WATER QUALITY PROGRAM FOR AGRICULTURE
WQPA Cost-share Funding Available for Soil and Water Conservation Projects
King Hill Irrigation District
November 2, 2021 Election Results
Initiative on the ballot regarding borrowing monies to improve the KHID district PASSED!
VOTES: YES = 447
NO = 70
NULL = 1
OPEN LETTER PUBLISHED IN THE GLENNS FERRY TIMES AND SEASONS
King Hill Water User,
The election to be held on November 2nd, 2021 at the King Hill Irrigation District office in Glenns Ferry will be a great opportunity to express your opinion on the direction of the irrigation district. The election is a vote on whether or not the district encumber debt for infrastructure. As stated before, KHID has won a grant funding a portion of an improvement project for the district. In addition, we recently received notice of a second grant to further improve the areas within the district. The combined total of the two grants are approximately $2.9 million. Interest rates are also currently favorable. This is good news to us as water users with aging infrastructure. Other water districts have had access to these funds and have completed multiple phases and projects. The relationship with NRCS and KHID is expected to continue into the future through multiple phases and projects that we hope span the ditch from beginning to end. The intent of the grant is to fund projects that support water conservation. The district stands to benefit the most water conservation from the Hammett and Mule Shoe projects. Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Power, and KHID have all worked together to measure water flow on the main canal to determine the water saving and the viability of a project in the Hammett area. The current proposal will raise the acre assessment by $15.00 over 10 years.
Reasons to vote Yes for the district to encumber debt:
- Grant monies can only be awarded with matching funds.
- If we don’t take advantage of NRCS grant monies that have been awarded it is not likely that we will have access or ability for their assistance in the future.
- Relieve demand on the canal system between the freeway wall and the mule shoe.
- Low interest loan monies available.
- In an event of a major failure of the siphon at the Mule Shoe, School, or cement flumes at the Narrows and Freeway wall, we would be forced to significantly raise assessments to pay for the needed improvements.
- To begin improvement on the district to lower power consumption, canal maintenance cost, and improve management of the water system.
- Increase reliability of water delivery to user throughout the district.
Please support KIHD in this request to encumber debt on November 2nd by voting Yes.
KHID Board of Directors Chairman
For Immediate Release: 10/23/2021
Contact Information: Tonya Boyd, Secretary/Treasurer
King Hill Irrigation District
KING HILL IRRIGATION DISTRICT AWARDED INFRASTRUCTURE GRANTS
Glenns Ferry, ID – The King Hill Irrigation District in Elmore County, ID is proud to announce that it has recently been awarded a $1,000,000 EQIP funding grant (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) for the district’s second project, the Cold Springs/Mule Shoe infrastructure improvement project. This project will be worked in tandem with the Hammett Pipeline/Pump first project, which was awarded 1.9 million.
“This funding, in addition to coordinating funds from King Hill Irrigation District, will go a long way to improving the infrastructure and water delivery—not just for the Cold Springs/Mule Shoe area, but the whole district. The upcoming improvements are needed, and King Hill Irrigation District is excited to be awarded the grant to get progress moving forward,” said John Hafen, KHID Manager.
KHID participated in the Idaho Water Resource Board’s project funded by the Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART program by installing four flow meters for measuring irrigation water diversions according to their water rights and found a 35 percent loss of water delivered from actual amounts pumped. With additional NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) assistance, pumping plants will be installed along the Snake River to facilitate the installation of conveyance pipeline needed to eliminate current dirt ditches, concrete flumes, syphons, and rusted steel in main lines. An estimated 18,733 acre-feet/year of conserved water will remain in the Snake River channel, benefitting up and downstream users as well as sustaining critical habitat and resources in the Snake River and Columbia River basins. In addition to the water saving and drought resilience benefits, EQIP funding is also expected to save energy and costs from reduced pumping, reduce sediment loads, and lower maintenance costs.
The Cold Springs/Mule Shoe project is the second of two fund-matching grants KHID has been working with NRCS. “Our current irrigation system has major sections that are aging and deteriorating. That is why is so important for the KHID water users to give their yes vote in the upcoming election on November 2nd to borrow funds so that we can meet the obligations of the grants and proactively improve the irrigation system in our district,” said Hafen
The first grant applied for by KHID is for the Hammett Pipeline/Pump Project—Phase One to update and improve the district’s water delivery system via more closed pipe and a new pump station in Hammett, ID. As stated, this will be Project One of Six aimed to move across the KHID District for the benefit and prosperity of the entire district.
About the King Hill Irrigation District
The King Hill Irrigation District has the proud distinction of being one of the survivor projects of the originally government-backed Carey Act of 1894. Through its long-standing history, it has been through many different transformations as a district since then but is a current-day major contributor to the success of the farmers, ranchers, and small towns to whom it provides irrigation water. The District’s Board of Directors consists of five elected local citizens, representing each of the five divisions of the district. King Hill Irrigation District is a quasi-government municipality of the State of Idaho. You can learn more at their website at www.kinghillirrigation.org or email the office, at email@example.com.
OPEN LETTER PUBLISHED IN THE GLENNS FERRY TIMES AND SEASONS
On November 2, water users of the King Hill Irrigation District will be asked to approve its Board of Directors taking out a loan for the purpose of replacing and rebuilding portions of its water delivery systems. It is imperative that the District begin improvements and do it soon. Without improvement, the District is in peril of not being able to deliver irrigation water to our community.
