Repair of last summer's collapse inside a quarter-mile-long irrigation tunnel beneath Cory Grade is turning out to be, as predicted, a big job.
The North Delta Irrigation Company owns a canal and tunnel that provide irrigation water from the Gunnison River to some 2,000 acres of local farm land.
Last year as the damage was still being assessed, North Delta Irrigation Company president Ken Nelson told the DCI that it would take more than a small bandage to repair the tunnel, "This is going to cost," he said.
The company has since approached the Gunnison Basin Water Roundtable and the Glenwood Springs-based Colorado River Water Conservation District (commonly known as "The River District") about possible funding assistance.
Lynn French of Crawford said the company is hopeful that funding assistance in the form of a grant/loan package will be approved in time for work to begin this spring and, hopefully, completed by June 1.
"At their annual meeting, the members of the company voted almost unanimously to increase their assessments to pay the loan portion," French said. "We have gotten very positive feedback from the state staff," he added
Tom Alvey, Delta County's representative on The River District's board of directors, reported to the county commissioners on Monday, March 5, that cost estimates for reopening and shoring up the collapsed tunnel section ranged from $1.6 million to $2.35 million. French said the company is hopeful its application will be approved by the state at a scheduled March 20 meeting.
The section of tunnel under Cory Bench has by all assessments served its useful life. French explained the engineering solution chosen will replace the tunnel section with a 54-inch-diameter heavy polymer-resin pipe reinforced with extensive concrete grouting that will run through the entire tunnel section.
Last summer's collapse created a true emergency that has been met with cooperation and a lot of hard work to put the proposed solution in place now, French explained.
A number of solutions were proposed and discussed, but the new pipeline is expected to work best well into the future. It will serve as the beginning of planned long-range system improvements that will pipe the company's water from 2100 Road to Highway 65, and then beyond.
In spite of the high cost of repairs, Alvey noted that the North Delta system is vitally important and "would be a significant loss to the area."
North Delta Irrigation Company was able to draw supply from a junior decree on Tongue Creek last year when abundant water was available. French credited the City of Delta for helping with that contingency.
The section of the North Delta Canal tunnel collapsed from the sides about 400 feet in from the west portal last summer. The new pipe will extend through the tunnel and beyond both portals.
The tunnel is about five feet high and runs some 80 feet or more beneath the surface of Cory Bench. The new pipeline will have capacity to carry the company's entire decreed entitlement, French explained. The tunnel had been in service since 1901.
The North Delta Irrigation system takes water out of the Gunnison River near Austin. From there, the 23-mile-long canal/tunnel system carries water for 174 irrigators to its termination near West Winds Air Park.blog comments powered by Disqus