The North Platte Natural Resources District board of directors on Aug. 8, acted unanimously to provide more than $30,000 in financial relief to the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District (GFLID) for repairs to the Ft. Laramie Canal.
The canal suffered a tunnel collapse and canal bank damage on Wednesday, July 17, in Goshen County, Wyo. Irrigation to more 100,000 acres has been disrupted in both Goshen County and Scotts Bluff County.
The Scotts Bluff County irrigators are part of the NPNRD’s constituents, just as they are the GFLID’s patrons.
“Our board wanted to do something to help them get their water deliveries sooner,” said John Berge, general manager of the NPNRD. “That’s the first goal, the second is, the longer the water stays out of the canal, we lose return flows that count towards our depletions and our obligations under the integrated management plan.”
The Gering drain collects the irrigation water and sends it onto the North Platte River. The flow compared to last year at this time has decreased considerably.
“When there is no irrigation, there are no return flows to the drain and ultimately back to the river,” Berge said.
The NPNRD is using mitigation dollars. It has budgeted for disasters over the past four years. The board did something similar a few years back when Brown’s Canyon irrigation drain was discovered to be disintegrating. Without repairs, it could have disrupted water deliveries to 26,000 acres in Mitchell and Gering.
The NPRD Board agreed to a direct contribution of $25,000 and agreed to provide 100 percent of sponsorship receipts for their 2nd Annual Water Expo to the GFLID, which could be around $10,000.
The Water Expo will be held Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the NPNRD in Scottsbluff. For more information visit www.npnrd.org.