Focusing on Our Agriculture’s Resource

By Thad Plumley

I remember when I told my parents 16 years ago about accepting my position at the National Ground Water Association.

As I showed them a copy of Water Well Journal, my dad recalled being a child and watching a bucket rig drill a well on his grandfather’s farm he worked every summer. My mom remarked about the well at the tobacco farm she grew up on.

They might have raised me in a Midwestern city, but as you can see, my roots are firmly in farm country. Perhaps that’s why I’ve looked forward all year to putting together this first issue of WWJ focusing on irrigation.

Irrigated agriculture accounts for 65% of our nation’s 76 billion gallons of groundwater pumped every day. That water aids the 121,000 farms using 476,000 irrigation wells.

When you look at those numbers you have to wonder, “Why did it take you 16 years to do an issue on irrigation, Thad?”

All I can say is that’s a good question, but I think this issue makes up for the wait.

Please read Jennifer Strawn’s “Irrigation Roundtable” as she caught up with four groundwater professionals who work with our nation’s irrigators and discussed the issues they view as critical today. It’s topical and informative.

If you have agricultural customers, you must check out the latest Irrigating Our Future column by Mike Allen. It details making sure you select the right pump for your irrigation customers. Also don’t miss the feature story “Department of Energy Introduces New Motor Efficiency Regulations” as it contains important information too.

Fortunately, learning about irrigation and agriculture doesn’t have to stop when you reach the end of the issue. Head to NGWA’s website to browse its Helping Agriculture page at Agriculture.aspx.

The link provides five steps that can enhance water efficiency to help sustain groundwater resources and meet our nation’s agricultural needs. The page was shared on social media immediately after it was created in March and quickly reached thousands of people. It was exciting to see the number of reactions, whether it was like or a share, increase in the immediate days after the posting.

The learning can continue later this year too. NGWA will be in Las Vegas once again this December for Groundwater Week, the biggest event in the groundwater industry.

Formerly known as the Groundwater Expo and Annual Meeting, NGWA is collocating with the Irrigation Association so attendees will be able to go into the exhibit halls for both NGWA and IA. For professionals working with irrigators, being in Las Vegas, December 6-8, is an absolute must.

I’m sure I’ll come home with several article ideas—ones I won’t wait 16 years to share.

Thad PlumleyThad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at and on Twitter @WaterWellJournl.