Upper High Creek Canal Piping & Hydropower

Richmond Irrigation Company (RIC) provides irrigation water to approximately 6,000 acres of agricultural land. The Upper High Creek Canal is the primary conveyance canal owned by the irrigation company. The project included enclosing eight miles of the canal and installing two small hydropower plants along the new pipeline. Franson Civil Engineers assisted the company with funding acquisition, project planning, design, bid & award, and construction management services.

Design elements included a new diversion dam on Upper High Creek, a regulating reservoir to provide consistent pressures and water supply throughout the system, tow hydropower facilities, PRV stations, meters on all major turnouts and laterals, and a terminal structure to discharge in an existing drainage ditch. A portion of the existing canal has been left operational to provide for storm drain services for Richmond City. Easements were acquired for parcels where the pipeline deviated from the existing alignment. Franson Civil Engineers replaced RIC’s open-ditch system with a pressurized pipeline that utilizes the naturally-developed pressure to generate hydroelectric power. The pipeline is constructed out of HDPE and PIP piping, which ranges in diameter size from 12-inch to 36-inch. Design flow in the pipeline is 30 cfs.

As part of the requirements from USBR, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared. Funding was obtained from the Reclamation WaterSMART program ($1 million grant) and the State of Utah ($3.7 million loan). We assisted in this bid and award process of selecting the contractor and provided construction management services.

Throughout the process of implementing the hydropower phase, we built relationships with PacifiCorp, Rocky Mountain Power (RMP), Utah Association of Municipal Power Suppliers (UAMPS), and other entities to design, construct, test, and operate the system. We coordinated interconnection to RMP’s grid, developing a Power Purchase Agreement to sell power to Hyrum City via UAMPS, and finalizing the amendment to UAMPS’ Transmission Service Agreement with PacifiCorp. This process has been difficult and requires a detailed understanding of the objectives, needs, and requirements of all interested parties. We have worked through many issues affecting budget and schedule to make this project a success.

We understand the value of utilizing existing pressure and flow to generate power. Through our experience working with regulating agencies, we understand the process and requirements to implement hydropower and evaluate the best option for pulling in revenue.