The Wyoming Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation in Mills, Wyo. announced on Sept. 3, it will begin lowering the water level in Guernsey Reservoir, as the 2019 irrigation season draws to a close.
The Bureau of Reclamation will begin drawing down Guernsey Reservoir on Monday, Sept. 9. The reservoir will drop 12 feet to reach an elevation of 4400.00 feet by
Sept. 17. The drawdown will vary from then, as irrigators along the Ft. Laramie Canal system is just now getting to irrigate crops.
“We’re trying to position Glendo and Guernsey, and our reservoir system to handle any adjustments they’ll (irrigation districts) make on those deliveries this month,” said Shane Hayden public relations with the Reclamation Wyoming Office
The demand for water deliveries from the Goshen and Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation Districts are high.
Producers along the canal are watering corn, sugar beets and alfalfa, to make weight or get another cutting before it freezes. While the water is now available, there is only so much time before a frost occurs.
“Heaven forbid we get any frost before the first week of October,” said Rick Preston district manager at Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District. “I would imagine after about 10 or 12 days the guys who are putting water on corn and beans will shut off. I got a feeling they want to give those crops a real good drink before finishing.”
Sugar beet growers will likely water up until the end of September to increase their tonnage.
The wild card is the weather. An early freeze will end the growing season and water deliveries.
Preston said that even without a freeze, they would likely end irrigation in the first part of October.
Hayden added Glendo Reservoir levels are expected to continue gradually declining and reach a water surface elevation near 4597.30 feet around Sept. 30.