Shutting down irrigation systems is not as simple as you think - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Shutting down irrigation systems is not as simple as you think

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YAKIMA, WA - Cooler temperatures are coming, which means your local water irrigation systems might be shutting off soon.

Reporter Haley Gibbs spoke with workers at the Roza Irrigation District today and learned that the process is a lot more complex than just the flip of a switch.

It takes about five days to fully drain the canals because they have to do it nice and slow, otherwise the sides of the canals would cave in. Before they can even start this process, the ditchriders have to make their way around 7,000 acres, checking their district's delivery points, valves, meters, and make repairs if necessary. This process alone takes over a week.

The gates usually start closing between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning on October 1st. From there, the canals slowly dry up, which happens faster the further upstream your town sits. This means that Yakima County dries up a bit faster than Benton County.

From there, the irrigation system's busy season truly begins.

"The road department usually does most of their work in the summer, and we have to be delivering water," said Scott Revell, Roza Irrigation District Manager. "There's a lot of work that you can't do when there's water in the canal. So there's more to look at it when the canal's empty because you can see the bottom."

To be ready for the next upcoming season, Roza Irrigation will start their shutdown process on October 20th.

In the Tri-Cities, Columbia Irrigation will begin on October 15th, and the Kennewick Irrigation District on October 17th.

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