A test of a temporary electric pumping system for the Corrales Siphon proved successful March 13, meaning farmers should be able to get water to irrigate during the upcoming growing season.
The siphon, a wooden pipe that runs below the Rio Grande and into Corrales’ main channel on the west side of the river, sometimes called the Corrales Feeder, where it flows into the village’s irrigation system, broke last year.
Officials scrambled to install diesel-powered generators to pump water into the irrigation system so irrigators could get water during the growing season.
Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District CEO and Chief Engineer Jason Casuga said the electric pump system should get farmers through the summer and beyond.
“This temporary pumping operation pulls water right out of the river and delivers it into the canal where the siphon outlet would be,” he said in a news release. “It cannot provide the same volume the siphon can, but we think it provides an operational volume to satisfy the demand for this year.
“Last year, we had diesel pumps,” he continued. “They were more inefficient and required a lot more inspection and maintenance. It also put diesel right next to the bosque.”
The conversion to electric pumps was done with the help of PNM, which was able to bring power to the site.
“They will be quieter than the diesel pumps, provide more reliable service, and eliminate having diesel a stone’s throw away from the bosque,” Casuga said.
He said the electric pumps will ensure irrigation water delivery to farmers in Corrales and Albuquerque irrigators on the westside of the river.
Casuga emphasized that the electric pumps are a temporary solution until the siphon is replaced.
“We have sought funding through the Water Trust Board to build a new siphon, underneath the river, and we are continuing to move those efforts forward,” he said.
Casuga said the electric pumps may have to serve irrigators for the next two growing season.
“I believe we will have the permanent siphon in place by the start of the 2025 irrigation season,” said Casuga.
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