Published online: May 15, 2013 Irrigation
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McCAMMON, Idaho-A southeast Idaho canal company has completed a $4.8 million project to pipe irrigation water formerly moved through a network of open ditches.


Officials with Portneuf Irrigating Co. say the upgrade to their Arimo Canal should conserve water and power and improve filtration to extend sprinkler life.


The project includes 6 miles of mainline pipe and 9 miles of spurs serving individual customers.


The Natural Resources Conservation Service covered most of the cost with money awarded in 2009, 2010 and 2013 through the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, administered under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program. The canal company matched $1 million.


"To my knowledge, it's the biggest irrigation gravity pipeline system we've done in Idaho, ever," said NRCS state engineer Bruce Sandoval.


Growers served by the canal-which runs from the Portneuf River near Lava Hot Springs to south of Arimo and is 48 inches wide at its broadest point-grow mostly small grains and alfalfa hay.


Construction commenced in the spring of 2012, with heavy building starting that October, and continued through the winter. The canal company's president, Chris Robinson, said the pipe is now full of water, and irrigation will commence soon.

His 25 shareholders have the option to pay a pro-rata rate toward expenses or to allow their shares to be diluted, creating additional shares to sell to members.