Smarter Irrigation Returns Water to Arizona’s Verde River


What do you get when 21st century “smart” technology hooks up with a 19th century irrigation ditch? The short answer: more water-wise farming and a healthier river.That’s the story of this innovative project on the Verde River in central Arizona, where forward-thinking farmers joined up with the Nature Conservancy and installed a solar-powered “smart” gate and water-level sensor on their 150-year old irrigation ditch.  The automated gate allows the irrigators to take just the amount of water they need for their crops, and leave the rest for the river.

Now, instead of drying up for miles during the irrigation season, the Verde keeps flowing—supporting not only local farms, but fish, river otters, birds, anglers, boaters, and those who just want to appreciate a healthy river.

And as Verde Valley farmer and “ditch boss” Frank Geminden explains in this video, he can monitor the system from his cell phone.   No more late-night runs to the ditch.

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