Thursday, March 15, 2012

First sign of Spring

Pioneer Irrigation Deliveries start April 16

Caldwell--Irrigation water deliveries to approximately 5,800 Pioneer Irrigation District customers should begin about April 16 as the 2012 irrigation season gets underway,
according to Pioneer water superintendent Mark Zirschky.

Pioneer will actually start filling the Phyllis Canal from its diversion on the Boise
River on April 11. However it takes several days for Pioneer’s 38 main
and lateral canals to completely fill. Pioneer employees also have other
duties such as debris removal that cannot be completed until water is actually
flowing in the canals delaying the start of irrigation water deliveries
approximately five days.

Work crews will also closely inspect all Pioneer canals for any sign of rodent or
other issues that might result in leakage or a breach in the canal wall.
Gopher activity is believed to have caused a Phyllis Canal breach in April
2011. That section of the Phyllis Canal was completely repaired in November.

Water users on the Pioneer system should have a relatively normal water supply
for the 2012 irrigation season, Zirschky said. Pioneer has a full supply
of storage water thanks to winter snow melt plus 45,000 acre feet of water in
Boise River reservoirs carried over from 2011. Pioneer uses both natural flow
and storage water during the irrigation season. Irrigation water deliveries
typically end about the middle of October.

Pioneer water users should contact their local ditchrider after April 16 to determine
exactly when irrigation water will be available at individual diversion points,
Zirschky added. Contact information for the individual ditchriders also
will be posted by April 16 on the Pioneer website – www.pioneerirrigation.com.
Patrons can also contact the Pioneer business office at 459-3617 after April 16
to get current ditchrider contact information.

“We really encourage all Pioneer customers to sign up for the District’s email
information system called Pioneering Communications. This is the first
time the program will be able to provide water users with email notifications
about system problems or delivery interruptions that can affect the flow of
water to delivery points. This email information system will keep our patrons fully informed about the problem, what we
are doing to cure the problem, and how long they can expect that to take,” said
Dawn Fowler, Pioneer Treasurer.

The email information system, believed to be the first of its kind in the state,
also features regular email newsletters, and a means of asking questions or
providing feedback to the Pioneer managers and the Board of Directors. More
information about the Pioneering Communication program plus instructions how to
join is available on the Pioneer website.

The start of irrigation season also marks the beginning of a heightened canal
safety effort by Pioneer. Young people, even adults, regularly drown
in Idaho irrigation canals. Canals are also situated on private property
which makes it trespassing for people to go near canals.

Pioneer workers will be posting special signs over the next couple months on
the canals, drains and laterals to notify people that the facilities are for
Pioneer Irrigation District and authorized personnel only.

“As the water comes in to the system, our ditchriders and other employees will
begin their traditional few months of intense monitoring of our canal
properties to watch for people who are where they don’t belong. We want
to make sure that no one is putting themselves or their loved ones at the awful
risk of drowning in a canal,” Zirschky said.

Pioneer Irrigation District is a non-profit irrigation district based in Caldwell that
has provided irrigation water to more than 34,000 acres of farm and residential
lands in Canyon County and extreme western Ada County for 109 years.

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