Nevada Irrigation to examine possible fixes to Hemphill Dam at June 8 meeting | TheUnion.com
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Nevada Irrigation to examine possible fixes to Hemphill Dam at June 8 meeting

Workers install flashboards at the Hemphill Dam on the Auburn Ravine. The Nevada Irrigation District board will discuss potentially removing the dam, or diversion structure, at its June 8 meeting.
Submitted Photo |

The NID board next month will examine possible solutions to water flow and fish migration at the Hemphill Dam, though any permanent fix remains years away.

The Engineering Committee of the Nevada Irrigation District opted Tuesday to send two potential fixes to the main board. Both options — a river bank filtration sump pump and a Ranney well system — must clear several bureaucratic hurdles before construction could begin.

“It will take a long time,” said Gary King, NID’s engineering manager. “You could be looking at a window four years down the road.”



At issue is a portion of the dam on the Auburn Ravine that possibly has settled over the years. The water flow is sufficient to serve Lincoln-area residents, though some fish no longer can swim upstream.

Removing the dam, or diversion facility, would enable fish to get upstream. However, it would impact NID’s ability to direct water to Lincoln customers.




That led committee members on Tuesday to send the two proposals to the main board on June 8.

Consultants with Kleinschmidt analyzed the problem and presented several options to the committee. They recommended the river bank filtration sump pump, which has an estimated cost of $173,600, not including permitting and other fees. It would cost some $20,000 a year to power the pump system.

President Nancy Weber, an NID board member who also serves on the engineering committee, said she wanted the full to board to discuss a second option and suggested the Ranney well system.

That second option has an estimated price tag of over $2 million.

No specific time line exists for the project, though King said he could return with additional studies late this year or in early 2017 if the board approves a project on June 8.

“We’re here to protect our natural resources,” said Chip Close, NID operations manager. “That’s what we’re all here for.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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