Tag Archives: Irrigation

The long wait is over, irrigators in the Goshen and Gering Ft. Laramie Irrigation Districts will have water return to the Ft. Laramie Canal on Wednesday (Aug. 28) evening.

The temporary fix is in place at the number 2 tunnel. The number 1 tunnel, about six miles upstream, also had repair work. 

“Well, we had a couple of spots where the concrete had popped out or chafed out,” said Rick Preston district manager of the Gering Ft. Laramie Irrigation District. “It wasn’t anything real major, and then in the ceiling, there was a piece of concrete hanging down about an inch or so from the rest of the concrete.”

The Bureau of Reclamation had the irrigation districts put some shoring in the ceiling area. So, it wouldn’t become a problem for the rest of the season.

The irrigation districts also did some cleanup work, removing dirt in the canal where the contractors had piled it while working. The irrigation districts hauled the dirt out of the canal, and the bank reshaped to handle the water.

The water will begin to refill the canal on Wednesday night with the temporary fix in place. 

“The water deliveries will be scaled back depending on demand, and we can’t deliver 100 percent with the temporary fix,” Preston said.

He added it’s likely they will only be able to get about 80 percent of what everyone is entitled to in water deliveries.

The Bureau is considering extending the irrigation season, but nothing will be known for another 10 or 12 days on whether than can make an extension or weather allows for it.

Both the Goshen and Gering Ft.-Laramie Irrigation Districts will be working on a permanent fix for the canal. A final repair is still on the table with a few options, with a decision a couple of weeks off.

Lincoln, NE – Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), along with Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), wrote to the Secretary of Agriculture, seeking crop insurance protection for producers hurt by the collapse of the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation canal tunnel.

“On behalf of the producers in Wyoming and Nebraska,” wrote the lawmakers, “we request USDA Risk Management Agency evaluate available reports and make a prompt determination to qualify these extraordinary circumstances as an insurable event resulting from adverse weather conditions and failure of the irrigation water supply for purposes of crop insurance coverage.”

Before the collapse, the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation canal tunnel transported water to more than 100,000 acres of land in Western Nebraska and Wyoming. The canal was built in 1910.

The letter to Secretary Perdue is available here and found below.

Dear Secretary Perdue:

We write requesting the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency review the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Nebraska and Wyoming irrigation tunnel collapse and determine this irrigation disruption to be an insurable event qualifying for crop insurance protection. It is our understanding the lack of irrigation supply is an insurable event within the rules and regulations of the Risk Management Agency. We request you make an expedited determination based on the ongoing lack of adequate water supply and its damaging effects on crop growth and maturity.

As you know, on July 17, 2019, a 2,200 foot long tunnel partially collapsed along the Fort Laramie Canal. This tunnel and canal system carries water served by the Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming to the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska. The water disruption has affected approximately 107,000 acres of corn, sugar beets, dry edible beans and alfalfa crops grown in the region.

This region relies on the availability of surface water irrigation. Since July 17, the canal has been inoperable and no water for irrigation of the agriculture acres has been available. Farmers in this region continue to care for their crops, but the lack of irrigation water and adequate supplemental rainfall has taken a serious toll on the planted areas, crop yields and crop quality. As farmers are moving toward harvest, it would be beneficial to know their crop insurance will cover crop losses that resulted from the lack of adequate water supply.

On behalf of the producers in Wyoming and Nebraska, we request USDA Risk Management Agency evaluate available reports and make a prompt determination to qualify these extraordinary circumstances as an insurable event resulting from adverse weather conditions and failure of the irrigation water supply for purposes of crop insurance coverage.

Thank you for your attention to this manner.

Sincerely,
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY)

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Kansas State University is partnering with the Kansas Water Office and farmers across a swath of western Kansas to host eight Water Technology Field Days in August and September. The events are designed to show agricultural producers and others how the newest crop irrigation research and technology is being applied in real-life situations on private farms.

The dates, locations and times are:

  • Aug. 8 – Tribune – Homeland Farm – 5 p.m.
  • Aug. 9 – Hesston – Jacob, Weber and R&E Goering farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 20 – Scott City – Circle C and Long farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 23 – Larned – WaterPACK & ILS Farm – 10:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 4 – Goodland – NW Kansas Tech College Farms – 9:30 a.m. (multiple events)
  • Sept. 5 – Garden City – The GCC-Roth Family, T&O and Harshberger farms – 10:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 5 – Liberal – Hatcher Land & Cattle Farm – 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 10 – Troy – Loess Hills Water Quality Farm – 9 a.m.

The KWO provides financial assistance to K-State’s efforts to give technical support for some of the technology demonstration farms.

“K-State Research and Extension is committed to developing and promoting new irrigation technologies that will be environmentally and economically efficient while conserving and protecting limited water resources,” said Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “The K-State Research and Extension services conducted at these Water Technology Farms significantly advances the knowledge of the most efficient water management technology and practices.”

Some of the technologies that these Water Technology Farms have are replicated in small plots at the Southwest Research-Extension Center in Garden City.

“We are excited to work with the producers on these farms because we could validate the results in our research plots to the production scale and conditions of actual farms,” said Jonathan Aguilar, K-State associate professor and water resource engineer located in Garden City.

He leads the monitoring activities of six water technology farms within the Ogallala Aquifer region.

“We hope farmers can see better options in managing their water as their peers test new – and even not so new – irrigation technologies,” he said.

More information on other collaborators and details on the field days is available online or by contacting Armando Zarco, KWO water resource planner, at 620-765-7485.

A pair of K-State Research and Extension western stations that are conducting irrigation research are also hosting field days this month: