Willet Ditch reopens in Animas Park after diversion gates are repaired

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
A project to repair and replace some of the diversion gates on the Willet Ditch in Animas Park is expected to be completed this week.

FARMINGTON — Workers from the Farmington Electric Utility System are expected to wrap up work April 1 on a project that called for repairing some of the diversion gates on the Willet Ditch in Animas Park.

City spokeswoman Georgette Allen said the project, which began on March 14 and led to the construction of temporary diversion dams on the river to halt the flow of water through the ditch, said the work was performed because some of the aging gates weren't operating properly.

Animas River water flows back into the Willet Ditch in Animas Park on March 31 after diversion dams were removed so that diversion gates could be repaired.

The diversion dams were removed earlier this week, and the ditch has been refilled with water.

The project included creating a ramp at the headgates for access and rebuilding two diversion gates, she said. Once the work began, workers realized the first gate had deteriorated so badly it had to be replaced. In the case of the second diversion gate, she said, the gate also had to be replaced, but the frame was able to be used.

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A backhoe sits in Farmington's Animas Park on March 31 after temporary diversion dams were removed from the Willet Ditch.

Allen said the gates had to be repaired so that the ditch could be controlled and shut off when necessary.

The Willet Ditch is perhaps best known as the site of the Duck Race fundraiser during the annual Riverfest celebration in Animas and Berg parks over Memorial Day weekend. Proceeds from this year's Duck Race, which takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 29, will benefit the River Reach Foundation and Kiwanis Rio del Sol.

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Animas River water flows through the Willet Ditch in Farmington's Animas Park on March 31 after two diversion dams were removed.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.