ENVIRONMENT

The GSL’s flood irrigation system is about to get more efficient

Oct 12, 2023, 2:00 PM

Austin Thomas and Travis Call install some of the 3,000 feet of irrigation pipeline to replace ditc...

Austin Thomas and Travis Call install some of the 3,000 feet of irrigation pipeline to replace ditches on the New Harvey pastures in Davis County on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — An old flood irrigation system at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve is getting a much-needed facelift.

The Nature Conservancy in Utah is improving the flood irrigation system on the 200 acres that are part of the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve. The preserve’s manager Mike Kolendrianos said their irrigation system before was practically ancient.

It was “basically just earthen ditches,” he said. “We’d just start sending water down there and it would go wherever it would want to go. We would have to manipulate it to get it to places.”

Kolendrianos said that using the old system was really labor-intensive. The new system will be much more efficient and will save 5% to 10% of their water. The project will cost $250,000 and is funded in part by a grant from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Officials said migrating birds and grazing cattle will also benefit from the new system.

“We’ll flood irrigate these pastures,” Kolendrianos said. “And they’ll attract all kinds of white-faced ibis, other types of shorebirds that are here during the summertime.”

Cattle will be able to graze more easily and there will be more feed for cattle with the new irrigation system.

The new system should be up and running by next spring.

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The GSL’s flood irrigation system is about to get more efficient