Floods Caused the River to Make a New Course

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High rivers cause big problems for Riverton farmers.

Some farmers may not be able to water their crops for weeks.

Last weeks floods caused the river to make a new course.

“The water came around the head gate and the river picked up an old channel, and it came around behind the head gate so we had no control over the amount of water going into the canal, high pressure, the river picked up that canal, came down through the canal system approximately 2 miles and washed out the other side of the canal,” said Kathi Metzler, the Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator.

None of that water is getting to the farmers.

Specifically, their crops in the Riverton valley irrigation district.
“We were just starting to get these crops up and we normally have to irrigate them up, seeds lying in dry dirt, if they got down to moisture they should germinate, the problem being if we don’t add some water to them to sustain them for a certain amount of time they will wither and die and that means we might be writing closed on the door and walking away,” said Bill Jennings, a Riverton Producer with no water.

Right now it’s a waiting game, to see if a temporary fix can get water back to farmers before it’s too late.

“There’s going to come a cut-off time there where you’re going to want to quit throwing good money after bad if things don’t progress, like we discussed earlier two weeks it’s going to be tight, if we hit 90 degree days that’s going to be tough, if its 6 weeks, done,” he said.
Jennings estimates more than 100 producers currently have no irrigation water for crops or pastures.

A local insurance company employee says they can’t comment yet on claims, as no adjusters have looked at the farms.

But farmers are worried a clause stating “irrigation failures” won’t be paid for, even though the flood caused the failures, flooding is covered by insurance.