Water district gives 100 percent allocation for Joe's Valley
Water is a precious commodity in this desert country of Emery County. The Emery Water Conservancy met in their regular meeting to discuss water and projects the district is involved in this spring.
Manager Jay Mark Humphrey said work was completed on removing a log jam in the Left Hand Fork of the Huntington River. The jam was causing the river to leave its channel creating a new one. There was a lot of debris and sediment causing the blockage. Nielson Construction cleaned the south sediment basins of the Huntington Cleveland Irrigation System. The material has not been hauled off but is stored on both ends of the basins. This work was $10,000. The Cleveland diversion was also cleaned and sediment was cleaned from there for three days and stored on Joe Ivie's property. No bill has been received yet on the Left Fork log jam, but 183 dump truck loads of debris were hauled from there. There has been no additional money into the district to help with these cleanup efforts. The money is coming from property taxes and user fees. Commissioner Nelson said the county is still begging for funds for cleanup and restoration projects due to the fire. Huntington City is also looking for money to clean under the bridges along SR-31 and SR-10. The city has $100,000 of its own money to get started on cleanup.
The board commented that fuel overload is very prevalent in other places besides Huntington Canyon including Joe's Valley and Ferron Mountain and fire danger will be high there this summer. The governor is forming a task force to deal with catastrophic fire and some representatives from Emery County will hopefully be included on the committee.
Commissioner James Nelson reported the legislature committed $800,000 to the county for work on restoration to Huntington Creek to build debris basins. One trouble is the money will not come into the county until July after any spring runoff, but before the monsoon season in August.
The district cleaned the log jam on the Richard Jensen property on Huntington Creek. The cleanup cost the district $30,000 and will cost the county $10,000-$15,000. The project looks good and XTO was very cooperative with the use of their right of way through their property. There was debris four-five feet thick. Sherrel Ward mentioned there was a presentation by the forest service at the water users conference in St. George, pertaining to the Seeley Fire and Huntington Creek, but it was mainly about the fish kill in Huntington Creek and San Rafael River. Ward mentioned at the conference there were a number of other concerns regarding the fire, including grazers and water users.
Humphrey reported Joe's Valley is half full. The power company has been using their water from Millsite and Millsite is very low. "We've kept water flows from Joe's Valley to a minimum this winter," said Humphrey. The new Adobe Wash reservoir is filling. They don't want Adobe Wash to spill.
"It's a tough year, but we must attempt to set the allocations. There is 34,569 acre feet in Joe's Valley. Of that, 7,320 acre feet belongs to the power company and 7,800 acre feet is dead space that must remain in the reservoir. For a full allocation we need 24,950 acre feet. Which would leave 12,000 acre feet of usable storage water if the 2013 spring runoff forecast is correct for the 2014 irrigation season," said Humphrey.
The boat ramps will be out of the water again this year. Two back to back drought years are taking a toll on the storage supplies. A good water year will be needed next winter to replenish water supplies. The board voted to give 100 percent of the 2013 project water allocation to the water users.
Adobe Wash can store 1,300 acre feet of water, but will be kept right around 1,100. Commissioner Nelson said other smaller reservoirs like Adobe Wash need to be built, like near Ferron, if Millsite ever spills that water can be captured.
Cottonwood Irrigation has an agreement with Bureau of Reclamation for 2,100 acre feet to be released down the San Rafael for the environmental reasons. The irrigation company will receive a check for $6.4 million to help with their irrigation project in exchange for this water.
The water for Desert Lake also needs to be examined to develop an efficient way to deliver water there now that Huntington Cleveland Irrigation has installed their pressurized irrigation system.
On the Muddy Creek there is a little block of money left that will be used to cover the intake pipe at the settling basin. This will be installed in the next week or two.
The board went over the agreement with Huntington-Cleveland Irrigation for the district to perform maintenance and repair work on the new irrigation system. The district has similar agreements with the other irrigation companies in the county.
Lee McElprang said there is much to be learned from the irrigation companies that already have their sprinkling systems in place. He hopes there are problems that Huntington-Cleveland can avoid by using their expertise.
The district will have someone available at all times for repair work.
Craig Johansen said it makes sense to have someone who is familiar with all the systems and is trained to do repairs. It works for the companies to pool their resources to have someone available.
Humphrey said an incident occurred that day where a line was broken near Orangeville and was repaired and back in service within three hours.
Huntington-Cleveland has replaced 40 broken air vacs in the last three weeks. They have also had some troubles with the pipe at Snowball pond.
The board approved the agreement with Huntington-Cleveland Irrigation for repair and maintenance work on their system.
The companies are learning from experience what works and what doesn't.
Commissioner Nelson said it was brought up in commission meeting about fish in Adobe Wash. Craig Johansen said when they first met about Adobe Wash more that two years ago they talked to the DWR and asked if they would like to put some money into the reservoir, but they declined at that time. It's a private reservoir, so he doesn't see fish stocking happening, but if the county or DWR wanted to put up some money, then they would consider it. No public money has gone into this reservoir.
Roger Barton said he met with Commissioner Blackham from the department of agriculture and there is talk of reclassification of the water in Utah. For example Ferron Creek is used for agriculture, but there is also a state park there, so the water classification would be recreation which is considered a higher use. He will find out more about this and present information at a later meeting.