No word on state funding for ditch

Farmers Mutual estimates cleaning the ditch will cost $80,000; piping would cost $300,000 to $400,000

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
A rock slide Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, blocked Farmers Mutual Ditch near Kirtland.
  • Ditch president urges people to call legislators and ask for support to fix the ditch

FARMINGTON — San Juan County and Farmers Mutual Ditch administrators don't yet know if the state will send emergency financial assistance to help clear out the more than 100-year-old water channel following a rock slide in October.

The county declared the rock slide a disaster and asked the state for funding to help clean it up.

Danene Sherwood, the ditch president, said cleaning it out will likely cost $80,000. The ditch company would also like to put pipe in a 500-foot section of the ditch so that it will no longer be impacted by rock slides. Sherwood said piping the ditch could cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said emergency funding sought by the county on behalf of the ditch will likely not cover installing any pipe.

Without assistance from the state, Sherwood said the ditch company will be placing a "Band-Aid" on the problem rather than fixing it.

"Nothing is going to keep the mountain from coming down," she said.

Sherwood said the only way to fix the problem is to install a pipe.

"We're going to have another slide, probably next year, and nobody knows where it's going to be," she said.

The ditch was dug in the late 1800s and provides irrigation water to Kirtland and surrounding areas. It is also one of the sources of drinking water for Lower Valley Water and Sanitation District, which serves Kirtland.

"It's what brings the lush green life to the valley," Sherwood said.

She said without the ditch, the Kirtland area would be a dust bowl.

The ditch company is urging people to call legislators and ask them for support in fixing the ditch.

Carpenter said he would like to see the ditch flowing again by March, but there is a lot of work needed to get to that point.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at