West Side Combined Canals Salinity

This project consisted of replacing seven irrigation canals with one pressurized irrigation delivery system to serve 14,000 acres.

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.

Work involved overcoming technical challenges resulting from 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, coordination with several agencies was necessary 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 participant’s water rights, which are particularly sensitive in the Uintah Basin. Included Native American water rights and non-Tribal water rights.
  • 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