NID has 475 miles of canals and flumes that deliver water to six water treatment plants and over 30,000 customers. Raw water is also delivered to over 47,000 accounts that use the water for outdoor irrigation, stock ponds, ponds and commercial agriculture.
Like many of the older water systems in the CABY Region, NID’s canals were originally developed in the 1800’s for the gold mining industry and then repurposed for agricultural and domestic uses. These older ditch systems have multiple problems: they are inefficient water delivery systems, susceptible to failure, and have high water conveyance losses. Open ditches also experience water quality problems and security issues while failures and overtopping result in erosion and damage to wildlife habitat.
Along with other water agencies in the CABY Region, NID has identified canal lining and/or encasement as a priority measure to reduce water losses from seepage, improving efficiency and water quality. However, despite an ongoing program to prioritize and line many canals, many of NID’s canals are still earth-lined due to the prohibitive costs.
NID prioritized the encasement of 3,000 linear feet of the Meade canal as an urgently needed improvement. The Meade canal is typical of many earthen canals in the CABY region. The canal is a lateral canal of the longer China-Union Canal and directly feeds the water treatment plant of the Disadvantaged Community (DAC) of Smartsville. Estimated annual water losses are 25 acre-feet per year.
Water quality is also a problem. The key concern identified in the “Yuba/Bear River Watershed Sanitary Survey 2012 Update” was the Smartsville Water Treatment Plant’s high TOC levels and E. coli contamination, which is due to a large portion of the water system that relies on open ditches to deliver water to WTPs and raw water customers. The Meade canal runs through pastureland and on a site visit on 6/23/15 NID staff chased away two calves, which were wading in the canal.
The project will encase 3,000 linear feet of earthen canal in a ductile iron pipeline line, saving 25 acre-feet of water per year. The conserved water from the proposed project will help provide a more reliable water source to the residents of the Smartsville DAC during drought years. Water quality will also be improved by completely enclosing the canal thereby reducing contamination from grazing animals. The project will also eliminate the problem of bank erosion, thereby reducing sedimentation and also eliminating algae growth.
Current Status: December 2016
District staff is currently in negotiation with several property owners for the purchase of easements along the canal alignment. The pipeline design for the Meade canal encasement is approximately 75% complete.
Nevada Irrigation District
Brian Powell, Maintenance Manager, 530-271-6801, firstname.lastname@example.org
Measurable Physical Benefits
Water Supply, Water Quality