In 1982 Casper-Alcova Irrigation District (CAID), the City of Casper, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) entered into an agreement by which the City of Casper would be able to purchase water from the CAID for municipal purposes. Water available to the City of Casper could only come from water conserved by the CAID through improvements to their conveyance system. CAID agreed to develop a System Improvement Program to conserve 7000 acre-feet of water per year which would be available to the City. Funds provided by the City would then by used to improve areas of the canal and laterals for greater water conveyance efficiency.
Following CAID's agreement with the City of Casper and the USBR with technical assistance from the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (SCS), a long range plan was developed to identify water loss areas. Laterals were ranked as to their potential for loss. Eight laterals were given priority for study because they were predicted as having relatively high losses. These eight laterals included 210, 218, 256, 102, 57, 128, and 128-17. Field investigations were initiated to obtain data for estimating water loss and for recommending subsequent improvements to areas of the canal and specific laterals.
In April 1987, the Wyoming Water Research Center received a request from the Board of Control (State Engineer's Office) for assistance with a problem area in the Casper Alcova Irrigation District-City of Casper System Improvement Program. This problem area included a segment of lower lateral 256. Described as lying within Sections 7 and 18 in Township 34 North, Range 81 West and Sections 8 and 17 in Township 34 North, Range 80 West. There are four sublaterals within the 6,592 ft. canal study area; 256-50R, 256-50L, 256-52R, and 256-55R. The segment had been studied for four years previous with inconclusive results as to the amount of water lost from the system (CAID-City of Casper, System Improvement Program, 1986 Progress Report). Water Center staff met with Leslie Horsch of the CAID to obtain information about the problem area and to see how the Water Center could assist with acquiring representative data on lateral 256.
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