Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District
The following is a complete list of all projects included in the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District (LNID) under this program. There are four modernization projects.
Lateral H1 Phase 2 Pipeline
The Lateral H1 Phase 2 will replace an open ditch system that requires daily return flow in order to operate. This return flow ends up in the Battersea Drain, which is monitored for return flow volumes. The past three years averaged 3900 acre-feet* of spill annually at the Battersea Drain from Lateral J12, which will be completely removed once this project is completed. The Battersea Drain will cease to be a daily return flow channel for the LNID once this project is completed, with the Battersea Drain only receiving water from the LNID when pipelines are emptied during flushing, drained due to a pipe break, drained at the end of the season, or experiencing an emergency event. The Battersea Drain will however continue to be used for over land drainage in Lethbridge County to convey drainage water to the Oldman River. The Lateral J12 canal itself has other losses due to seepage and evaporation. Another savings of water will be realized from new automated controls being added to upstream infrastructure. The pipeline will be serviced from a location controlled by three gates further upstream on the main canal. In addition, since this project is a high pressure gravity pipeline, it will eliminate 19 landowner pump systems that service 25 parcels.
Phase 1 of this project was constructed in the winter of 2020/2021 and is now in use. Phase 2 of this project will be constructed in the winter of 2021/2022 and will be in use for the 2022 irrigation season.
Phase 2 Initial estimate: $8,000,000.
Lateral J1 Pipeline
The Lateral J1 Pipeline will replace an open ditch system and remove other deliveries from an open canal. The return flow is estimated at 100 acre-feet annually. Removing the deliveries from an open canal system reduces the return flows further downstream, as the pipeline will be serviced from a location controlled by three gates upstream on the main canal. This allows for greater efficiency in keeping the water nearer the storage location, reducing reaction time of the system and reducing the downstream return flows. In addition, since this project is a high pressure gravity pipeline, it will eliminate 19 landowner pump systems that service 21 parcels.
This project will be constructed in the winter of 2021/2022 and will be in use for the 2022 irrigation season.
Initial estimate: $1,900,000.
Lateral 61C Main Canal
Piping the Lateral 61C Main Canal from Park Lake towards Coalhurst will allow greater flow control of this canal system. The bulk of the water usage will be better controlled via a multiple gate system in concert with this pipeline, which only releases water from Park Lake upon demand of the large pipelines north of Coalhurst. At the current time, there are difficulties in controlling the amount of water flowing past the highest demand points, which then causes more water as return flow to the river. Having a better controlled system increases efficiency and reaction time for water delivery and keeps water in Park Lake, rather than spilling it through West Lethbridge or through the Lateral C12 spillway. The average annual return flow for this system is 1100 acre-feet. Piping this part of the main canal should reduce that by approximately 30 per cent. As this is also primarily a concrete canal, further reduction in seepage and evaporation losses will occur.
The Lateral 61C Canal also has a major bottleneck further downstream at the CPR syphon, just before the canal enters West Lethbridge. Controlling the amount of water in this section is crucial due to the limit in the flow of water that can cross through the syphon. Piping Lateral 61C will reduce having to try to bypass water to the river prior to this syphon to reduce flooding landowners upstream of the syphon.
Construction is scheduled in the winter of 2022/2023.
Initial estimate: $5,000,000.
Automation Controls Upgrade Project
The Automation Project is based upon a study that was completed in 2019. Inefficiencies, repairs and upgrades were identified, and a scheduled plan was created for these upgrades. The changes to the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system will allow for better communication and control of water through the LNID System, further reducing the amount of water returned to the river. The end goal is to bring total canal control to the system, which should create at least 500 acre-feet annually in water savings.
This project is currently in the construction phase and should be completed in the summer of 2022.
Initial estimate: $900,000.
*An acre-foot covers one acre of land, one foot deep.