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Highline Canal reopens but still not completely repaired

Published On: Aug 14 2013 09:01:02 PM CDT
PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. -

A canal that provides irrigation water to more than 200 farmers has reopened after damage from a recent flood, but still isn't operating at full capacity.

The 87-mile Highline Canal supplies Arkansas River water to 232 farmers in Pueblo and Otero counties.  The canal went dry for five days after a break formed during erosion from last week's heavy rain and flash flood.

Dan Henrichs, the canal superintendent, said many farmers are a week behind as a result.

"There's still 20 miles of canal that has no water in it yet," he said.  "We have to allocate water one farmer at a time until the canal is fully repaired so that it doesn't break again.  But the level of the river also dictates how much water we can send into the canal."

Henrichs said some farmers are in more dire need for water because last week's rain was sporadic and not widespread.

"We have 120 cubic feet per second in the canal now," he said.  "The capacity is 501 cubic feet per second."

Henrichs said a crew of around a dozen people has worked 18 hours a day to reopen the canal, but work will continue through fall.  The work is paid for, he said, by dues from members who maintain the canal and use the water.

Several members provided heavy equipment to help speed the progress of repairs, Henrichs said.

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