Some history might be useful in understanding the challenges the District is facing:
Formed in the early 1900’s, the District took Malad River water from just above the confluence of the Snake and Malad Rivers and conveyed it across the Snake River via an inverted syphon. Once reaching the south shores of the Snake, the water was transported via canal system as far west as the Hammett Valley, eight miles west of Glenns Ferry. In total, the District irrigates 11,573 acres. In 1979, the inverted syphon crossing the Snake River failed and the District was forced to install four pumping stations out of the Snake and along the canal system to deliver water to the lands within the District.
Idaho Power Co. was heavily involved in the installation of these pumping plants. At that time, an agreement was reached between the two parties that provided (in general terms) Idaho Power the use of King Hill water to pass through their power generating facilities at the Malad Gorge and Bliss Dam and King Hill Irrigation District a power credit of 1.8 million kWh to help offset the electrical cost of operating the new pumping plants.
With the added costs of operating the pumping plants, the District was unable to keep up with the demands of an aging and crumbling canal system, rising costs of power, and the expenses associated with maintaining high lift pumps and motors. Portions of the canal that were abandoned upon installation of the pumping plants have deteriorated beyond repair, making any hopes of reinstalling the inverted syphon and once again becoming a gravity fed system financially and logistically impossible.
Fast forward to 2021:
Our customers currently pay a per acre assessment of $120 for one inch of water. Users who pay to pressurize their systems pay $60 an acre in addition to their assessment. Additionally, interruptions in service are common as a result of our deteriorating infrastructure. Measurements at our pumping sites calculate that 5 acre ft of water must be pumped from the Snake River to deliver the approximately 2.8 acre feet of water required to raise most crops viable in this area.
What King Hill Irrigation District Board is proposing:
The Board of Directors is proposing a series of projects that would ultimately put a large portion of the District into a closed conduit irrigation system.
These projects involve but are not limited to:
- The installation of new and more strategically placed pumping plants with the goal of reducing overall lift of water, placing them closer to the lands they irrigate reducing friction loss, and taking advantage of newer and more efficient pumps and motors.
- Installation of closed conduit conveyance which would eliminate ditch loss and the need to recharge the canals in the event of an interruption in service.
- Upon completion of these projects, it is estimated that the District will save 35% in electrical operating costs alone and leave roughly 18,700 acre feet of water per year in the Snake River.
In 2020, the District applied for and was granted NRCS EQIP-WSI assistance for the first of the proposed projects. The first project involves installation of a new pumping plant and piped delivery system in the Hammett area. NRCS has committed $1,900,000 in assistance. Once completed, the Hammett pump deck would service roughly 1800 acres and eliminate several miles of open ditch between Hammett and the pumping plant in Glenn’s Ferry where it is currently delivered from. Current estimates state that the District will need to provide $1.5-$2 million of its own funding to complete this phase. NRCS has graciously engineered the project. Additionally, the District has applied for a second EQIP-WSI round of assistance for the projects that would include piping the remaining portions of the system serviced by the Glenns Ferry pump base.
In May of 2021, the District held an election of its water users to issue debt in the amount of $1,500,000. The election failed by one vote. The Board is now asking its users to reconsider the loan and provide funding in order to commence with construction of this critical phase. Time is of the essence as we risk NRCS pulling their funding from King Hill in favor of a more “shovel ready” project.
I am asking our water users with hat in hand to approve this loan. The water that the King Hill Irrigation District delivers is the live blood of this community and we are in danger of not being able to count on this precious resource.
Please, if you have questions regarding this vote or future plans, reach out to your representative on the Board of Directors. The District website and Facebook page are also great resources for information. You can also contact me directly (208-590-0824 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
KHID Board of Directors
PUBLISHED IN THE GLENNS FERRY TIMES AND SEASONS
Update or Wait for Failure
The proud era of irrigation in this area began in 1904 with the establishment of the Glenns Ferry Canal Company. Although the district has operated under a few different names and entities, by 1917 it became known as the King Hill Irrigation District that serves you today. Most of us probably do not think about the history and the ingenuity of those who came before us and established the irrigation system we use. We may not even realize that parts of the original system built 117 years ago are still depended upon today in 2021. In 1979, the District did install four pumping stations to lift water to the old open canal system. A relatively more modern update, but still over 40 years ago.
The board and employees of King Hill Irrigation District work tirelessly to ensure the delivery of water every day for agricultural and residential purposes. The District’s aging and crumbling delivery system does not always make that job easier. The existing canal system has areas that are in serious need of attention due to weakness and cracking. Some weakened areas have breached and caused damage and waste in fields. Current severe drought conditions have contributed to the complexities of delivering and preventing waste. Open ditches loose water due to evaporation, infiltration and till water. These losses add up to as much as 35%. As you all know, irrigation water is a valuable resource in our area. We cannot afford to waste even a drop. Just ask those in other Idaho communities who will be shutting down their water early this year due to drought. Areas like Boise, Nampa, Meridian and Kuna are all shutting down their irrigation season early due to the condition of or lack of water resources.
This past May, KHID held a vote to apply for loan funding that would work with a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to install a pumping station and closed piping system. The project was to begin in the Hammett area, and long-term the goal is to update/upgrade the entire district. Unfortunately, the vote did not pass—by one vote! We cannot give up because the future of this district depends on the updating and strengthening of the water delivery system. We will either be paying for progress, or we will be paying for repairs and waste. There will be a vote again on November 2nd. All King Hill Irrigation District water users who own land in the district and reside in a county of the District are asked to participate in the vote for updating and strengthening the water delivery system of your irrigation district. Please vote YES.