Extension Center provides update on irrigation tunnel repairs

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. - (KNEP) - Crews continue to work on the temporary fix of the Gering Fort Laramie Irrigation Canal to ensure water comes for 2020 season.

Water flowing back into the Gering Fort Laramie Irrigation Canal after a tunnel collapse in 2019. (Source KNEP)

According to the University of Nebraska Panhandle Extension Center, all three tunnels are seeing grout work. Tunnel two, which is the one that collapsed, saw pockets in-between the concrete tunnel and the fine sand above that contributed to leaks and eventual collapse.

Now, the irrigation districts are being told that tunnel three will need to be repaired before any water can come back through the canal during the 2020 growing season. They are hopeful they can get all of it done in time. It remains unknown at this time if there will be any reduction in water but if you have concerns you are to contact your irrigation district.

Jessica Groskopf with the extension center states it is likely that any crop losses related to the tunnel collapse in 2020 will be covered by risk management. But, she adds, it remains questionable if losses will be covered during the 2021 season.

She believes they will have more of an idea on the repairs and the water as we get through the winter season. Irrigation Districts are working on a permanent fix project that will begin next winter. It is unknown at this time how much it will cost and who will flip the bill on it. Senator John Stinner is working on finding money through appropriations as well.