Planning for the Next 100 Years of Water Delivery

Greenfields Irrigation District

Erling Juel’s vision for modernization in Montana’s massive Greenfields Irrigation District.

FCA’s Irrigation Modernization Program team has been working with the Greenfields Irrigation District(GID) in central Montana to assess funding potential for the district’s aging irrigation infrastructure.

As part of the Sun River watershed, the Greenfields Irrigation District extends from the mountainous eastern edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the fertile agricultural plains known for producing barley for Annheiser-Busch. The District provides water to 93,000 acres of farmland. Modernizing the District’s aging canal and storage system would save water for farmers and the Sun River and address water quality issues in Muddy Creek. Because of the district’s topographic relief, modernization could be funded in part by the addition of in-conduit hydropower.


District Manager Erling Juel is a civil engineer by trade who ran a national civil engineering firm before joining the GID team in 2015. Juel’s private sector background spearheading large-scale infrastructure projects translates well to his Irrigation District role. He has implemented creative and cost-effective ways to procure equipment and implement large-scale projects. For instance, when the Keystone Pipeline was canceled, Juel was able to purchase, at a massive discount, miles of transmission line and heavy-duty transmission poles from Canada. Additionally, GID owns large construction equipment such as dump trucks, dozers, and even an industrial crane. With Juel’s civil engineer know-how, a robust staff, and sufficient equipment, the District is poised to do much of the heavy work in-house.

Creative thinking and in-house capabilities means GID is well positioned to tackle some of the major infrastructure needs that could propel the District to a promising future of more reliable water delivery, community energy production, and a healthier Sun River Watershed. We’re proud to partner with Juel and GID to help them find the funding needed to augment their modernization efforts.