Jun 30, 2017 - From staff reportsThe Riverton Valley Irrigation District canal reopened Thursday,, when about 140 cubic feet of water per second began flowing to member farmers' fields.
RVID's canal had been overtaken by floodwaters earlier this month, when a section was washed out, leaving roughly 50 family farms without access to water for three weeks.
By the time water access was restored this week, 15,000 tons of fill had been hauled in to complete a 1,600-foot dike near the headgates to address the problem.
The dike was completed Tuesday, after a 500-foot section of was constructed over the previous two days.
The dike's construction had been delayed when an access bridge was destroyed last week by a surge in flood water. A new bridge was later built to handle the semi trucks carrying their 25-ton loads.
In addition, roads were built, maintained and on occasion rebuilt after secondary surges of flood water cut through.
Meanwhile, a temporary headgate was designed, manufactured, and put in place in preparation for the moment when the new canal would be tied into the existing canal.
Concrete blocks had been placed on the upstream side of the dike to minimize erosion, and then fill was placed against the concrete.
Sand, silt, trees and other flotsam were removed from the system, and safety features such as the system's sand trap and emergency gates were cleaned out and readied for use.
Water flows in area rivers and streams remains high, but flood danger is believed to over for the season. An unusually large amount of mountain snowpack remains for late June, but water managers say it no longer exists in sufficient quantity to bring more flooding.
RVID is the descendant of the area's original irrigation development, with the canal cutting through central Riverton having been dug shortly after the Riverton townsite was settled in 1906. Land immediately east of the canal on what is now North First and North Second streets formerly was farmland and was watered by gravity from the adjacent canal above.
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