A breach in an irrigation canal south of Redmond floods Young Avenue, acres of farmland and two residential properties.
Repairs on the canal are under way and the floodwaters are receding, revealing a soggy, muddy mess.
The breach in the Pilot Butte main canal near Young Avenue occurred around 9 p.m. Wednesday night.
Most of the water that was flowing down the canal leaked out through the breach and flooded surrounding fields, a couple of homes, and a quarter mile stretch of Young Avenue in water 3 feet deep.
“We had crews on site at 9:30 placing material. That material combined with turning off the water, by about 1:30 a.m., we had stopped all the water flowing out of the canal,” said Craig Horrell, Central Oregon Irrigation District Managing Director.
Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies went door to door making sure everyone was safe and offering sandbags and sump pumps.
I spoke to one Young Avenue property owner who said six inches of water got into their garage.
They spent much of the night moving sensitive items into their house which stayed dry.
“We are pretty confident that the failure here was due to ground burrowing animals. We believe it was rock chucks or marmots,” Horrell said.
The Pilot Butte canal conveys water to more than 17,000 acres of irrigated farmland from Bend, north through Redmond and all the way to Terrebonne.
All the farmers who depend on the canal are without water until the breach is repaired.
“What we do with a breach like this is take large boulders and place them like a jetty. Then we come in with a clay gravel mixture that acts as a sealant and place it over that. It takes many, many truckloads to make an impact on that. We’ll continue to assess and work with our engineers to make sure we’ve completed the fix correctly,” Horrell said.
Young Avenue between 61st and South Canal Boulevard remains closed, probably for a couple of days, until the floodwaters recede and the road bed can be inspected.