Companies execute Emery pressurized irrigation system construction contract
|Wayne Nielson, Sherrel Ward and Kay Jensen sign the contract to install a presurized irrigation system in northern Emery County. The Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation Company and Nielson Construction representatives executed the contract for Emery County's irrigation system project on April 25.|
Water is a source of concern for residents living in Emery County.
Huntington/Cleveland Irrigation Company took a step toward water conservation April 25 with the signing of a contract between Nielson Construction and HCIC for the construction of pipelines for a pressurized irrigation system coming into the north end of the county.
Ferron and Lawrence have similar systems and the water savings allow farmers to irrigate longer and bring more fields into production.
"It's been a long hard road, but construction is about to begin," said Dennis Ward, HCIC president
HCIC applied for federal funding for the project about two years ago. The funding is available as part of the Colorado River salinity project.
Switching from flood irrigation to sprinklers is an effective way to reduce salinity.
Water has been delivered from Huntington River and Cottonwood Creek through miles of canals, laterals and ditches.
The water will now primarily be delivered in pipelines which conserves water normally lost in evaporation and seepage.
Some major canals will remain in service because of the cost involved in replacing them, but all smaller canals, laterals and ditches will be replaced.
All farmers on the system will be able to receive water under pressure, which will enable them to install and use irrigation sprinklers.
"The benefits for the farmers will be many. They will increase the crop production of their land, water losses will be reduced and in many cases eliminated. Run-off from fields will also be eliminated.
The Ferron project has 100 percent participation and we are hoping for the same," pointed out Sherrel Ward, HCIC vice president.
The project will take several years to complete because of the size of the venture, explained Ward.
Phases will be completed as money becomes available from the funding sources.
The first phase will be the Elmo area and southeast Huntington.
The project will serve as an economic boom for Emery County.
In addition to the construction by Nielson's there will be other work awarded in the future.
Work will include the construction of several pressurized regulating ponds, diversion structures and sediment removal facilities.
The total project is estimated to be $64 million. About $48 million will be used for the off farm systems, these systems deliver the water from the river to the farms.
The sprinkling systems for the on farm portions is estimated at $16 million.
Funding for the off farm work comes from the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service and PacifiCorp.
NRCS will also participate in the cost of the on farm sprinkling systems with the balance being paid by the farmer.
PacifiCorp is a large shareholder in HCIC and has proved willing to help fund the project because of the expected water efficiency.
"PacifiCorp, the NRCS and the reclamation representatives have all been very helpful in getting the project funded and approved. We couldn't have done it without their support," said Ward.
Producers have the option of using flood irrigation after the water reaches farms. But the water will be delivered by pipeline. Pipelines have been sized and the system designed for sprinkler irrigation, indicated Ward.
Sprinkler irrigation uses smaller amounts of water during longer periods of time. The flow will be smaller and flood irrigation will take longer.
Wayne Greenhalgh is the district conservationist for the NRCS. Greenhalgh, Russ Willson and Gerald Washington have been actively involved in the project.
Kimball Rasmussen is the project manager from Nielson Construction. The engineering firm is JUB Engineering from Orem with Ross Wilson working on the project.
Rasmussen said Nielsons has been looking for added employees for the project with the start date a couple of weeks away.
"The rights of way are ready and, once we get through the preliminary work, things will just take off from there," said Rasmussen.
Wayne Nielson, president of the construction company, said pipe is expected to be delivered within two weeks.
"This project is a win/win situation for the community and for businesses. The irrigation company has been very cooperative and when we all pool together it helps us all. We expect to hire 20-30 new employees to be involved with this project. We have several applications in and will aggressively begin going through them," said Nielson.
"The cooperation between the entities has been great and with the irrigators, land owners, and the bureau and the NRCS working together the project will hopefully go smoothly and be a success," concluded Ward.