Local Water, Local Control

by Teresa Austin, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 7, Pg. 46-49

Document Type: Feature article


Governments throughout the world are trying to improve the performance of publicly-owned and operated irrigation districts by turning operation and management of the districts over to local water users. As three case histories show, water-conservation goals and proper irrigation performance are often best achieved through a cooperative program that may cost users more up front, but eventually provides economic incentives and responds to farm-level input regarding policies and funding. This September 1993 leading water experts will meet at The Hague, Netherlands to discuss these issues as part of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage and Flood Control. These condensed case histories are a sampling from that conference. One such history addresses problems faced in California's San Joaquin Valley. In 1983 a large amount of local waterfowl die in that area due to selenium contained in agricultural drainage water stored in a set of holding ponds at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge. Since then California has implemented water-quality objectives that require a reduction in the amount of salts and selenium entering the San Joaquin River. To meet this goal, the Broadview Water District, located in the problem area has developed a program that involves a crop-specific tiered pricing program and field specific accounting of water deliveries.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Water management | Drainage | Selenium | Local government | Irrigation districts | Water conservation | Team building | California | United States

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