The early shutoff of Settlement Canyon Irrigation Company water should not affect Tooele crops this year, an official said.
“The farmers pretty well had their third crop in,” said Gary Bevan, irrigation company president. “So the only way it would affect them is a lot of them use the water to water stock.”
Bevan and SCIC board members decided to shut off the water last Saturday after the water in Settlement Canyon Reservoir hit the minimum level necessary to preserve fish.
Normally, the irrigation company turns off the water around Oct. 15, but it’s been years since the reservoir water has lasted that long, he said.
“In the last two years, it’s been about the middle of September when we’ve had to turn it off,” he said. “It’s the weather that dictates that. We hit a wet spell in the ’80s and we had all kinds of water. But now we’re in a dry cycle — we just need to wait for the cycle to change.”
Last year, SCIC shut off the irrigation water on Aug. 28 due to high water use and turned it back on Sept. 24, when the reservoir had risen high enough to meet demand. The water flow was stopped for the season on Oct. 17.
But the irrigation company won’t follow the same pattern in 2016. This time, the water is off for the season, Bevan said.
“We don’t like to do that [turn it on and off],” he said. “When we did that last year, it affected the Pankratz’ pumpkins.”
Bevan encouraged SCIC shareholders to leave their valves open and allow any water remaining in their pipes to drain before winter.
Prior to shutting off the water, the irrigation company intended to post a notice in last Thursday’s edition of the Transcript Bulletin, but missed the deadline.
However, the SCIC secretary did send messages to all the emails on file and posted a notice on the Facebook page “Settlement Canyon Irrigation Company,” Bevan said.
Meanwhile on the west side of Tooele Valley, Grantsville Irrigation Company has not yet decided when to shut off the water for the season, said watermaster Jake McArthur.
But he plans to meet with the board soon to set a season shutoff date.
“I’m hoping to shut the reservoir off the first week of October — that’s what I’ve been telling people — but I don’t know if the board will let me do that,” McArthur said. “I’d kind of like to shut it off a little bit early this year to save the water in the reservoir.”
Normally, Grantsville Irrigation Company turns off the water in mid-October.
The watering restrictions GIC set for its shareholders earlier this month are still in effect. Residents are asked to water only once a week, while farmers can water only on certain days.