Grants Pass irrigation canal to be restored

Grants Pass, Ore. — Over a thousand Grants Pass customers are going to breathe a sigh of relief as crews are about to wrap up repairs on an irrigation canal. The fix, could finally end a long drought. NBC5 News was at the excavation site on Friday and spoke to the crews working on repairs.

“We’re putting the pipe in where the irrigation canal used to be,” said Richard Duncan. Duncan is the superintendent of R&G Excavating, the company contracted to repair the damage in a Grants Pass canal.

“This ditch here, it used to be about five feet deep. So when the flood came through, this is the damage that it done,” he said.

In total, Duncan’s crew is repairing 850 feet of canal.

“Sand Creek washed out, had a big flood, washed out the structure at the other end of the project,” he said.

That event happened last winter, because of damage to South Highline Canal.

“That structure that fell, it down at the far end,” he said.

And left more than one thousand homes without access to irrigation water.

“Irrigation is for people who have crops and they don’t have wells to water and stuff. It’s irrigation water. They’ll pump it, they’ll flood and irrigate,” he said.

That’s something that’s kept nearby farmers from growing crops.

“Sand Creek comes in about 75 feet this way. Comes in, flows down the side of the pipe. Down to about as far as you can see, and then it turns and disappears,” he said.

Though the project is nearing its end, there are still a few things to take care of before all is said and done.

“That’s going to look the same, and that’s going to be back to flat ground here,” he said.

After Duncan’s team completes its end of the project, workers will hand it over to the Grants Pass Irrigation District to make the final move.

“They turn the irrigation water on, they irrigate this summer, and this fall they’re going to figure out what they’re going to do permanently,” he said.

The excavation team said it should be finishing up the project by the end of next week. It’s also reminding people this is a temporary line for the time being, a redesign is in the works, that will come around September or October.

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