Bitter Root Irrigation District hopes to start filling Big Ditch on Sunday | Local News

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While the Irrigation District plans to carefully fill the ditch, Crowley said it shouldn’t take as long for the water to pass from one end of the valley to the other as it did when the water was released at the start of the irrigation season. .

“We’ve been on since April 26 and this rain has soaked us up,” Crowley said. “The water should slide through the ditch a little faster this time around. It was a fun start this spring. We think a lot of the water went right into the ground. It seemed like it was taking longer to complete.

A former irrigation district manager told Crowley that the Big Ditch is rated as 45% efficient, which means that 55% of the water released from the reservoir or diverted from tributaries ends up in the aquifer on which the owners of the valley count for domestic water.

The moat was built 110 years ago. Although some infrastructure has been replaced, there is still much – like the recently ruptured pipe – that is original material.

State and federal government officials came to examine the recent damage, Crowley said. There had been some discussion of the possibility of using some of the federal COVID money allocated to improving infrastructure, but the funding requires a 50/50 match and the question arises as to whether the irrigation structures are classified. as infrastructure.

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