Sam Bologna was honored for 47 years of service to the South San Joaquin Irrigation District including the design of a pressurized irrigation system that has received global acclaim for its increased water efficiency as well as enhanced crop yield by having the Division 9 reservoir named in his honor.
The naming ceremony took place Thursday during a field day at the state-of-the-art Division 9 project.
Bologna started in general operations at the SSJID where he worked his way up to Engineering Department manager.
Division 9’s 58-acre regulating reservoir was formally named, “Sam Bologna Reservoir,” by the SSJID board. It is located at the west end of Doak Boulevard south and west of Ripon amid almond orchards, an integral part of the new pumping station.
Bologna lauded his wife Judy for her support over the years and never complaining about the late-night calls he received from field managers monitoring the water flow into various farms.
In Engineering, Sam started at the bottom of the ladder first as a Surveying Aid, then Engineering Assistant, Facilities Planner/Right-of Way agent, Engineering Department Supervisor and eventually manager of the Engineering Department, according to Trustee Dale Kuil in a presentation before some 100 in the audience.
“This progression in Sam’s career is a true testament to Sam’s determination and ability to learn and advance professionally,” Kuil added. “During Sam’s tenure at SSJID he was involved in several successful projects including:
Removal of the Hiltz-Sag Flume and replacement with a siphon.
Automation of the main distribution canal resulting in improved operations, efficiencies and reliability of the district’s distribution system.
Construction of the Van Groningen Reservoir on the main canal.
Implementation of the SIDE project modernization enhancements including the Louise Avenue reservoir.
Development and implementation of the district-funded conservation programs that successfully promoted the installation of high efficiency irrigation methods within the district.
Coordination and implementation of flow measurement and volumetric billing to comply with California regulatory requirements.
Coordination and protection of district distribution facilities through the construction of numerous municipal developments.
And, last but not least, Design, project management and construction of the highly-awarded Irrigation Enhancement Project, Division 9 – a project that incorporates state-of-the-art technology and automation in supplying pressurized water service to 3,800 acres of farm land from Mohler Road to South Manteca Road.
Kuil said he never imagined technology in irrigation water delivery to farmers would get to the point where all that was needed to start the irrigation was a cell phone or iPad.
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