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Rupert, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) How much would a half mile long dam near Rupert cost to build? And how is it going to benefit local irrigators?
The good news is the new Minidoka Dam is more than halfway done, and things are looking good for it's expected opening date.
The old Minidoka Dam north east of Rupert has been up and running for more than a hundred years. But winter weather is tough on concrete. Two years ago, workers began tearing out the old spillway and building a new one.
Resident Engineer Eduardo Lopez-Owsley says, "A new spillway, but included in that spillway is a 12-gated structure. That will be the main hydraulic control for the flows."
Operators will control the new Minidoka Dam remotely, instead of physically moving the boards at the top of the old dam. Workers are hoping for a milder winter than last year.
Roland Springer with the Bureau of Reclamation says, "Last winter was a harder winter, and we're hoping that it's not so hard for dam construction, but nice and moist for the water supply."
The Burley Irrigation District can already use the outlet for their canal, but Rupert's control system will be installed this winter. Water managers will be able to save more water in Lake Walcott for irrigators to use.
Lopez-Owsley says, "The reservoir will be maintained at 40 to 45 elevation. Every year we have a drawdown. And after the project's completed, they'll be able to maintain at a full or near full pool."
Construction is on schedule and on budget. The price tag for the new dam is $28 million.
The new Minidoka Dam should be complete and ready to go by the end of March 2015, a year and a half from now.
September 26, 2013.