Nebraska authorities baffled by lacking canal water thriller

FURNAS COUNTY, Neb. (AP) — Authorities in Nebraska are attempting to find out who launched 16 million gallons of water by opening a dam on an irrigation channel one night time this month — and why.

The puzzling water launch from the Cambridge Canal diminished the circulate to some 18,000 acres of crops and jeopardized costly irrigation tools, based on Brad Edgerton, the overall supervisor of the Frenchman Cambridge Irrigation District that runs the almost 48-mile-long waterway.

The canal was flowing at its regular charge of 150 cubic ft per second when Edgerton checked on his laptop on the night time of Aug. 13, however by the next morning the circulate had been reduce in half. One thing had occurred on the canal’s dam close to the city of Cambridge, about 200 miles west of Lincoln.

Edgerton drove there and found that somebody had wrenched open the dam’s two 10-foot sluice gates, sending the dear water down the Republican River. He estimates that about 50-acre-feet of water was misplaced through the roughly eight hours that the gates have been open, and that the water was value round $2,600 based mostly on the $52-per-acre-foot value that farmers pay.

“It was an unlucky state of affairs. Within the scheme of issues, it wasn’t lots of water, however it was an inconvenience,” he stated.

Edgerton scrambled to inform farmers downstream about the issue, referred to as the sheriff and contacted the Bureau of Reclamation to get extra water launched from the Harry Strunk Reservoir to replenish the canal.

Furnas County Sheriff Doug Brown told the Lincoln Journal Star that he might solely guess why somebody would launch the water.

“There are lots of totally different eventualities and theories,” he stated. “However there isn’t any proof to lean a technique or one other, so all theories are nonetheless viable.”

Edgerton stated he thinks the sheriff is following up on each rumor he hears however up to now is stumped.

“I don’t imagine they’re any nearer to fixing it,” he stated Thursday.

It’s not clear if any state legislation governs the act of releasing canal water again right into a river — or offers penalties — however Furnas County Lawyer Patrick Calkins stated he’ll attempt to discover one if the sheriff does discover out who grabbed the hand crank wheel from the place it hung close by and used it to open the gates.

“If we get info on who did this, I’d have a look at charging that individual with one thing,” Calkins stated.

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