Florida Farmers Ditch Company

The Florida Farmers Ditch Company (FFDC) delivers adjudicated water and storage water from Lemon Reservoir north of Durango in La Plata County, Colorado. In recent years, the volume of water available to FFDC irrigators has decreased. In the 2013 irrigation season, for example, each shareholder received only 38 percent of their total allotment and the Florida Farmers Ditch stopped delivering water on July 7, 2013—three months earlier than the typical irrigation season. In an effort to secure additional water through conservation, the FFDC undertook an ambitious project make more water available by lining their canals to increase efficiency and reduce water loss.
 
With grants from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), plus in-kind contributions, as well as contracting and engineering assistance, they lined 6,000 feet of earth ditch with geomembrane and shotcrete in 2012. This year they are lining an additional 1.1 miles with geomembrane and concrete filled geoweb. Overall the project included the installation of approximately 12,000 lineal feet of impermeable ditch liner.
 
The project has been so successful that there are essentially no water losses in the newly lined reaches of ditch, with resulting water savings in the range of 4-6 cubic feet per second. Average annual water savings range from 1,170 to 2,146 acre-feet (AF) or 4-6% of total average year diversions. Estimated annual water savings for a dry-year is 1,047 to 1,571 AF or 8-13% of total dry-year diversions. The project demonstrates successful collaboration between a number of entities including the BOR, CWCB, and the FFDC.