Saving Water: Huntington/Cleveland project rolls forward
|This trackhoe digs the trench for the large irrigation pipes for the Huntington/Cleveland irrigation project.|
The Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation Company is moving along in their project to conserve the water of Emery County. The construction of pipelines for the new pressurized irrigation system coming to the north end of the county began this summer and is continuing throughout the winter months. The winter is the prime time for the installation of the irrigation pipes as it is the off season for farmers. This project is 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.
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. Ward 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 water will move along these huge pipes which are now going in underground in the Cleveland area.|
The project will serve as an economic boom for Emery County. The construction is being completed by Nielson Construction. Other work will be 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.
PacifiCorp is a large shareholder in HCIC and has proved willing to help fund the project because of the expected water efficiency.
Ward 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. Ward 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.
Pipe is being installed on both projects the Elmo and Huntington phase. Huntington North will provide the water to the Huntington lateral. A regulating pond somewhere near the Cleveland secondary pond will supply the water to the Elmo lateral. Some of the on farm projects have been completed and work will continue through the winter months.