July 24, 2013
As the City reservoir continues to fill with water from Lake Lugert-Altus, the Irrigation district must decide the amount of water to be received and the rate of delivery.
“We’re going to run it seven to ten days and increase the level of the reservoir significantly while we work with the City to level out the delivery rate,” explained Lugert-Altus Irrigation District General Manager Tom Buchanan.
According to Buchanan, the reservoir can be filled up and the water supply cut off, or instead an adjustment could be made to the delivery rate to allow for a steady flow. However, the top one-third of the reservoir seeps and water can be lost, he explained, so there is a draw back to filling it up completely.
“We can top it off in 30 days, and it looks good,” Buchanan said. “But if we’re about trying to be efficient with what water we have, best thing would be to maximize the amount of water the city is using.” Buchanan hopes they find a happy medium.
Lugert-Altus is around 16 – 18% of capacity, and this current delivery will have a negligible impact on the lake, Buchanan said. This release is much smaller than what is used for irrigation purposes and has a delivery rate of about 35 cubic feet per second to meet the reservoirs capability. For irrigation purposes the rate ranges from 500 to 900 cubic feet per second.
There is some danger associated with the moving water Buchanan advised. “With such a small release the danger factor is nowhere near what it would be,” he said. “If you’re on the road, either side of the ditch is federal property so it’s considered trespassing.”
This initial release is dedicated entirely to the City, and there are no plans to deliver water to the irrigation fields this summer.