and showcasing smart irrigation in action.

So, what exactly is smart irrigation in action? It can be anything from the center pivots over the fields in Nebraska to drip irrigation in a vineyard to the cloud-based control systems that allow irrigation managers to control an irrigation system from anywhere in the world with their cell phone or tablet. Smart irrigation in action can also be the people making sure the drip lines are running smoothly or the sprinklers are distributing the water uniformly around the crop circle. Smart irrigation in action is all of us working together to make sure we have the food we need and the landscapes we enjoy.

With all this talk of action, how can you get involved and participate in Smart Irrigation Month?

First, you don’t have to be a member of the Irrigation Association (though you really should be). Smart Irrigation Month is for everyone to participate in and celebrate. Here are just a few of the ways:

Be a leader of smart irrigation.

Using the tools available on www.smartirrigationmonth.org, be a leader among your peers in showcasing smart practices, smart technologies and smart products and what they all can mean. This can be anything from using social media to tell and show your story, to featuring your farm practices along with the Smart Irrigation Month logo.

Engage with media.

While you may be reading this in a print publication, there are other ways to amplify our message. These can include announcing news about your business or farming operations in July or even writing letters to local newspapers and television stations about the importance of smart irrigation and why you celebrate Smart Irrigation Month.

Advocate on behalf of the industry.

Talk to your regulators and legislators. Invite them to visit your farm and see smart irrigation in action. Ask them to celebrate Smart Irrigation Month. Because smart irrigation can equate to environmental, social and economic benefits, you will be surprised just how many government leaders will want to join us with this message.

Celebrate you.

If you use irrigation, talk about it. Talk about what you have done to make your farm and our world better through smart irrigation. We need to do a better job of recognizing all that we have jointly accomplished.

 

If you are interested in learning more about smart irrigation technologies and practices, we encourage you to visit us this Dec. 2-6 at the 2019 Irrigation Show & Education Conference in Las Vegas. At the Irrigation Show, you will be able to not only learn about the latest technologies and trends in irrigation, but also learn from the experts just how these smart irrigation technologies are making a difference. To learn more about the Irrigation Show & Education Conference, visit www.irrigationshow.org.

Finally, while we need to hold each other accountable to celebrate Smart Irrigation Month this July, let’s remember that smart irrigation does not begin July 1 or end July 31. We need to celebrate all smart irrigation brings throughout the year. Smart irrigation can be in action at any time and in any place. We need to grow the opportunities that exist to not only employ these best practices but also shine a light on them as the way irrigation should be done. The tools available at www.smartirrigationmonth.org and www.irrigation.org are a great start in making this happen. Smart irrigation can be celebrated in July, but it can be put into practice year-round.

You are on the front lines of irrigation in action. Thank you for all you do, and happy Smart Irrigation Month.