Thursday, May 27, 2010

When The Water Comes In

Durango has a fairly dry climate where one would have a hard time producing any agricultural products without the aid of irrigation. There is a complex system of dams, rivers, canals, and ditches that create the means to store and deliver life giving water throughout the county. It is very much like the circulatory system in the human body that brings life giving blood using complex and increasingly smaller arteries until it is delivered to different bodily cells. When the water is released from the dam and sent to the land owners, it too delivers the life giving water through increasingly smaller canals and ditches until it reaches the land it is meant to moisten. This is the time of year 'when the water comes in,' and flows throughout the county.

Daisy and I decided to take a walk to see this phenomenon for ourselves. We walked up the trail toward the canal. The oakbrush has finally gotten it's leaves. It is one of the last trees to do so. Of course I had to take pictures of some of the wildflowers that are blooming. There are a lot this year-that's one benefit of a snowy winter.

These big pine trees are about half way up the trail. I like how they drop their pine needles and your feet sound different when you walk under them.

We made it up to the canal. It is several feet wide and deep. The water moves at a good pace. This is like a big artery.
The water exits out of what are called headgates. Here are two that release water into the smaller ditches that bring water to land in our area. The more you unscrew them, the more water that flows through.
You can measure how much water is flowing down the smaller ditch with one of these contraptions. It is often made of metal and is called a weir. I used to know a dentist named Dr. Weir. He shared an office with Dr. Wolf. True Story.
I think Daisy likes getting her picture taken. She's such a poser.

The water works it's way down the small ditches until it reaches it's final destination. It is used to irrigate the fields or fill the ponds where it is stored and pumped out into sprinklers at a later date.

Sometimes the huge ranch next door to us irrigates the fields a little too long. The water flows over the fields, but they can't absorb any more water and it just runs on through. They call this water 'waste water.' This is the type of water we use to fill our pond. It comes from a ranch waaaay over there. We love it when they aren't paying attention to their water because it flows right down to us.
These ducks like it too because it creates a little wet spot for them to splash around in. See them on the other side of the dried cattails?
Daisy likes it too because she can terrorize the ducks when I'm not looking until they fly away.

The waste water gets funneled into the pond where it enters through the waterfall.

And there are the ducks (they are tiny in the bottom left). They made it down to the pond too.

And that's what happens when the water comes in.


Brooke said...

You are such a fountain of information! I love it! ;)

George and Eva Ross said...

Great shots!