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Fallen oak tree causes water outage in Ophir area

Fallen tree creates repair work
By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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Some residents of the Ophir community off of Wise Road had no water for 24 hours last Wednesday after an oak tree fell on an irrigation canal. About eight homes on Old Cypress Lane were without irrigation water, but resident Joe Leonard depends on that water for all his household needs, such as washing dishes, taking a shower and flushing the toilet. “It’s either the hottest day of the year or it happens when you have company,” Leonard said. It was 103-plus degrees when the water outage hit the Leonard residence. He’s seen this happen before and has a 55-gallon container of water for these emergencies. Next time, however, Leonard said he would appreciate a phone call from the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) if water must be shut off in the future. When NID workers shut off the canal system water, it caused sump pumps along area canals to become clogged with mud when water-storage tanks along the canal went dry. “Once your sump drains down, it gets down to the bottom and then your line sucks up all the sediment and you have a line full of mud,” Leonard said. Other residents on nearby St. Patrick’s Lane and Bell Bar did not have irrigation water for the day, but unlike Peggy and Joe Leonard, many have wells, Joe Leonard explained. The fallen oak, which was growing in one of the berms, caused one irrigation berm to break, but no serious property damage or flooding occurred, according to Don White, NID water operations manager. “We had a canal failure upstream near Atwood Road, which serves subsidiary canals in that area,” White said. “There was a breach in the canal near Mt. Vernon Road. Water was running down the berm and through someone’s backyard, so we had to shut it off, but fortunately no structural damage.” “We apologize for any inconvenience, but these things are unavoidable sometimes.” Canals closed included Combie-Ophir 4, the little Ophir, Hymas, Gold Blossom, St. Patrick’s and the Dudley Canal. White acknowledged that there have been various irrigation problems and shutoffs before in the area. For nearly two years, NID has been planning a project to put in underground pipe. However, standards set by the California Environmental Quality Act must be met as part of an environmental study. “There is a project to put in pipe, in the works,” White said. “This has been a problem in the area. Construction should start in the spring or fall of next year. There’s a lot of effort put forth before a project can even get off the ground. There has to be an environmental impact study.” In the meantime, Joe Leonard faired better than his wife Peggy during this water outage. He had taken a shower that afternoon