Craig Johansen talks about the Cottonwood Creek Irrigation Company.
Clyde Magnuson speaks at the irrigation meeting.
Cottonwood Creek Consolidated Irrigation Company Shareholders Annual Meeting was held in the Old Orangeville Fire House.
President Clyde Magnuson opened the meeting by reading the call to the meeting. One of the purposes of the meeting was to elect board members three from the Mammoth Canal, two from the Clipper and Western Canal, two from the Blue Cut Canal, and one from the Industrial Municipal Users and to conduct any other business that might come before the stockholders at that time.
Those board members elected are as follows: for The Mammoth Clyde Magnuson, Cory Cloward and Craig Johansen, The Blue Cut Scott Johansen, Justus Jorgenson, The Clipper Western Lee Magnuson, Carl Justesen and for the Industrial Municipal Users, Laren Huntsman.
Clyde Magnuson announced that Jessie Johansen has been hired as secretary to the Irrigation Company to replace retiring Stan Mathis. The group thanked Stan Mathis for his many years of service as the CCCIC secretary.
Clyde Magnuson read the minutes from the meeting held Jan. 2013. The minutes and the financial report were approved as read by the membership.
It was noted, in the financial report, that the Irrigation Company sold to the Bureau of Reclamation 200 acre feet of water or a continuous flow of 3 second feet of water in Cottonwood Creek for which the Irrigation Company was paid $6.5 million. This flow of water is to protect an endangered species farther downstream. This will satisfy the needs of the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife on the San Rafael River. That obligation will be met when the pressurized irrigation project is completed. The money received from the Bureau of Reclamation will give the Irrigation Company, along with money on loan from the Water Resources Board, to complete the main lines of the whole system except for the Wilsonville Ditch and the Johnson and Swasey Ditch. Clyde Magnuson said, "This is in anticipation of the water savings, we expect to have from using a pressurized water irrigation system."
Jay Mark Humphrey explained the 3-second feet of water would help maintain better water quality in the Cottonwood Creek and the San Rafael River. The 3-second feet of water flowing in the streams would reduce the salt in the Creek and River caused by the return flow from farms and ranches.
Magnuson reported, the Adobe Wash Reservoir was completed this last spring, and put into operation. The Emery Water Conservancy District is operating that facility for the Cottonwood Creek Irrigation Company. The power company participated in the building of this reservoir and is receiving benefits from this project. This spring the Irrigation Company will have about a 1,000 acre feet of primary water in storage at the Adobe Wash Reservoir we haven't had that before. This is another benefit that will be gained from that facility.
We have secured $14 million. That is enough money to finish installing all of the main lines on our system over the next three years. That money comes from the sale of the water $6.5 million, the salinity funding from the Bureau of $5.5 million. The money borrowed from that Utah Water Resource Board $2.5 million is to be paid back over 25 years. The shareholders assessments will pay off the loan over that period of time.
Craig Johansen stated that when the project is completed. We will be saving about 20,000 acre-feet of water. Some of that water will help us later in the season and will be used to supply the 3-second feet of water flowing in Cottonwood Creek. The sale of water makes it possible for us to complete the remaining phases of the pressurized water irrigation project. The assessment to pay off the loan will be about $3.50 per share per year.
We are currently under construction on the Blue Cut Canal and you have already seen the pipe being fused together and strung out. That contract should be finished by the middle of July. It will probably be a couple of years before all of the users have connected to that pipeline. In the meantime, we will not take the canals out of service. During the next 60 days, we will be out asking for right-of-ways for the Upper Mammoth pipeline. We should be able to bid that out in August and start construction in September or October.
Johansen said, "Every year there is legislation proposed that affects our water rights and this year is no exception. This year there is a controversial bill and it is House Bill 49, sponsored by Kay McIff. McIff represents all of us." The bill is an amendment to the change application process in the water rights legislation. If you as a shareholder wanted to make a change to the diversion point the distribution point or the place of use of your water rights. You would make an application with the state engineer and he would approve or disapprove it.
Right now, those people that have the water rights can make the change and that is the way it ought to be. The irrigation company owns the water rights you are shareholders. This bill will allow the individual shareholder to make application to the state engineer to change the point of diversion, or the nature of use for a particular share. We see this as being very detrimental to the company. Here is an analogy, it is as if we had a brick building and you and I owned all the bricks in the building. Some of you might own 1000 bricks. Some of you might own 2,000 bricks. If one of you wanted to take your bricks out of the building and put it in another building. This law would allow you to do that. We have one shareholder on this river that owns 25 percent of our company. This law would allow that shareholder to take 25 percent of those bricks and put them somewhere else. Not only that those bricks are not all in one place. They are scattered throughout the building. The building would fall down if the bricks are taken out. That is the essence of what this bill will accomplish. It will tie the hands of the irrigation company to approve or disapprove the transfer of water shares outside of our irrigation district. Those shares could go down the Green River. They could go over the mountain to the Wasatch front. If our power company decides they don't want to be in Emery County anymore. Those water shares could go elsewhere under what's being proposed in House Bill 49. This bill could be a real threat to the economy.
They are doing it under the auspices of protecting the property rights of the individual shareholder and they will do it at the expense of the rest of us.
The Clipper Western Canal pipeline is finished and the canal will be kept open until everyone is on the system. There are four farms at this time that are not on the system. These four have not received funding. Once they receive funding the canal will be cut off.
At this time we are at 65 percent snow pack in the mountains and going lower. This year could be worse than last year. The irrigation water delivery in July and August will be reduced if necessary.
Dusty Huntington gave a River Commission report. At this time there is 30,000 acre-feet of water in the Joes Valley Reservoir.
Jay Mark Humphrey stated, in 2012 we had a full reservoir, we ran 7,000 acre-feet of stored water in to it. In 2013 we only stored 8,000 acre feet of water but the reservoir had 47,000 acre feet of water in it. Each year the shareholders got 100 percent of their allocation. We do not have that this year.
We have 30,000 acre-feet of water in the reservoir right now. But the power company has 12,000 acre-feet of that water. We have 7,500 acre-feet of dead storage. That leaves us with 10,000 acre-feet of water. We have 3,000 acre-feet in Huntington North. If we were to deliver water today you would get 48%. The snow pack can change. We are early in the season. We do have the weather modification equipment working. But we haven't had a lot of clouds so far this year to seed. The river forecast is that we are going to have about 85 percent of stream runoff. That will not fill the reservoir. The project water allocation will be set by the Emery Water Conservancy Board the first of April. Plan on not having 100 percent of water this year. We took a two-year reservoir and spread it out to three. I think we did a good job.
Magnuson said The Weed and Mosquito Board did receive some money to combat Russian olive trees on Muddy Creek, Ferron Creek, Cottonwood Creek and Huntington Creek. This will be an on going thing.
Those that have land on the river you may want to look into that to see what you can do in a cost share to treat your Russian Olives.
Lowell Gardner representing the NRCS reported they were still working on contracts for funding on farm irrigation systems. Applications made today will be for 2015 dollars. Salinity abatement funds are also still available.