Jun 23, 2017 - From staff reportsBy Wednesday, the Riverton Valley Irrigation District had already spent roughly $580,000 to rebuild its canal system that was severely damaged by record stream flows in the Wind River just two weeks ago.
By the time water flow has returned water users, the district will likely have spent $750,000.
Once all reclamation and protection work is done for the head gate and canal system, the total price tag is expected to be $2.3 million.
The district has still not secured any reimbursement funding for the costs and is still seeking funding assistance through federal agencies, the Wyoming Legislature and the governor's office.
By Thursday morning, contractors Earthworks and Rocky Mountain Logistics had completed work on a new bridge that crosses over the canal on Quartz Drive.
The previous bridge, which was used by tractor-trailers to haul several thousand tons of gravel to the head gate, was destroyed Monday when stream flows rose to 11,970 cubic feet per second on the Wind River.
The new bridge is key to being able to haul material again to build a dike along the river's head gate.
However, crews aren't sure they'll be able to resume work on the dike construction until the weekend since stream flows at Kinnear at expected to stay above 8,000 cfs for at least another day.
As 1,200 cfs of water rushed down canal a week ago, crews began hauling 7,400 tons of gravel in to build a new road toward the head gate and construct a dike to divert water back to the main river channel. That work stopped Sunday night when increased stream flow flooded the work site.
A half mile downstream from the head gate, work from contractor North State Environmental is nearing completion on the 1,250-foot rerouted section of RVID's canal that will bypass the section that was blown out two weeks ago.
The new section was largely completed by Friday.
However, Steve Doyle, who farms on RVID water, said that it's still uncertain when water access will be restored.
"The overarching problem is the inability to control the flow of water in the existing canal," he said. "Until the dike is completed and water flow regulated, the risk of damage remains too high."
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