The Goshen Irrigation District will begin releasing water from Whalen on Sunday, May 6, for delivery to the Gering Ft. Laramie Irrigation District.
Where cool weather is playing a role in the delivery this year, said Gary Reese, water master at Goshen Irrigation District in Torrington, Wyo.
“We’ll be diverting water out of the river and down the canal,” he said. “Ours (water) is all going to the Gering Ft. Laramie (Irrigation) District and we won’t run for our farmers yet.”
The district has farmers raising hay, but with the cool rainy weather the growers and district is holding off on taking water deliveries.
The delivery will begin at 6 a.m. on Sunday, but it will be almost a week before the Nebraska farmers are able to use the water
“It takes about three days to get water to the state line,” said Rick Preston, general manager with Gering Ft Laramie Irrigation District. “Then it takes another two days to get it to bottom of our irrigation system.”
The irrigation district will open its laterals and pipelines once the water make it two-third down and deliveries will begin about May 14.
Preston said they usually start the first of May, but a cooler, wetter end to April allowed them to push the date out a week.
While some of the irrigation districts like Pathfinder is running water to fill the lakes for storage, and will continue through the summer. The Gering Ft. Laramie is a closed system and will shut water off at the end of May.
“We do that, as in years past, we’ve found we waste so much water the first 15 to 18 days of June,” Preston said. “Then we start back up again in mid-June.”
The early irrigation not only helps water the hay and sugar beets, if its dry out, the water also primes the canal and water tables.
“We’ve found if we bring it in for about three weeks you flush the system (canals) get all the old weed debris out, soak up the banks, get the water profile build up and get the percolation back into the ground started, which is beneficial to everyone,” Preston said.
In Wyoming Reese said they will tentatively have water for irrigators later this month around May 18, but that could change depending on Mother Nature, who has been doing a good job of irrigating right now.