Valley program focused on challenges, opportunities of modernizing irrigation systems

Lower Rio Grande Valley irrigation district managers and board members were provided with a bus tour July 15 highlighting the past and present of irrigation in the Valley. The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) along with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) co-hosted the tour.

The tour began at the Casa De Palmas Hotel in McAllen with stops at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum, the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco and the Rio Grande Center for Ag Water Efficiency.

Dr. Lucas Gregory, TWRI senior research scientist, said the intent of this program was to provide a complete view of irrigation in the Valley and describe how the irrigation network was developed historically and how it affects irrigation district operations today. An overview of legislation that has shaped irrigation was provided along with a discussion on challenges that irrigation districts currently face.

The tour concluded with a visit to the Rio Grande Center for Ag Water Efficiency located in the Harlingen Irrigation District, Cameron County #1. This center highlights modern technologies used in irrigation districts across the valley and provides an opportunity for district personnel to receive hands-on training on multiple types of equipment commonly employed.

This event was part of TWRI’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Irrigation Education and Outreach project, funded by TWDB through an Agricultural Water Conservation Grant to AgriLife Extension.

The project promotes water conservation strategies among growers and irrigation district boards and managers. It also promotes the benefits and advantages of water conservation and water use efficiency of various on-farm irrigation and irrigation district water management practices, especially when compared to conventional practices.



Lucas Gregory, Ph.D., currently serves as associate director of research – physical sciences.

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