Bitterroot Irrigation District almost ready for season


HAMILTON, Mont. - Irrigators served by the Bitterroot Irrigation District should start seeing water flow into the Big Ditch Sunday or Monday.

The district serves 1,400 agricultural water users along a 72-mile corridor from Lake Como north of Darby to Eagle Watch south of Florence.

Crews started releasing water last Monday, but shut it off to repair a crack in the siphon carrying water from the lake on the valley's west side, to the east side across the Bitterroot River.

Crews repaired the crack Friday, and water will be gradually released to irrigators in the coming week.

"We're expecting a great water year," said BRID manager John Crowley.

He said heavy snowpack may forecast a green year.

Crowley urges irrigators to clean and maintain their own ditches to ensure a clean flow of water.

Debris accumulates in the off season and can plug up ditches, and cause flooding.