Funds will cover 70 percent of cost to remove debris
FARMINGTON — The Farmers Mutual Ditch has received about $48,000 of emergency funding for repairs after a portion of the bluff above the structure collapsed into it in October.
The ditch is the main source of drinking water during most of the year for the town of Kirtland and surrounding areas that are served by the Lower Valley Water Users. It also provides irrigation water to farmers in the Kirtland and Waterflow areas.
San Juan County declared the rockslide an emergency and submitted a request for emergency funds on behalf of the ditch company.
That request resulted in a grant from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for repairs. The grant covers 70 percent of the estimated $60,000 repair costs.
Danene Sherwood, the ditch company president, said repair work has begun.
According to the press release, workers are creating an access road to the place where the landslide blocked the ditch.
The ditch is usually filled with water from March until the end of the November. Sherwood is hopeful the repairs will be complete by the time the farmers need irrigation water this spring.
“Our goal is to still have water in the ditch the first week of March,” she said.
In the press release, San Juan County emergency manager Mike Mestas echoed that sentiment.
“The hope is that water will be able to run in time for the beginning of irrigation season,” he said.
The emergency funds can only be used to clean out the ditch. The ditch company is still trying to raise money to convert part of the ditch to an underground pipe system to prevent future landslides from blocking the water.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.