National Water & Energy Conservation Award
This award was established in 1982 and will be retired in 2018. The award honored a company, organization or other group entity that made significant achievements in the conservation of water and energy due to irrigation procedures, practices, equipment, methods and techniques. Winners of this award include the following:
USDA-NIFA Multistate Project W-3128 “Scaling Microirrigation Technologies to Address the Global Water Challenge”
Steve Loring, PhD, is the administrative advisor of the project. His team consists of a multistate group of volunteers who have been self-organized under the USDA umbrella for nearly 45 years documenting and sharing the science that has advanced the development, use and practical application of microirrigation in agriculture.
This particular project consisted of research and extension professionals from 19 universities and three federal labs (along with industry representatives) working on the wide range of interlocking water-related issues, from plant physiology to soil physics, modeling, irrigation scheduling and irrigation technology.
The group made research directors and USDA professionals aware of the advances in and importance of irrigation technology/application as it influences so many different areas of our economy and the ability to sustainably manage our water resources.
Texas Alliance for Water Conservation
The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation began in 2005 and was made possible by a grant from the Texas Water Development Board. The project uses on-farm demonstrations of cropping and livestock systems to compare the production practices, technologies and systems that can maintain individual farm profitability while improving water use efficiency with a goal of extending the life of the Ogallala Aquifer while maintaining the viability of local farms and communities. All production-related decisions are made by the more than 20 producers involved in the project. As part of the TAWC, these area producers partner with researchers, data collection technologies and collaborating partners that include industries, universities and government agencies in an effort to determine the best practices for managing their water.
With the ability to evaluate different management strategies within delivery systems and tillage types found in the region, the TAWC has been able to evaluate the regional economic impacts, total irrigation water use and water use efficiency, crop and livestock productivity and profitability, total input requirements, and impact on natural resources including soil quality and erosion potential and wildlife habitat.
Southern Nevada Water Authority
SNWA was recognized for its contributions to the industry, which include implementing an aggressive water conservation program that offered a variety of resources, services, incentives and information to help the community reduce its water use. One of SNWA’s most successful conservation initiatives is its Water Smart Landscapes rebate program.
The WSL program pays residential and business customers up to $1.50 per square foot to convert lawns to water-efficient desert landscaping. SNWA customers and member agencies can also receive a rebate of up to $200 on the purchase of a qualifying smart irrigation controller.
To date, the WSL program has helped convert more than 170 million square feet of non-functional lawn to water-efficient landscaping, saving Southern Nevada more than 9.5 billion gallons of water annually. Since the program’s inception, more than 52,000 projects have been completed, resulting in a collective water savings of more than 72 billion gallons.
Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California
Led by Supervising Treatment Plant Operator Tim Linn, the staff of the Palmdale Agricultural Site manages a 12 million gallon-per-day capacity water treatment plant. Their work provides 100 percent treated effluent to irrigate, under center pivot, approximately 2,000 acres of agricultural crops. Linn and staff have shown the best in water management by navigating regulatory restrictions, crop rotations, nutrient loads and crop water demand to keep up with the county’s constant supply of recycled water.
USDA-ARS (Fort Collins, Colorado)
The USDA-ARS Water Management Research Unit celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2011. Its scientists and engineers have contributed to dam development, flow metering, irrigation control structures, evapotranspiration, crop water use, center pivot energy management and sprinkler irrigation design and evaluation. Current research is focused on developing management practices that can help sustain irrigated agriculture in the Great Plains and throughout the western United States with declining water supplies. The research is developing better understanding of how crops respond to deficit irrigation and how to maximize productivity with limited water (maximize “crop per drop”).
Other Past Recipients
Otay Water District
City of Calgary’s Parks Department
City of Palmdale, California
San Antonio Water System
Town of Cary, North Carolina
Upper Republican Natural Resources District, Nebraska
Southern Alberta Water Sharing Group: Blood Tribe Agricultural Project
St. Mary River Irrigation District (SMRID) Expanded Main Canal Advisory Committee
Southern Water Users Association
Florida’s Water Management Districts: Northwest, South, Southwest, St. Johns River, Suwannee River
Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission
Water Protection Association of Central Kansas
Center for Irrigation Technology
Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District
Walt Disney World Company, Horticulture and Environmental Initiative
Idaho Power Company
Idaho Department of Water Resources, Energy Division
Weston Community, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Westlands Water District
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Imperial Irrigation District and the Environmental Defense Fund
Department of Agricultural Engineering, Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo and California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento
CH2M Hill, Portland, Oregon
Eastern Oregon Farming Company, Irrigon, Oregon
High Plains Underground Water District, Lubbock, Texas
Denver Water Department and Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado
A.C. Sarsfield and Northern California Turfgrass Council
Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association