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Irrigation management in the United States

Number of hits:882019-04-27 19:06:22

In 1999, the author conducted a survey on water use and agricultural water-saving technology and irrigation management in the United States with the World Bank project training delegation of the Ministry of Water Resources. The US irrigation management technology, management philosophy, management methods, economic effects, especially in the management system and operational mechanism, are worthy of our in-depth study and careful reference.
1 US irrigation management background


The water resources in the United States are unevenly distributed in time and space. From the perspective of regional distribution, the eastern region is rich in water resources and the western region is dry (the average annual rainfall is only 150-200mm, and it falls in the winter of November-February). Crop growth can only rely on irrigation. In order to develop and utilize the water and soil resources in the western region, the United States has built more than 10 water transfer projects in 17 western states. The annual water transfer has reached more than 20 billion m3, forming a network of canals. Among them, the largest North-South Water Transfer Project in California has an annual water transfer capacity of 5.2 billion m3 and a total water head elevation of 1,151 m. In addition, there are Colorado Waterway Project, Central River Valley Project, Arkansas Engineering, and Arizona Engineering. The management of these large irrigation districts is crucial. Management is directly related to the performance of the project and the realization of the project objectives. Therefore, the United States attaches great importance to the management of these irrigation districts. They have been constantly summing up experience and taking measures to improve management.


2 US irrigation management goals


The management objectives of irrigation in the United States can be summarized as follows: relying entirely on modern science and technology, fully and efficiently using scarce water resources, and achieving higher and better yield and income increase with less amount of lower-priced water. It strives to maximize economic benefits with minimal cost and resources. While pursuing maximum economic benefits, it also pays great attention to the protection of the environment and strives to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable development and coordinated development. This is a comprehensive management goal. This goal is in line with the laws of economic development. While developing the economy, it is not based on sustainable development at the expense of the environment. For example, in areas with severe drought and water shortage in the west, it can be said that “drip water is as expensive as oil”, but some of the water in the North Water South Reservoir is still put into the river to meet part of the environmental water. This is a strategic vision.


3 US irrigation management technology


The US irrigation management technology is a comprehensive multidisciplinary management tool with automation control as its main content. Since the 1980s, irrigation management technology in the United States has been devoted to the research and application of automated control of field irrigation technology, and has made great progress. Many farms and orchards in California (the most developed state in the United States) now use computer-controlled automated irrigation management systems, especially for the automation of control of vegetable gardens and orchard micro-spraying and sprinkler irrigation systems. From the determination of soil moisture, the decision of irrigation decision and its instruction, to the shutdown of the pump when the irrigation is stopped, until the next irrigation instruction is issued, it is completed by computer and automatic monitoring, transmission and analysis systems. The dispatching of the reservoir and the water distribution control of the water conveyance channels at all levels, as well as the collection, treatment and utilization of the sewage, are also carried out in the control room of the control center. After nearly 20 years of unremitting efforts, the degree of irrigation automation represented by California in the United States has been greatly improved.


4 American Irrigation Management Organization


The organization of irrigation management in the United States is dominated by joint-stock irrigation companies. The board of directors and its employed managers are responsible for the management of the board of directors at all levels (equivalent to the state, city, county, township level, etc. of the dry, branch, or administrative divisions). There are water user associations in the management of irrigation districts, responsible for industry management, information exchange, technical training and services, coordination and supervision of water dispatching and the formulation and implementation of water laws and regulations. For large or key projects across river basins, government water bureaus at all levels are responsible for coordination, guidance, supervision and service.


There is also an organization between the peasant and the government. This type of organization is generally an irrigation district management association, which mainly manages large-scale irrigation districts and is responsible for water source project management and cross-basin water supply and dispatch of the main canals. There are management organizations in each irrigation district under the association. Organizations at all levels have a board of directors. The executive board of the board of directors is responsible for the daily work of water supply for farmers.


The Water Users Association (SIDD) is a grassroots irrigation management organization in rural America. It is responsible for the management of irrigation water in the field, and is also responsible for the construction, operation and management of irrigation projects in the region. It is a private management organization for water users. In the economy, it is “self-financing, and it is guaranteed to run”. This is an economically self-sustaining organization with legal person status, representing the interests of water users, participating in irrigation district management, and possessing property ownership for the irrigation projects invested.


5 US irrigation management system


The irrigation management system in the United States is a management system that combines unified management with hierarchical and sub-sector management. The federal government has departments and units such as the Rural Water Conservancy Bureau, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Irrigation Association of the Ministry of Agriculture, which are responsible for the planning, construction, management, and coordination of irrigation projects. The US Army Corps of Engineers is also involved in the construction of major projects. State, city (county) governments set up water bureaus, irrigation associations or irrigation companies as needed. Rural farm irrigation water is obtained through the grassroots irrigation and water supply company according to the contract. This system is based on a business-based operating mechanism.


