Seasonal Operational Changes in the Milk River Project

The milk river water supply system changes its operations depending on precipitation and irrigation needs.

Clayton Jordan the Supervisor of River Operations explains what determines operation changes along the system.

“Our operations are really year to year, and it being authorized for irrigation, irrigation demands really drive the operation, and so we operate to maximize the available water supply. So, capturing as much of the available water in storage, but as far as releases, that is driven by irrigation demand, and of course irrigation demand is driven by the climate. So just how hot, how wet, how dry conditions are really drive the operations of Milk River Project.”-Clayton Jordan

Clayton then explains what will be happening next regarding river operations.

One of the first steps kicking off the season is at some point here we’ll be starting up diversions at the St. Mary Canal. So basically, when we do start up the St. Mary Canal, we can start moving that water that is in the St. Mary basin and get it into the Milk River Basin for storage in Fresno. We do try to position Fresno Reservoir to be as full as possible with the given water supply before the start of the irrigation season, so that’s what we’re trying to accomplish by starting up the St. Mary Canal and moving that water. St Mary Canal typically can start as early as mid-March on much wetter years it can start much later if there is not the water needed in the Milk River Basin, but this year we’re looking at April first for a startup date.” -Clayton Jordan

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