Irrigation canal crumbles leaving households without water - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Irrigation canal crumbles leaving households without water

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Richland, WA-About eight thousand families from West Richland to Finley are without irrigation water for up to the next two weeks.

The Columbia Irrigation District's main canal broke this morning along Columbia Park Trail.  

Scott Woodward lives just above where the canal ruptured. He says he woke up at dawn and thought a jetliner was flying over his house.

"It got louder and louder, so I came out to take a look. We've definitely got an interesting water feature outside our home now."

Where the older dirt canal meets newer concrete lining, the canal crumbled, sending a torrent of water into the slough along Columbia Park Trail.

"The water under minded underneath, probably the concrete lining and started washing it out.," said Keith Martin, Columbia Irrigation District Director.

 The automated system at Wanawish Dam shut down the main gate. The water and the erosion continued for several hours.

Martin says this has been a trouble spot, and he says there are more trouble spots along the 42 miles of canal. The district manager says there's no telling what trouble may be hidden beneath a system built more than 100 years ago.  He says the district will most likely consider lining this stretch of canal with concrete over the winter.