March 18, 2016 - 4:10 PM
PENTICTON - Work is progressing on a major irrigation pipe damaged by a large rockfall earlier this year near Oliver.
The pipe near Gallagher Lake was badly damaged on January 25 after boulders fell on it.
Oliver mayor Ron Hovanes says the rock scaling work on the cliff above the pipe should be finished today, March 18.
“They’re just getting to the point where it’s safe enough for our engineering firm and our workers to get in the pipe for assessment,” Hovanes says.
The concrete irrigation pipe, which is six feet in diameter, is going to be temporarily repaired with a four foot diameter sleeve along more than 30 feet of its length, he says. Once the pipe is sleeved, foam will be sprayed between the two pipes and the ends sealed.
After a landslide in 1997 that damaged an open portion of the irrigation canal built in the 1920s, the pipe was buried in this particular section.
Hovanes says it was thought at the time, burying the pipe would provide an additional layer of protection.
"Hopefully we can get all that (repair) work done by the first week of April... for the start of the irrigation season," he says. “We have to. This is the lifeblood of our whole farming area."
Following this year’s irrigation season, the whole pipe will need to be excavated, the damaged section removed and rebuilt, and something more done to mitigate the slope next to the ditch to prevent further rockfall damage.
Council has set aside water reserves to deal with repairs to the pipe, adding those reserves were intended to go to capital works outlined in the five year budget plan.
“We’ve earmarked $475,000 to go towards this project. We have asked the province for assistance and I’m waiting to hear back from them but we’re hoping,” he says. “I’ve been saying this is a bigger issue than the (water supply for the) Town of Oliver because there are 600 farms, wineries and industrial users who get water from us.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016