Water could be turned on sometime late next week, depending on how well the project goes Monday, Ken Hubbs, who operates the ditch, said.
Irrigation water to about 650 homes was turned off Aug. 11 when a rockslide toppled onto the irrigation canal operated by Farmers Mutual Ditch in Kirtland.
With high temperatures and little moisture of late, time is slipping away for the alfalfa farmers in the area who need to water their crop soon if they want to have successful second or third harvest this growing season, said Bob Bond, a member of the ditch association who farms about an acre of crops for recreation.
"They can't go three weeks (without water), I guarantee it," he said.
A week after the rockslide closed the ditch, construction companies have not been able to start clearing away debris.
The rock wall that rises above the damaged section of canal is unstable and sections of the cliff will have to be removed before construction can begin, Hubbs said.
A company from Dolores, Colo., was hired to assist with cleanup and on Friday work crews dug pits for explosives to blast the site, Hubbs said.
The homes without irrigation water together own 4,200 acres of farmland, Hubbs said.
Fixing the irrigation canal is estimated to cost $250,000, said Mike Stark, the San Juan County operations officer.
The resolution up for vote on Tuesday says the county can give Farmers Mutual Ditch up to $62,500 to repair the ditch.
"It's a significant amount of money so we have to get approval from our commission," Stark said.
Stark said the county and Farmers Mutual Ditch will negotiate an agreement for paying back the county funds.
In addition to threatening local crops, Stark said the ditch needs to be repaired because it is the primary source of water for the Lower Valley Water Association. Lower Valley provides domestic water to about 8,000 people in the Kirtland area.
"It has to get fixed, one way or the other," Stark said.
Lower Valley is pulling water from the San Juan River and relying on reserve water to keep providing water flowing at Kirtland homes.
In addition to the county's funds going to the project, county officials expect the state to provide the ditch association with emergency funds to pay for the additional cost to fix the ditch, Stark said.
In April of 2007, a rockslide closed the ditch for nearly two weeks, Hubbs said.
In response to that slide, the state of New Mexico Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security paid for 95 percent of the cleanup and the county contributed $14,000, Stark said.
"Whenever you have citizens in need, especially those in the business of farming where you have caught them in the peak of their season, I think it's important for us to take a look at how we can assist," Stark said.