The Wheatland Irrigation District serves approximately 55,284 acres and
911 water users. The Wheatland Irrigation District assesses $9.50/acre.
The irrigators have an estimated ability to pay of $18.00 - $20.00/acre.
In 1996 Kennedy Engineering completed a Level II study of Wheatland
Tunnel Diversion, Diversion Dam operation, and Gunbarrel Lateral canal.
The operation of the Wheatland Tunnel Diversion from the Laramie River
into Bluegrass Creek has resulted in fish kills in the Laramie River at
least twice in the last 10 years. The fish kills occur when diversions
from the Laramie River into Bluegrass Creek are stopped at the end of
the irrigation season and the tunnel is shut down for the winter. Water
and sediment impounded behind the diversion dam is sluiced into the
Laramie River resulting in draining of the impoundment and water quality
standards violations. The study investigated structural and management
alternatives to prevent these events from occurring in the future.
Using their own resources, the Wheatland Irrigation District has
constructed a box around the outlet and modified the intake to draw
water from the top rather than the bottom of the reservoir.
The State Engineer has requested that the Wheatland Irrigation District
install a measuring device at the diversion from the Laramie River into
Bluegrass Creek. The Level II study completed by Kennedy Engineering in
1996 recommended several improvements be made to the diversion system.
The following improvements are proposed: 1) a measuring weir will be
constructed, 2) the outlet gates from the Laramie River into Bluegrass
Creek will be moved to accommodate the new weir and the gates will be
automated, 3) a SCADA system enabling remote operation will be
installed. Rehabilitation of the concrete on the diversion dam will
also be completed. Construction is expected to begin and be completed.
The Gunbarrel Lateral Ditch is served by the Wheatland Irrigation District
and provides water to 20 users irrigating approximately 2,659 acres. Some
sections of the Gunbarrel Lateral Ditch are located in the rights-of-way
of county roads and are severely eroded causing public safety concerns.
In the past, motorists have accidentally driven into the ditch. Much of
the ditch was concrete lined over 25 years ago. Some of this lining has
deteriorated and will need to be replaced in the next 2 - 10 years.
The Platte County Resource District is sponsoring this project because the
Gunbarrel Lateral Company is not a governmental entity. Other agencies
cooperating on the project include Platte County, the Gunbarrel Lateral
Ditch Co., the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Wheatland
Irrigation District. The sponsor has requested Level III funding to
replace the 8510' of open ditch with buried pipe. The project is estimated to
cost $500,000. The cost of materials (pipe, concrete, reinforcing bar,
valves, measuring devices, etc, is approximately $250,000. The Platte
County Resource District and the Gunbarrel Lateral Ditch Company have
proposed that the WWDC provide a 50% grant (no loan) to purchase pipe,
fittings and other materials to complete the project. Engineering will be
provided by the NRCS. Construction labor, machinery, trench excavation,
and remaining materials will be provided by Platte County, the Wheatland
Irrigation District, and the Gunbarrel Lateral Ditch Company.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends that two projects be advanced to Level III in the
For the diversion system improvements, an appropriation of $315,000 from
the rehabilitation account is recommended (50% grant, 50% loan, 4%, 20
For the Gunbarrel Lateral Rehabilitation Project, the total project budget
is $500,000. The WWDC recommends a grant of $250,000 (50% grant, no loan)
from the Rehabilitation Account to the Platte County Resource District
is recommended. The Platte County Resource District , Platte County,
Gunbarrel Lateral Ditch Co., The Natural Resources Conservation Service,
and the Wheatland Irrigation District will provide installation labor,
equipment and some construction materials.