Irrigation districts prep for water season

Irrigation districts prep for water season »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- This warmer weather will soon be kickstarting the grass to turn green and local irrigation districts are hard at work prepping the canals.

Amy Pirozok runs a youth mentoring program in West Richland.

"At-risk, maybe struggling in school, single-parent families, that type of youth," she says.

She relies on water from the Columbia Irrigation District to keep the grounds watered.

"I have to keep the dust down because we have this big arena here," she added.

She's just one of thousands of CID customers who will turn on the pump come April 15th. But before then, district crews are working around the clock to make sure the water will flow.

Using flamethrower-like tubes, workers comb for debris that's collected all winter in more than 40 miles of waterways. And when you have that many miles of canal to prep, it takes a lot of hard work and safety to get it done.

CID says just making sure the canals are clear isn't the only priority.
The district is expecting a lighter season for the water supply.

"The snowpack's a little bit less now, but they've been getting a lot of moisture in the Cascade mountains," says CID manager Pat Loftus.

He says conservation will be key. Thousands of gallons of water are wasted every year when customers overwater.

Pat says if you see water seeping from your lawn into the street, you're using too much.

"Farmers have soil probes and they'll probe it, but residential people, they need to pay attention, too," he says.

Amy says she is careful about her water use.

"Obviously not on windy days, water, because that wastes a lot more water or do it in the evenings when it's cooler and less evaporation takes place," she says.

And so the heat is on to get these canals ready for this season.

The district will start filling the canals at the end of March after they finish clearing them.

Ratepayers will be able to turn on their water April 15th.