Great Feeder Canal vital for irrigation and flood controlRirie-The Great Feeder Canal was rebuilt just seven months ago and built in the nick of time.
After years of drought the dam is diverting more than 4-thousand CFS of water off the swollen Snake River. The Snake is running between 20-thousand and 16-thousand CFS depending on melting snow. That diversion is keeping downstream flooding in check.
Jim Boulter says this years been exciting.
"This year with the high flows, they've kept us busy but the water is going to get even higher and faster. So we're really happy the new head gates are here along with the new structure to support the flows. The peak should come about the first of June depending on how hot it gets and high flows will last till the 18th of June."
Boulter says the diversion dam is keeping the Snake River in check. Right now, snowpack and runoff in the Eastern Idaho mountains are anywhere from 150-200 percent of normal. The Army Corp of Engineers ordered Palisades evacuated. Crews drained the reservoir before traditional melting of the snow, last week.
"Whatever comes through Palisades, we can handle it. We'll divert it to the canals and keep the Snake River at the same level," said Boulter. "At Palisades we're back in fill mode and its now 22-percent filled, we're hoping it fills to 100-percent and not a foot over. The Army Corp has evacuated it, we're already for the big spring runoff and I think we're in good shape."
Boulter and the Great Feeder is sending 4-thousand CFS out to the canals. "We'll stay at that level for delivery. But the river will peak at about 22-thousand CFS when we get into the warmest part of June."
In a rare year, the Great Feeder Canal filled all the State's water right obligations. All that water went into the ground for recharge. Thats a total of 313,060 acre feet earmarked for recharged, exceeding the State of Idaho's goal of 240,000 acre feet.
Boulter says this years high stream flows tested the new head gates.
"It was a good test actually, to handle these flows with ease, its impressive. The new controls are easy to handle. The old system was old and clunky, this makes handling these streamflows easy," said Boulter. "We're not through, we have a long way to go this season, we'll have long hours and no one is resting until that snow melts in the mountains."