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Smithfield City Council signs on for canal rebuilding project

December 10th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Nick Bolinder

SMITHFIELD — The Smithfield City Council signed the cost participation agreement Friday for the Logan Northern Canal rebuilding project. Smithfield, Logan, North Logan, Hyde Park, and Cache County have all agreed to sign the agreement.

The National Resource Conservation Service allocated emergency watershed protection funds for the project. These funds will cover half of the cost. Smithfield, Hyde Park, Logan, North Logan and Cache County are responsible for the rest.

The total cost of the project is $25.8 million; the NRCS will give $19,350,000. The canal companies and the cities are respomsible for the remaining $6,450,000. Smithfield is responsible for roughly $967,500 (or 15 percent). The portions are based on how much each city benefits from the project.

The project will restore water flow in the Logan-Hyde Park-Smithfield canal, which is important for the city’s culinary water supply.

“We have been fortunate since the canal broke because we have had wet years,” said City Manager James Gass. The Logan Northern canal broke in July, 2009, which caused a landslide on Logan’s Canyon Road that resulted in the death of a mother and her two children.

The plan is to start the design process in early 2012 and begin construction in fall 2012 when the canal is dry. There is no current plan to restore the trail where the Logan Northern Canal broke in 2009, Gass said.

The city of Smithfield has a water exchange agreement with Smithfield Irrigation Company, which owns the rights to the water that flows out of Smithfield Canyon in the summer.

“The water that flows from Smithfield canyon is culinary water,” Gass said. “The water in the Logan-Hyde Park-Smithfield canal is irrigation water. We trade with the Smithfield Irrigation Company so we can have culinary water in the city.” Culinary water is the water used in your home. The water source is usualy a spring or a well. Canal water is not clean drinking water, it can come from any source such as storm water.

Several major changes are going to take place to restore water flow in the Logan Northern Canal and the Logan Hyde Park Smithfield Canal. The point of diversion will move up Logan Canyon near Second Dam. The water will flow through a pipeline to Lundstrom Park. There will be a pipeline placed at the park that will carry water underground to the Logan Northern Canal near Aggie Station on 1400 North and 800 East.

The pipeline is being used in Logan Canyon to help insure the canal won’t break again. “The pipeline will be able to hold the water safely and we will not lose any water,” Gass said.

At 1400 North and 800 East there will be a pump that will take water south in the Logan Northern Canal to allow use of water upstream from the pipeline from Lundstrom park.

The majority of the water will be flowing in the Logan Hyde Park Smithfield canal when the project is complete.

“This will allow us to use the Logan Northern Canal for storm water,” Gass said. “In the past we experienced some flooding in the canals because they weren’t built to hold that much water.”

“The cities involved in the project are working on a usage agreement, as to how we will use and maintain the canals following the project,” Gass said. “(Smithfield) may need to widen the Logan Northern Canal someday, because storm canals are different than irrigation canals.”

Gass said irrigation canals get smaller because people take the water out of the canal and storm canals grow bigger due to the storm water draining into the canal.

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