The IIABC was conceived in February 1978 by participating irrigation dealers, distributors, manufacturers and involved individuals at a three-day seminar in Vernon, B.C. An ad hoc committee consisting of a representative cross-section of the industry was elected and given the mandate to proceed with the establishment of a formal association. On February 9, 1979 the Irrigation Industry Association of B.C. was officially founded with an elected directorate, constitution and by-laws.
Among the founding members were Colin MacKay of Normac Equipment Sales Ltd., the late Ding (Albert) Hafer of C.P.I. Equipment Ltd., John Naka of Valley Water Works and the late Reg Miller, then Director of Specialist Services – B.C. Ministry of Agriculture.
Colin MacKay was elected as the first President of the association and therefore had the onerous task of uniting all facets of the industry with these objectives of the association in mind:
• To foster and promote the interest and welfare of its members and the irrigation industry
• To establish and develop a means for the exchange of information and ideas within the industry
• To establish and promote guidelines, standards and specification for the design and installation of irrigation systems
• To promote and encourage harmony and co-operation between members and others who are directly or indirectly engaged in the industry or other related industries
• To promote and encourage a public appreciation and interest in irrigation and water management
At issue in 1979, during Colin MacKay's leadership was the application of the B.C. government’s Agriculture Land Development Act (ALDA) Loan program which offered farmers reduced loans for irrigation and drainage costs. To encourage farmers to support B.C. dealers rather than American dealers, the association lobbied for a better loan payment system.
In 1986 the IIABC General Specifications for Turf Irrigation Systems was published to provide a standard for its members and provide guidelines for the turf irrigation industry. In 1997, the IIABC revised its standards with a new manual, Standards for Landscape Irrigation Systems.
In the late 1980's, under the initiative of Brad Clarke, International Plastics Ltd., the IIABC Newsletter began circulation. Later "Water Wise" became the association's quarterly information update for members.
In 1988, the IIABC began its Certification Program. The objective of this program is to establish irrigation design standards and criteria throughout the industry and to promote individuals who have achieved a level of competence. The IIABC Program now has eight individual certification categories:
Certified Irrigation Technician - Level 1 (CIT-1)
Certified Irrigation Technician - Level 2 (CIT-2)
Certified Irrigation Scheduler (CIS)
Turf - Residential (CID)
Turf - Commercial (CID)
Agriculture - Sprinkler (CID)
Agriculture - Trickle (CID)
Landscape Drip (CID)
*(IA Certified Auditors are grandfathered into IIABC Certification Listings as CIS certified.)
In early 1997, the IIABC voted in a new Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC) program, which at present, offers qualified member irrigation contractors Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC) status in two categories: Turf - Residential and Turf – Commercial. A CIC Contractor is must fulfill certain requirements set forth by the IIABC and is expected to maintain a high ethical standard by following fair and honest business practices. In addition, CIC Contractors are expected to follow IIABC standards and guidelines promoting water, soil and energy conservation practices through efficient irrigation system design, installation and management. As part of its commitment to the Certified Contractor program, the IIABC has developed a contractor business course directed to the specific needs of the irrigation contractor.
The IIABC is an affiliate member of the Irrigation Association in the U.S.