West Side Combined Canals Salinity

Franson Civil Engineers assisted the Uintah Water Conservancy District, the Ouray Park and Uintah River Irrigation Companies, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in designing and constructing a one-of-a-kind combined irrigation project that consisted of replacing 46.4 miles of canal. This project consisted of replacing seven irrigation canals with one pressurized irrigation delivery system to serve 14,000 acres.

Work involved overcoming technical challenges that were a product of combining systems that had historically differed in water usage habits. In the end, the project proved to be innovative, valuable, beneficial, complex, and successful.

Physical facilities consist of a one-of-a-kind diversion structure that diverts up to 200 cfs of Uinta River water, rehabilitation of the Cottonwood Reservoir outlet works, 8.3 miles of 48-inch diameter HDPE pipe, almost 7 miles of other large (24-inch to 36-inch) diameter pipe, and 21 miles of laterals. Construction included installation of several pressure-reducing stations, various types and sizes of valves, water meters, and reinforced concrete structures.

In order to accomplish a project of this magnitude, we coordinated with several agencies in order to obtain funding and establish environmental and ecological benefits. We also facilitated the implementation of water use agreements and operation and management tools, including an extensive SCADA system, to ensure the success of the project.

This project is a good example of the benefits that can result from our efforts at looking at the bigger picture. By combining the various canal replacement projects, water conservation was achieved at a lower cost. Also, salinity contribution to the Colorado River system was reduced at a more efficient rate.

  • Funding: Acquired $14 million in funding to design and construct the project
  • Water Rights: Coordinated project participants’ water rights, including Native American and non-Tribal water rights, which are particularly sensitive in the Uintah Basin
  • Improved Water Management: Water supply for all users has been greatly enhanced due to better water management and significant water conservation
  • Project Phasing: Due to the nature of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program (funding), the project was designed and constructed in three main phases over a 10 year period

Award: ACEC-Utah Engineering Excellence Grand Award, 2009