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October 17, 2013
Irrigation co. shuts down for season

The Settlement Canyon Irrigation Company closed shop for the season Tuesday with water to spare, despite an ongoing county-wide drought.

Initially the company feared water stores would not last through the end of the season, but late-season rains helped, said Gary Bevan, Settlement Canyon Irrigation Company president. The reservoir had about 20 feet of water left when the company shut off the system on Oct. 15, and the water level looks as though it has already increased.

“It’s gained, just looking at it, maybe 18 inches, since we shut it off,” said Bevan.

But for the most part, drought conditions in Tooele remain unchanged. Drought conditions across most of the county are still considered severe, even though the U.S. Drought Monitor, a joint service of the USDA and NOAA, has down graded 87 percent of the state to moderate drought conditions.

Water levels at the reservoir remain below normal, so at this point the fate of next year’s water supply depends on this winter’s snowfall, Bevan said.

“If we get a good snow pack and a good winter, we’ll be all right,” he said.

September and October rainfall has made the situation seem more hopeful, Bevan said, because the rain has saturated the soil. When spring comes, most of the runoff will flow directly into the reservoir, instead of absorbing into the soil.

The irrigation company also has plans to install a new pipeline next spring, which should bring additional water to the reservoir as well, Bevan said. The company originally intended to bring the pipeline online this year, but problems with easements delayed construction until too late in the season.

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