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Coachella Canal break floods acres

April 09, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ

Staff Writer

GLAMIS — A 60-foot break in the Coachella Canal near here allowed water to flood about 15 acres of the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness area.

The break occurred last week.

Tom Levy, CVWD general manager/chief engineer, said the break occurred when water got above the level of the concrete lining and the lining broke, releasing the water.

The damage was limited to about 60 linear feet of the two-inch concrete lining on the east side of the canal about two miles north of Highway 78. The lining appears to be undercut and a large chunk of it was broken off. A number of plants to the east of the canal are flattened from the outward rush of water and the ground is still moist in several places.

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The break was discovered by a CVWD power crew, and after notifying district officials, it was closed. The ground in the area has signs of dirt being pushed toward the canal.

"We'll replace about 100 feet of lining," Levy said, adding the canal will not be drained to make the repairs. Instead, he said, a cofferdam will likely be put in place to block the water and the repairs made. "I'm not sure how we're going to do this, but I know we won't shut down the canal."

Levy said he thinks the reason for the high water was likely silt in the canal, and a CVWD dredging crew is in the area removing silt.

Representatives of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which has responsibility of the wilderness area, could not be reached for comment.

The Coachella Valley gets about 330,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water yearly from the canal.

>>Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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