Irrigation canals bring springtime dangers.
BOISE – With a record-breaking winter behind us, farmers and water officials are looking forward to reaping the benefits.
“The economy of the state of Idaho is still agriculture so that’s a very good thing for them,” said Daren Coon with the Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District.
On Monday, April 3, they plan to open the Ridenbaugh Canal and its laterals.
“This year’s snowpack is really next year’s irrigation water as well as this year’s,” Coon said.
Over the last few months, water officials have been gearing up for what they hope is a good irrigation year. They’ve been maintaining the irrigation canal system that will supply 69,000 acres of farmland and more than 16,000 acres of residential land across the Valley with water.
“It’s a big irrigation district,” said Coon. “Certainly the largest in southwest Idaho and one of the largest in the state of Idaho.”
Now, every canal except the New York Canal is empty, but soon that won’t be the case anymore.
“With Boise having so many canals and waterways through the city, it definitely puts our kids at risk,” said Marisa Lunghofer, a Pediatric Trauma Program manager. “They don’t understand dangerous situations.”
Officials say the water can be deceiving.
“It always runs fast and deep even though it doesn’t appear to be that way on the surface,” Coon said.
Lunghofer says drownings are the number-one cause of injury-related death for children 1 to 4 years old.
“Even if they are children that know how to swim they may not have the ability to swim against the moving current,” Lunghofer said.
“The water is extremely cold,” Coon said. “It flows…