There’s a current proposal to pipe a section of the Talent Irrigation Ditch canal in the town of Ashland, but many have voiced concerns over the work and outcome.
Cost, negatives and efficiency have been brought to the surface amongst residence in the town. Many are concerned the work will diminish property values and aesthetics, while impacting vegetation and wildlife.
Currently, more than 62 gallons of water per irrigation season is lost from the canal. This is enough to provide more than 800 Ashland homes irrigation in the winter and summer. Per testing that was previously conducted, the canal loses about 23 percent of its water through leaks and evaporation, which estimates to be equally to about $10,000 worth of purchased water that could be diverted to new irrigation customers.
Increasing the number of irrigation customers would help conserve water because that would be fewer Ashland water customers using treated water for irrigation purposes which would save resources.
Another way to improve the canal would be piping, which likely would decrease the amount of E. coli bacteria that poses more than one threat.
The current state of the canal is in desperation and needs to be replaced or renovated. It has only seen small improvements and routine maintenance since it was installed in 1920.
There are multiple options to repair the canal. One consists of piping the entire 10,700 feet with 24-inch pipe at a cost of about $3.1 million. The other is to replace the open canal with new pipe and put a liner in existing sections, which would cost around $4 million. The third option is to replace existing concrete liner and rehab the already piped sections, which would cost around $2.4 million.
Or, they could do nothing as they have been and take a hit of about $50,000 a year for routine maintenance.
Nothing will be decided on until March 5, which the council meets to make a decision. If the project passes, work won’t begin until the fall of 2020.
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