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Canals start filling with water Monday, warning issued about child drowning dangers

The Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District has begun diverting water from the Boise River to fill its irrigation system.
Credit: KTVB
Irrigation canals across the Treasure Valley will begin filling with water this week.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Irrigation canals across the valley are beginning to fill with water on Monday, April 1, 2020

The Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District has begun diverting water from the Boise River near Barber Park into the Rigenbaugh Canal. Water managers say this is the start of the 2020 irrigation system.

"We hope to start delivering water to our water users by the 20th of April. It takes about two weeks for all 500 miles of our canals to fill because we need to bring in the canal system slow so we can check the delivery system for any issues prior to making any deliveries," explained Greg Curtis, NMID Water Superintendent.  

Water managers warn that irrigation season also marks the start of a dangerous period for children and adults. Each year, people drown in irrigation canals across the valley.

"It is crucial that parents take time to talk with their children about staying away from canals. Parents must make their children and other family members understand that they are not to play around any irrigation canal. Canals and canal banks are not playgrounds for children or recreation areas for adults and canals are absolutely not alternatives for supervised swimming pools," Curtis warned.

The Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District canals are private property, so playing in or near a canal is considered trespassing.

Water managers say they are expecting a good irrigation season in 2020.

"Mother Nature has recently added to the snowpack and that plus carryover water from last year, will hopefully allow for a full irrigation season. We would like to remind everyone to start prepping their own irrigation systems to receive water whether it might be a ditch or pressurized irrigation system so that they are not caught by surprise when water starts to flow, Curtis added.

The Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District supplies pressurized irrigation water to more than 17,000 individual parcels of land, including 493 subdivisions in Ada and Canyon counties. The water goes to approximately 69,000 acres of Treasure Valley agricultural and residential lands. 

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