Under this system, the irrigation project implements “grading construction, hierarchical management”. Which level of construction is the reservoir, dry, branch, and canal, and which level of management, that is, "who builds who has control." Clear responsibilities and clear ownership. Some places have water bureaus that manage water on behalf of the government.


The board system is generally implemented in the management of irrigation districts at various levels. Board members do not take the company's salary, but participate in management such as decision-making and supervision. The executive board and department are set up under the board of directors, and the company staff implements the appointment system.


6 US irrigation management operating mechanism


The irrigation management operation mechanism in the United States is an enterprise-type management operation mechanism with a joint-stock company as the main body, supplemented by a small number of business units and enterprise-type management.


In this operating mechanism, water rights and water fees are the link between the various links and the various water supply and water units. It can be said that water rights and water fees are the core of the US irrigation management operation mechanism. Water rights, that is, the right to use water, buy and sell, and wholesale water. The water rights are determined according to certain legal procedures according to the amount of capital contribution during the project planning or preparation stage. Water rights can be bought and sold and can be transferred.


In this kind of construction management mechanism, the water fee and water price mechanism is relatively flexible, and there may be some adjustments according to changes in supply and demand and market conditions. Of course, this adjustment is subject to certain legal procedures and is recognized by the water users. The principle of water price verification is close to the full cost of water. The government does not intervene in water prices, which is mainly determined by the market. However, the price of water is not free to rise. It should be based on cost, the cost accounting should be made public, and the accounting should be made public, subject to the consent of the user or the water user association. There must be practical reasons for raising water prices, and it is necessary to accept the supervision of water users.


The financing and construction of the irrigation district construction and management funds are also market-oriented. In accordance with the principle of “who benefits and who bears the burden”, a multi-channel and multi-diversity construction investment mechanism is implemented. Fundraising methods mainly include fund raising, loans, bond issuance and construction funds. Users and irrigation water wholesalers are responsible for financing, lending and repaying loans. The government does not take loans.


In this mechanism, the boards at all levels play a very important role. The board of directors is responsible for the decision-making and coordination of major issues in water management and determines the appointment of managers and staff. Not appointed by the government. Representatives of all irrigation districts participating in management are directly elected by water users, and others cannot intervene. The chairman, manager and staff are responsible for the majority of users, in addition to being responsible for national laws. Their job is to do a good job and make users satisfied. If you are not satisfied with your users, the user may no longer choose him as a representative in the future, and therefore cannot be a director. If the staff member is dissatisfied with the user, the board may no longer hire him.


This kind of irrigation district management operation mechanism has been practiced for decades and the effect is good. Both the water supplier and the water user are satisfied. Irrigation district management has achieved a virtuous circle. The principle of “fairness, justice and competition” is also reflected in the operation.


7 US Irrigation Management Policy


In order to make full use of limited water resources to develop irrigation and achieve better economic and social environmental benefits, the United States has adopted a series of preferential policies to support the development of these important infrastructure. For the construction of important irrigation channels and water source projects, the government will provide interest-free loans for 40 to 50 years; the government will also issue construction bonds as needed to raise funds for the society; the government also withdraws funds from certain beneficiary industries to raise funds; The operation of water supply is tax-free; irrigation water supply does not make profits, and the water supply unit is not profitable; for some irrigation districts (such as Colorado River Water), full subsidies are imposed, and the staff salaries and office expenses are all funded by the government. To alleviate the burden on farmers; the water fee collected by the government-administered irrigation district can only be used for project maintenance and operating expenses, and the water fee should be balanced; the expenditure after the expenditure can be carried over to the next year for engineering maintenance, but not for the project maintenance. Send bonuses, etc., in order to maintain the integrity and efficiency of the business water management unit. The government supports the project management unit to develop integrated operations (such as supporting the construction of various power stations) and grants tax exemptions.


8 US irrigation regulations


The United States focuses on managing irrigation in accordance with the law The construction of inter-basin water transfer projects and large-scale irrigation channels must be approved by the Congress or the state legislature and must be implemented in accordance with the approved plan. The approved plan has a strong legal binding effect. From the establishment of projects, the determination of scale, to project construction management, investment reimbursement, water price and water fee collection, etc., in accordance with the law. Generally, there is a corresponding bill for the construction of a project. Effective legislation and strict law enforcement are important guarantees for the success of water conservancy project construction management. The complex social and environmental issues involved in cross-state and inter-provincial water conservancy projects are coordinated by the federal government. For example, the Brooklyn River water diversion irrigation project in the western United States involves more than seven states and Mexico's international water diversion problem. The Delaware River diversion project in the eastern part of New York City involves water distribution in three states and has high courts. Judgment of the water allocation plan, and the relevant bill to resolve disputes.


The US irrigation management regulation system consists of laws, regulations, systems, and regulations formulated by the federal government, state governments, and local governments. Including the production, circulation, distribution, supply and protection of irrigation water, covering the whole process of construction, operation and management of water supply projects.
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