Potential $89 Million in Economic Losses Due to Irrigation Tunnel Collapse

Written by on August 16, 2019

Wyoming and Nebraska could suffer an $89 million economic loss if crops on the 107,000 acres affected by an irrigation tunnel collapse near Fort Laramie are a total loss–according to information from the University of Wyoming and Nebraska Extension services.
Inspection and repairs have continued since the July 17th collapse and resulting breach of the Goshen/Gering-Fort Laramie Canal. The tunnel is a key component connecting water from the North Platte River to a canal system in Wyoming and Nebraska. The tunnel is 2,200-foot long–about 110 feet below ground and about 14 feet in diameter. It is unknown when water will be returned to the canal.
The economic analysis assumes a total loss of corn–dry edible beans and sugar beets in the region and one-third loss of alfalfa production–said Brian Lee and Roger Coupal–agricultural economists with the University of Wyoming.
Other crops grown in this area were not considered due to lack of data–Lee said. Potential indemnity payments were not included because of the uncertainty of crop losses being covered by crop insurance.

Photo Credit: University of Nebraska Crop Watch


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