We have reached the halfway point of the 2023 Anderson-Cottonwood irrigation season. The beginning of the season was marked with significant challenges. The District was tasked with filling the position of a new General Manager. High groundwater issues persisted for weeks in certain areas near the main canal. Irrigators experienced delays in the face of a shortage of experienced water operators and numerous infrastructure failures. The Board of Directors took action in order for the District to accomplish the purpose for which it was established: providing water to irrigators.
On June 8th, one month into the irrigation season, with a unanimous vote of confidence from the ACID Board of Directors, Justin Dahl was hired to the position of ACID General Manager. June 26th was Justin’s first day.
Justin has been working in the water world for the last 17 years. He started out as a water operator at the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District. After 14 years of being a water operator, he decided he wanted more out of his career. Justin then joined the GCID management team as a Water Operations Supervisor. He oversaw all water operations, which consisted of running GCID’s 65-mile main canal, along with supervising 20 water operators that delivered water to 800 users. After that Justin became the General Manager of Maxwell Irrigation District, where he oversaw all operations of the District. Maxwell Irrigation District has 7,000 acres of rice and natural ponds. In his new position Justin is looking to improve ACID’s overall infrastructure along with improving service to water users.
During Justin’s first week the canal flow rate was lowered to 70CFS in order to treat the canal with an algaecide. Within 48 hours, Operations Manager, Ben Duncan, was able to increase the flow rate to 290CFS. The treatment was successful in eliminating moss and increasing the flow rate down the main canal.
One of the difficulties the district faced at the start of the season was the high groundwater issues near the main canal. Although the majority of those affected by the high groundwater have experienced a return to normal, there are several individuals who are still impacted. ACID is committed to finding and implementing a long-term solution to this situation. The Board and District Staff are working with engineers to create plans for one or more major maintenance projects to be carried out in high impact areas following the 2023 irrigation season. More information regarding these projects will be released as plans develop and become finalized.
In addition to new plans and developments to improve infrastructure, ACID opened an application process for new water operators. The results were the hiring of four new water operators. These new hires are receiving hands-on training, in the field, during the height of the irrigation season. By prioritizing training during the season, ACID hopes to add some depth of knowledge and familiarize our new water operators with real-time application methods to better serve our customers.
On the communications side, ACID launched its new website July 20, 2023. Check it out at AndersonCottonwoodIrrigationDistrict.org. The District is also purchasing a mass communication system. This system, called Regroup, will be used by District Staff to communicate directly to water users and landowners. The objective is to improve the customer experience by keeping users up to date with reliable, real-time information regarding water rotations, maintenance activities, and other useful information. Reagan Dahle, son of State Senator Brain Dahle and Assemblywoman Megan Dahle, is serving ACID as a summer intern and he is leading this communication effort.
Looking towards the immediate future, ACID is working hard to train the new water operators, implement the new mass communications system, and prepare for major canal work to be done following the conclusion of the 2023 irrigation season.
If you have questions about any of the above, or other ACID issues, please feel free to contact us through the District Office. The Board of Directors and District Staff believe success and improvement is dependent on teamwork and collaboration, we continue to rely on the good faith of our neighbors and customers to help us in providing a service to our community. The work is underway, and we look forward to our next update.
Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District Staff