Billions of gallons of water flow through the Kennewick Irrigation District's 74 miles of canals every year.
RICHLAND, WA - Billions of gallons of water flow through the Kennewick Irrigation District's 74 miles of canals every year. 12 months ago, a breach in one of those canals flooded a Kennewick neighborhood and that wasn't the first time.
Crews are digging, dumping and moving the hard packed dirt from a canal in south Richland to make room for a newer, safer design.
"The liner that we're going to put in is going to help the old canals because of water seepage, evaporation and such. That's the big thing. Water conservation," said Senior Patrol Terry Clark.
That conservation is to the tune of 575 million gallons of water per year.
"That is about 1%, 1 1/2% of KID's annual amount. We'll use that water to better prepare ourselves for drought years so we don't need as much water those years and be able to better protect our rate payers who'll have a constant, consistent supply of water," said KID Operation and Engineering Manager Jason McShane.
The High Density Polyethylene liner, which is a type of thick plastic, will also reduce the risk of canal breaches, improving public safety and, in turn, decreasing KID's liability.
"They're reshaping the ditch. We have moved it to accommodate the road on the backside of the canal and so they're putting in the proper shape and contours, everything to it," said Clark.
An 1,800 foot section in south Richland is the first of two miles to be lined by the Kennewick Irrigation District this off-season.
"Eventually we'll have lined all of the canal system. So our program will start with this three year grant and we'll continue on as long as it takes to get the work done," said McShane.
The crew is made up of 25 field workers already on staff, which offers more bang for their buck. A $1.5 million federal grant is helping to speed up the process.
"It's a great benefit to us because the labor force we have and the equipment that we own counts towards our matching funds that that grant is given. So 1.5 million dollars gets leveraged with KID forces and we do a lot of work," said McShane.