Watering system as though People Mattered: Energy Conservation Lessons from Montana

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Water system as though People Mattered: Energy Conservation Lessons from Montana Mike Morris, Ph.D. Vitality Program Project Leader National Center for Appropriate Technology

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About NCAT National non-benefit association, established in 1976. Primary workplaces: Butte, MT, Fayetteville, AR, Davis, CA Programs: Sustainable Agriculture, Energy, Communities

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This discussion will Describe how Montana irrigators utilize vitality. Offer lessons gained from five ways to deal with vitality protection.

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Main Conclusions Irrigation effectiveness is a specialized issue, as well as has inborn human and social measurements. Irrigators welcome vitality protection however typically see it as an optional thought.

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Montana Climate and Crops 10-20" rain and 100-150 ice free days in many zones. Best five yields with money receipts: wheat, grain, sugar beets, roughage, potatoes. Half of inundated real esatate is roughage, ¾ of feed real esatate is hay.

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Irrigation Methods Only 5% of farmland (2 million sections of land) is inundated. Of flooded grounds, just 1/3 is sprinkler-watered. Half of sprinkler-watered grounds under turns. 93% of flooded land inundated by surface water. 92% of water system pumps electric-fueled.

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Water Availability Most irrigators pay nothing for water. Incessant water deficiencies the lead, not the special case. Water law limits open doors for preservation. Casual courses of action, companion weight regularly more critical than lawful requirements.

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Energy Costs Electric rates low by national gauges, yet sharp increments as of late. Normal $14.68 - $23.41 per pump-inundated section of land. NorthWestern Energy 2003-4 water system rates: $8.03 per kW crest request and $.043 per kWh.

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2002 Crop Values for each Acre Potatoes $2,928 Sugar beets $856 Alfalfa hay $315 Corn $296 All roughage $278 Barley $193 Wheat $190 Oats $151

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Average Irrigation Energy Cost as a Percentage of Crop Value Potatoes 0.7% Sugar beets 2.7% Alfalfa hay 7.4% Corn 7.9% All feed 8.4% Barley 12.1% Wheat 12.3% Oats 15.5% "It's the product, inept."

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Labor Cost and Availability Average rotate water system extend cost $67,264, with vitality investment funds of $1,271 every year.

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Five Approaches to Energy Conservation 1. Vitality Audits

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NCAT Experience Over 400 water system vitality reviews since 1988. At present offering no-cost vitality reviews to NorthWestern Energy water system clients. Measure weight, stream rate, electrical power yield; figure pumping plant effectiveness. Client gets report with suggestions, payback, control charge investigation, motivating force offers.

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Most Common Energy-Saving Recommendations from Audits Replace worn spouts Repair releases Correct engine over-burdening issues Rebuild pump or potentially engine Replace pump or potentially engine Correct release issues Correct suction issues

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Lessons Learned Audits are profoundly valued, once in a while urgently required. Work escalated (normal cost $672 per review). Just about portion of members finished prescribed upgrades inside 1 year. Hardware enhancements don't really prompt to vitality funds.

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2. Coordinate Financial Incentives

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NCAT Experience Administering cost-sharing system for NorthWestern Energy water system clients. Most basic client extend recommendations in 2003: Replace hand or wheel lines with turns (15) Replace high-weight rotate w/low-weight (8) Use gravity to diminish strength necessities (3) Replace curiously large or wasteful pumps (2) Install variable recurrence drives (2)

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Lessons Learned Dollar for dollar, coordinate impetuses spare more vitality than reviews. Assessment criteria should be precisely intended for consistency and reasonableness. Working intimately with nearby gear merchants a key to achievement. Gravity change is likely the greatest vitality protection opportunity staying in Montana's water system segment.

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3. Soil Moisture Monitoring

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The M. K. Hansen AM400 Soil Moisture Data Logger

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NCAT has introduced more than 120 soil dampness checking frameworks since 2000.

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Lessons Learned Pivot frameworks offer the best open doors for preservation through enhanced administration. Poor administration is regular, yet net overwatering is less successive than anticipated. Just 3-6 of 43 study fields unmistakably surpassed yearly horse feed water prerequisites. Better water administration ought to be advanced basically as far as product yield and harvest wellbeing.

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4. Instructive Publications In 2003 NCAT reexamined and reproduced the Montana Irrigator's Pocket Guide . NCAT has contracted with NRCS to create a national release.

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5. Joint effort with Local Watershed Groups

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NCAT Experience Working with nearby gatherings in waterway valleys with ceaseless water deficiencies: Big Hole, Blackfoot , Boulder, Jefferson, Ruby, and Shields. Objective is to help every gathering compose and run its own water system proficiency program.

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Lessons Learned Learning in country groups happens by impersonation and informal. Bunches shift broadly. Advance on water system administration is well on the way to originate from privately based tasks that empower irrigators to investigate their own and gain from each other.

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For More Information NCAT: www.ncat.org 1-800-ASK-NCAT National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: www.attra.ncat.org 1-800-346-9140