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Canal Company Opens Its Gates

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By Jay Michaels

Murtaugh, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Out at Murtaugh Lake today, there was another sure sign that spring is here. The Twin Falls Canal Company opened the gates to let water into the company's canal system.

Open the gates, and here it comes – much needed water from Murtaugh Lake – flowing into the Twin Falls Canal Company's system of irrigation canals.

Brian Olmstead, Manager for the Twin Falls Canal Company, says, "We've got 300 square miles of dry ground on this side, 3,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Snake River on this side. Our farmers will put them together over the next few months and group a couple hundred million dollars' worth of crops."

A Twin Falls Canal Company board member points out that southern Idaho has great soil. But it needs another not so secret ingredient to turn the nutrients in the ground into dollars in farmers' pockets.

Board member David Patrick says, "Watching this water go out here and knowing it's going to come out my headgate, it's an awesome thing."

It should take a couple of weeks for the water to prepare the system completely before farmers will be able to water their fields if they need to. As always, it's impossible to predict what the weather will do this spring and summer. So now irrigators and water managers alike will wait to see what happens, and do what they need to.

Olmstead says, "We'll have an adequate delivery this summer is what I'd say. We'll need to be conservative, but we'll get the crops grown."

The Upper Snake River reservoir system is 73 percent full, while the Twin Falls Canal Company's water supply is roughly 85 percent. This is the 109th year of operation for the Twin Falls Canal Company, which opened in 1905.

Apr. 2, 2013.


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