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Front Page » May 2, 2006 » Local News » Nielson Construction and Huntington/Cleveland irrigation ...
Published 3,946 days ago

Nielson Construction and Huntington/Cleveland irrigation sign contract to begin $64 million sprinkler project

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Staff Writer

Nielson Construction president, Wayne Nielson, Huntington/Cleveland irrigation vice president Sherrel Ward and Kay Jensen, Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation secretary sign the contracts to seal the deal.

Water has always been a source of concern for those living in arid Emery County. The Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation Company took a big step towards water conservation on April 25 with the signing of a contract between Nielson Construction and the HCIC for the construction of pipelines for the new pressurized irrigation system coming to the north end of the county. The largest of its kind in the county to date.

Ferron and Lawrence have similar systems and the farmers are happy with the water savings which allow them to irrigate longer and bring more fields into production.

Dennis Ward, president of the HCIC said, "It's been a long hard road, but construction is about to begin."

HCIC applied for federal funding for the project about two years ago. The funding is available as part of the Colorado River Salinity project which works to reduce salinity in the Colorado River.

Switching from flood irrigation to sprinklers is an effective way to reduce salinity. Water has been delivered from Huntington River and Cottonwood Creek through miles of canals, laterals and ditches. This water will now primarily be delivered in pipelines which conserves water normally lost in evaporation and seepage.

Some major canals will remain in service because of the cost involved in replacing them, but all smaller canals, laterals and ditches will be replaced. All of the farmers on the system will be able to receive their water under pressure, which will enable them to install and use sprinkling systems for irrigating their farmland.

Sherrel Ward, vice president for HCIC said, "The benefits for the farmers will be many. They will increase the crop production of their land, water losses will be reduced and in many cases eliminated. Run-off from fields will be eliminated. The Ferron project has 100 percent participation and we are hoping for the same." Sherrel explained that the project will take several years to complete because of the size of the venture.

Phases will be completed as money becomes available from the funding sources. The first phase will be the Elmo area and southeast Huntington.

The project will serve as an economic boom for Emery County. In addition to the construction by Nielson's there will be other work awarded in the future. Work will include the construction of several pressurized regulating ponds, diversion structures and sediment removal facilities.

The total project is estimated to be $64 million. About $48 million will be used for the off farm systems, these systems deliver the water from the river to the farms. The sprinkling systems for the on farm portions is estimated at $16 million.

Funding for the off farm work comes from the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the United States Natural Resources Conservation Service and from PacifiCorp. NRCS will also participate in the cost of the on farm sprinkling systems with the balance being paid by the farmer.

Kimball Rasmussen from Nielson Construction will be the project manager.

PacifiCorp is a large shareholder in HCIC and has proved willing to help fund the project because of the expected water efficiency.

Sherrel said, "PacifiCorp, the NRCS and the reclamation representatives have all been very helpful in getting the project funded and approved. We couldn't have done it without their support."

Irrigators still have the option of using flood irrigation after the water reaches their farm, but the water will be delivered by pipeline. Sherrel emphasized that pipelines have been sized and the system designed for sprinkler irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation uses smaller amounts of water over longer periods of time. The stream of water will be smaller than in the past and regular flood irrigation will take longer.

Wayne Greenhalgh is the district conservationist for the NRCS and he along with Russ Willson and Gerald Washington have been actively involved in the project.

Kimball Rasmussen is the project manager from Nielson Construction. The engineering firm is JUB Engineering from Orem with Ross Wilson working on the project.

Rasmussen is anxious to begin work on the project and said Nielson's has been looking for added employees for the project. With the start date a couple of weeks away they will be anxiously searching for new employees.

"The right-of-ways are ready and once we get through the preliminary work, things will just take off from there," said Rasmussen.

Wayne Nielson, president of Nielson Construction, is also anxious to begin the project and said pipe is expected to be delivered within two weeks. "This project is a win/win situation for the community and for business. The irrigation company has been very cooperative and when we all pool together it helps us all. We expect to hire 20-30 new employees to be involved with this project. We have several applications in and will aggressively begin going through them," said Nielson.

Sherrel said, "The cooperation between the entities has been great and with the irrigators, land owners, the bureau and the NRCS working together the project will hopefully go smoothly and be a success."

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