A number of City of Grand Junction Water Division and Engineering employees were recognized Wednesday for their creativity and effort in implementing a necessary water supply project, and in the process saving over $40,000 while also improving operational efficiency and employee safety.
The issue at hand was debris and sediment collecting in the Kannah Creek water supply intake which was impacting water flow. The debris buildup, especially during spring runoff, was necessitating the inefficient practice of staff manually clearing the blockage which built up against a vertical screen multiple times per day.
Engineering staff was confident there had to be a better way and it turns out there was. A plan was conceived and designed to better screen the flow and prevent the sediment from collecting. The plan involved installing a device known as a “Farmers Screen” which could greatly improve the water intake process while requiring minimal maintenance. The horizontal, flat-plate fish screen supports the management of debris and sediment, as well as ensures the safe passage of the Colorado Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Brook trout that live in Kannah Creek as water is diverted for reservoir storage that supports the City’s water supply. Utilizing the flow of the diverted water itself, sediment, debris, and fish are swept across the screen surface and back to the river via a bypass channel.
The plan to install the Screen was ready to go, but when the project was put out for bid, only one proposal was received and it was significantly over the budgeted amount. Faced with a dilemma, Water Division employees realized they had the necessary skillsets, materials and tools to perform the installation themselves, and the project was able to move ahead, significantly under budget and in time for the spring runoff season.
Utilities Director Randi Kim said, “Our staff worked to install the screen in just four days, an extremely aggressive schedule requiring long hours and a spirit of teamwork to complete the job safely. There were a number of field modifications that had to be implemented to ensure that the equipment was installed correctly for our application. The team responded with a can-do attitude and we were able to begin diverting water again through the Kannah Creek pipeline before spring runoff season started. As we are experiencing Severe Drought conditions this year, this was an especially important goal to achieve.”
The Farmers Screen device, which was invented in Hood River, Oregon by the Farmers Irrigation District and is distributed exclusively by the Farmers Conservation Alliance*, is the first of its kind to be installed in Colorado. There are only 43 others in place in the United States, and this is the first to be installed in a municipal water supply system.
For more information on the City of Grand Junction Water Division, visit www.gjcity.org/residents/water-services/.
*About Farmers Conservation Alliance
Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA®) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Hood River, Oregon, and is the sole supplier for the Farmers Screen. Focused on pioneering irrigation modernization strategies that achieve conservation benefits and agricultural resilience, FCA partners with farmers and irrigators throughout the west to install fish screens and develop customized approaches for broad-scale irrigation modernization. Learn more about their work at fcasolutions.org.
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