The Farmers Union Canal (FUC) diversion structure and adjacent headgates bifurcate the Rio Grande into its north and south channels downstream of Del Norte, CO. By controlling flows into the North Channel, this important irrigation infrastructure delivers water to the FUC (140 water users) and nine other irrigation ditches, irrigating a combined 42,980 acres. Crops grown include alfalfa, barley, potatoes, wheat, sorghum, small grains, vegetables such as lettuce, and grass pasture for livestock grazing.
The Farmers Union Canal Diversion and Headgate Improvement Project (Project) is a multi-benefit project to replace the FUC diversion dam and headgates with new structures that divert more efficiently and provide watershed health benefits, including providing fish and boat passage. The FUC diversion and headgate are aging and in need of repair. A new diversion dam and automated headgates are critical to improve ditch operations, reduce maintenance, and protect the FUC’s full water rights into the future. In addition, the new diversion dam will include fish and boat passage, connecting aquatic habitat and improving community safety. Finally, the project will include adjacent streambank stabilization to protect the diversion infrastructure, reduce sedimentation in the river, improve water quality for downstream users, and enhance surrounding wildlife habitat.
Designs have been completed and construction is scheduled for 2024. Project Partners are currently seeking final implementation funding.