Water is now available throughout the district.
This year saw a normal year for startup with few hiccups along the way. The field staff did discover some minor “sluffs” in the main canal which will have to be repaired in the fall after shutdown.
Unlike last year the weather has been more or less seasonal. The long term weather outlook seems to confirm that this year is going to be closer to seasonal averages. However, that being said even at normal weather patterns there are warm days followed by colder days which makes it very difficult for irrigators and us water managers to reliably predict water demand; especially as the crop has such little demand this early in the season.
The result of this uncertainly is sadly that a lot of the water we divert from the rivers runs through the canal system and is diverted back into the river systems, something all of us would like to reduce; one day we will face a low water situation and the volume we send back into the river might mean a difference between a good year and dry year.
However, this year it is looking like we have ample water supply both in the reservoirs and in snow pack with the late spring rainfall still to come.
In order to reduce the amount of water we send back to the river the operations staff undertake a number of strategies. The first is to try to predict short term water demand and where that demand is. By so doing the staff can then change the flows in the main canal by using our storage reservoirs. This is generally the case in the early spring when the warmer conditions are prevalent in the eastern part of the district while it is still cooler in the western sections, which are also somewhat higher altitude.
The other strategy we use is to ask irrigators for timely ordering of water both on and off. We do understand that situations do change and that in some instances there are emergent situations. Generally though if it doesn’t rain we expect that irrigators should have an understanding of what the short term demands for water should be. In the event of a severe rainstorm the field staff generally take rapid action to ensure that none of our infrastructure is damaged by the increased flows in our systems. This means that irrigators should correspond with their water supervisors to ensure that their needs are known to the supervisor who can then ensure that the water is available for the time needed. Remember this is a team effort with each “player” having their own set of responsibilities.