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Front Page » February 19, 2008 » Local News » Huntington/Cleveland updates salinity project
Published 3,295 days ago

Huntington/Cleveland updates salinity project

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Staff writer

Huntington Cleveland Irrigation Company recently held its annual meeting which included an update concerning the $47.8 million salinity project which is now underway. Larry Perkins and Ross Wilson from JUB Engineering are the engineers working on the project. Perkins presented a power point presentation to explain some of the questions regarding the progress of the project.

"We've been slow in starting this salinity project and some have been hurt by that. I know it has cost some of you. It has become apparent due to the size of this project that many state and federal people have become involved and are now making decisions," Perkins said.

"The project has slowed with all the policies and procedures now in place. This project has changed projects that will take place in the future. As for the local people in the agencies involved, they have been good all along. But, the other agencies have put a slow down on some things such as funding.

"As for PacifiCorp, from the start they have been a great supporter of this project. They have helped a lot. The board of HCIC have handled this project with intelligence and good judgment. They have made some difficult decisions," added Perkins.

Perkins stated this power point presentation would answer many of the questions the members of HCIC have. He began with a review of the project. The project consists of three ponds. The Upper pond and Snowball pond are in the construction phase. Huntington North reservoir is the third body of water in the project.

The Huntington pond and the lower Elmo pond, which will also undergo construction, will act as the pressure stabilization outlets for the new sprinkling system. There will be pipelines constructed which will run from all ponds to the individual connections and meters at the farms in the system.

The construction phases of this project will be as follows: phase 1-areas north, south and east of Elmo; areas southeast of Huntington; Lawrence and Buffalo areas; Snowball pond; and lower Elmo pressure regulating station. Phase 2-area west of Elmo; area north of Cleveland; transmission pipeline to Upper pond; and Upper pond. Phase 3 will consist of construction of the balance of the main feeder lines, the lines that will deliver water to the areas in phase 4 as they are funded, and the Huntington pressure regulation station. Phase 4 will be the balance of the delivery pipelines to the areas north of Huntington, the Cleveland area, and the area south and west of Huntington.

Phase 1 has not been completed due to funding complications. The main feeder lines are complete and the delivery lines to all farms with sprinkling systems in place are scheduled to be completed by May. The balance of phase 1 will be completed as funding approval comes in from the NRCS.

The total number of water uses involved with phase 1 is 125. Those who have applied for and received NRCS contracts number 92. That leaves 33 remaining water users in phase 1.

Work on phase 2 of the project has begun with construction on the main feeder line progressing. The engineers are investigating property for the Upper pond. Design for that pond will begin when a site is selected. Phase 2 is scheduled to be complete and serve all farms with sprinkling systems in place by May of 2009. The construction of phases 3 and 4 will be completed as funding is approved.

One of the most asked question is "Will I have water for my sprinkler system this summer? Delivery lines are expected to be completed to all farms with sprinkling systems in place by May. The construction company, Nielson Construction, has been adding extra crews and are working as weather permits to meet the May date.

Will there be enough money to finish the project or will we have to borrow? If NRCS funding continues the way it is with phase 1, there will be sufficient funding to complete the project. Perkins said borrowing money will only be necessary if the decision is made to construct a large reservoir at the Johnny Jensen site.

What if I do not connect now? A stub out valve will be provided for shareholders who have no NRCS contract and no sprinkling system. Water will be delivered in the canal until they apply and get NRCS funding. The meter and delivery lines to the farm must then be included by the applicant for NRCS funding.

What if I don't plan to ever connect? If a shareholder says he is never going to sprinkle, HCIC will arrange delivery of his water for flood irrigation. Water will be delivered at a sprinkler system rate of flow. If he decides to sprinkle, he will pay the 25 percent NRCS match and he will reimburse HCIC for the additional money that was paid to provide for flood irrigation out of the pressure system.

When will the canals be taken out of service? It depends on the water users. Everyone served by a particular canal must be connected to the pressure system before water can be taken out of that section of canal. The engineers best guess is: North ditch below Huntington North reservoir-spring 2009; Cleveland canal below Elmo City pond-spring 2010; Huntington canal below Lawrence South pond-too soon to tell; laterals and ditches-waters users on that lateral or ditch will decide. There are canals that will remain in service during the irrigation season. These are only estimates, not exact dates.

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