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Front Page » July 19, 2005 » Local News » Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation accepts new $64 million i...
Published 4,238 days ago

Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation accepts new $64 million irrigation project

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Staff Writer

HCIC shareholders vote to approve

The pressurized irrigation system will result in water savings at reservoirs like Cleveland and others in the Huntington/Cleveland irrigation system.

On July 9, Huntington Cleveland Irrigation Company shareholders voted to accept agreements with several agencies and proceed with installation of a pressurized irrigation system. HCIC includes shareholders from Lawrence, Cleveland, Elmo and Huntington. The board of directors for HCIC represents 600 members, and have been working on this project for several years.

The main driving force behind the project is salinity control in the Colorado River. It is estimated that with the installation of pressurized irrigation, the amount of salt introduced into the Colorado River will be reduced by 70,000 tons annually. This project will be known as the Huntington Cleveland Irrigation Company Salinity Control Project.

Historically, water to irrigate crops in the valley was delivered from the reservoirs, through series of canals, and into the fields. The system has worked, although inefficiently, for many years. This new pressurized irrigation system will make delivery and application of water more efficient. Other irrigation companies in the area have converted to pressurized systems, including Ferron, Price and parts of Miller Creek. The most noticeable benefit from these systems is the more efficient use of existing water.

During drought years, the system is expected to better utilize the available water for irrigators to use on their fields. The pressurized system will significantly reduce conveyance losses, the amount of water lost due to absorption in the canal system. Another benefit from the changeover will be increased crop yield, due to the better and more efficient placement of the water.

Craig Smith, water attorney, Dennis Ward and Eugene Winder, count votes at the meeting to consider entering into the agreements. The final vote count was 80 percent of the shares were voted, and 93 percent were in favor of accepting the agreements.

Ted Curtis, HCIC board member, stated, "This project is expected to cost $64 million dollars over the next 5-10 years. Bids will be let out soon for the construction phase of the project. HCIC has hired JUB Engineering to act as the project engineer. Our target date to begin construction of the project is Spring of 2006."

Several agencies and businesses are involved with the funding or organization of the salinity control project. They are: the Utah State Office of Water Resources, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Water Conservancy District, Colorado River Salinity Forum, HCIC shareholders, PacifiCorp, and the Utah State Engineer's Office. The NRCS, the BOR, PacifiCorp, and the HCIC are funding the $64 million dollar project.

"There are still a lot a details to work out and some obstacles to overcome. This project has the potential to impact HCIC shareholders more than anything since the construction of the reservoirs and the canal system. We are literally building a new infrastructure. We also anticipate that this project will have long and short term economic impact on the area," said Curtis. "Everyone involved with this project has put in a lot of hours, and much hard work. I really appreciate everyone's involvement, including the board of directors, for the time and effort put into this project."

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