Repairs completed on broken siphon at NAPI

The Daily Times staff
Jeremy Simpson, a safety manager at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, talks on May 25 about repairs on a siphon that delivers water to NAPI farmlands south of Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Work to repair a broken section of the system that delivers water to Navajo Agricultural Products Industry has been completed, and testing will start this weekend.

NAPI CEO Wilton Charley said today that initial plans are to slowly fill the siphon with water on Saturday and then conduct two phases of testing.

If testing is successful, the entire siphon will be filled and then slowly released into the canal that feeds NAPI, he said.

Water delivery to the 80,000-acre farm stopped May 13 after the siphon near Kutz Wash breached. Repairs on a 40-foot portion of the siphon started after a custom-fabricated pipe arrived May 29 from Yuma, Ariz.

Subcontractors worked 24 hours, seven days a week to complete the repair, Charley said.

The cause of the breach remains under evaluation by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Technical Service Center in Denver, he said.

Water that was in the canal before service stopped was used to water priority crops until the water ran out a week ago, Charley said.

He added it could take up to two weeks to complete a full assessment of the impact on NAPI's crops, as well as the financial effect.

NAPI will continue discussions with the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is responsible for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project, to mitigate future infrastructure risk, Charley said.