Water has returned to the Goshen Irrigation District canal that was breached in mid-July, leaving more than 100,000 acres of land without water.
The Goshen Irrigation District began running water down the Fort Laramie Irrigation Canal, which serves farmers in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.
A 100-year-old tunnel on the canal collapsed on July 17, backing up water behind the collapse and causing a breach in the canal.
Crews worked for more than a month to repair the tunnel and canal before releasing water the canal on Aug. 28. Since then, the irrigation district has been slowly increasing flows through the canal, said Manager Rob Posten.
“We have just been bumping it up slow and taking it easy and trying to monitor thing and trying not to do something stupid and wash out what we got done,” he said.
Repair costs are estimated at around $4 million and Posten said there is some thought being give to making more extensive repairs to the tunnels and canals at a cost of up to $10 million.
As reported by Cowboy State Daily, in August the U.S. Department of Agriculture affirmed that farmers who had purchased insurance against crop damage would be able to seek some compensation for damages caused by the canal’s breach.
But Cactus Covello of Points West Community Bank said not all the farmers will be fully compensated for losses to their bean, sugar beet, corn and hay crops.
“There’s going to be a monetary damage to all those farmers that count on those crops to make their payments and for their livelihood,” he said.