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.