Prairie Post (East Edition)
BRID sees average water use in 2022
While summer began dry, some rain in June helped farmers out quite a bit. And for Bow River Irrigation District, that helped alleviate the demand throughout the summer which led to a fairly normal season.
“Water was good this summer, but it was an interesting year. There was really high irrigation demand compared to normal in April and May. Reservoirs were a little below where we would like to see them at that point, partly because the weather stayed cold in the mountains longer than normal, so there was a lot of mountain snow and it didn’t melt soon enough,” explained Richard Phillips, general manager at BRID. “At the start, reservoirs were dropping when they should have been rising — we were in fine shape, but it was a bit of a disturbing trend. That did right itself when it warmed up — snow melted and it started to rain in June. After really high demand, June and July were below normal demand. August was a little above average, so at the end of the year, we’re looking at using about five per cent more over the long-term average. It was a fairly average year, actually.”
While harvest is still ongoing, BRID is starting to transition into fall and winter work. Looking at storage levels heading into the final stretch of 2022, the district is reporting that they’re in great shape.
“As far as reservoirs go, we’re above winter level and we’ve got reservoirs nice and full by early July thanks to the snow finally melting, and then rain in June dropped some irrigation demand. Reservoirs got good and full and have been declining intentionally since. We need to get rid of a little bit more to get down to winter levels and this winter will be normal storage in the reservoirs,” confirmed Phillips.
Winter also brings a chance for the district to get some projects underway. While some are still being worked on, others are also getting their start come winter.
“Sort of the usual type things. We’re doing some pipelining this winter and we’ve got a pipeline we started out in Hays that will be completed this year. And then we’re starting this winter on pipelines to replace our entire lateral b case system, which is between Vauxhall and Enchant. We’ll get on that this winter and it will carry over the next several years — that’s a huge project,” added Phillips. “We’re also working out on Scope Dam. We have a little project out there as well. First, we’re upgrading the rock protection for erosion and secondly, we’re building a berm at the bottom of the dam to effectively flatten the downhill slope. That was a requirement for dam safety and that’s happening right now. So, that’s our main construction for the year.”