Twin Falls Canal Co. opens gates at Murtaugh Lake, marking start of irrigation season

“This is huge engineering and it’s just a great feat. It’s pretty exciting to see this”
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:19 PM MDT
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MURTAUGH, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The Twin Falls Canal Company and Magic Valley residents marked the start of irrigation season Tuesday morning with the opening of the water gates at Murtaugh Lake.

The day is also National Agriculture Day and in many ways, the event marks the start of the 2021 agriculture season in the area.

Twin Falls Canal Company field supervisor Jay Barlogi believes the system should be well equipped to supply farms with sufficient water.

“The reservoir system is looking pretty good,” Barlogi said Tuesday morning. “We are cautiously optimistic that the reservoir system will fill and looking forward to a good water year for this year.”

Good water levels are extremely important to the Magic Valley. Farms in the area drive the local economy and Twin Falls Canal Company recognizes the importance of its role.

“I think the economy of the area is really agriculturally based,” Barlogi said. “And of course, ag without water is not very productive. So bringing the water into the project every year is huge for this area.”

KMVT also spoke with farmer Kip Wilkins about how significant this day is each year.

“You know, everybody is planning their crops around ... when the water comes in and also when the water is gonna go out,” Wilkins said.

Not only was canal company staff at the gate opening, but local residents like Bev Whittier came out in the cold to witness the spectacle.

“It’s amazing to get to see this,” Whittier said. “This is huge engineering and it’s just a great feat. It’s pretty exciting to see this.”

While exciting to see, this moment also signifies an opportunity to alert local families about the caution that should be taken around these canal systems.

“It’s also a really good time of year, every year, to remember to remind all our families and friends to keep children away from these canals,” Barloji said. “They are not a safe place to recreate.”

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