BOISE -- Anni Jack and her family have lived on Gloucester Street in Boise for 8 years. On Sunday she says the trickling of water caught her attention while she was working in the home's backyard.
“We were up on our deck, actually, and we heard what sounded like a babbling brook,” Jack said.
After seeing water trickle down the hillside -- apparently coming from the New York Canal -- her husband climbed a nearby hill to investigate.
“So he hiked up there, and he sees a hole, and water is just like a garden hose that's turned on,” Jack described.
Sure enough, there was a leak in the canal that runs right above the couple's property.
CANAL IS DRAINED IMMEDIATELY
Christopher Beardsley is with the Bureau of Reclamation. He says the bureau owns the canal, and once government officials heard there was a leak, they began draining water immediately.
“We won't let water into that canal until it's safe to do so,” Beardsley told KTVB on Monday.
However, a day without water is a day without irrigation for farmers' crops.
“Well it's the New York Canal, it's the main artery to the biggest part of the Treasure Valley,” said Boise Project Board of Control manager Tim Page. “I mean, we serve about 165,000 acres.”
The Board of Control maintains the canal, and they have ditch riders constantly patrolling the canal making sure all parts are in working order.
“Anytime there is water coming from the canal we get concerned,” said Page.
So the board acted fast too.
“The best option was the shut the water off to the canal so (we) could get to the bottom of the canal to fix the problem,” explains Page.
By Monday afternoon, workers were still waiting for the water to drain. However, it is important to note they did stop the leak Sunday by hauling in dirt and clogging the hole.
LEAK REMINISCENT OF PAST PROBLEMS
The Jack family and the rest of those living in the neighborhood know how concerning a leaking canal is.
“Two years ago -- a block up -- that is where the water incident happened,” recalls Jack.
The incident she's talking about happened roughly two years ago just one block away from her house on South Minuteman Way.
The incident caused flooded basements and yards, giving a handful of homeowner's water damage. Some of those homeowners suspected the water was due to a leak coming from the nearby New York Canal.
While there was never a definite answer to that, the Bureau of Reclamation did test the water and the Board of Control installed pumps and drains to ensure no more flooding would take place.
“The deal is resolved, yes,” said Page.
Still the residents living below the New York Canal remain leery of this aging infrastructure. Page said the canal was built in the early 1900’s.
“People were in our backyards yesterday (Sunday), saying they've lived here and this is the third the fourth time that this has happened,” said Jacks. “I think just be observant if you live near the canal.”
Page with the Board of Control said, his crew is observant too.
“I mean we want to protect everyone involved, and that is our job and that is what we do,” he said.
Once the canal is fully drained, the Board of Control will investigate how the leak happened, and then complete a more permanent fix before they restore water flow.