Montana canal siphon splits open, flooding area and threatening local farming industry

Jun 18, 2024, 10:16 AM

BABB, Mont. (AP) — Montana state officials were scurrying Tuesday to stop flooding caused by the breakage of a century-old pipe used to deliver drinking water to 14,000 residents and carry irrigation water to farms.

No injuries or deaths have been reported since the pipe split open Monday, causing flooding in the rural area east of Glacier National Park near the U.S.-Canadian border. The gushing of water from the 90-inch (229-centimeter) diameter pipe caused some washouts 50 feet (15.24 meters) deep, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The breach in the St. Mary Canal siphon, which serves 120,000 acres (48,562 hectares) of irrigated land, happened one month before a $100 million replacement project was set to begin and during the peak irrigation season when demand for diverted water is at its highest. Local officials with the Milk River Project, the organization set to oversee the replacement project, labeled the breach a “catastrophic failure,” which could result in an economic disaster for north-central Montana.

The flooding already has caused property damage and road closures and could cause utility disruptions in the surrounding areas. Although the canal had been shut down before the failure, the hillside and a nearby bar, hotel and arena sustained significant damage, project leaders said.

Ryan Newman, the Bureau of Reclamation’s Montana area manager, said emergency response teams are assessing the damage and working to identify what caused the failure.

The agency’s 2023 study of the upcoming replacement project warned that such a failure would affect farmers through reduced crop production and could place a strain on local businesses and communities. The extent of the economic impact, which has yet to be determined, will depend on how long it takes crews to restore the flow of diversion water to local producers.

National News

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

1 hour ago

FILE - President Ronald Reagan waves and then looks up before being shoved into the President's lim...

Associated Press

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and his response changed the trajectory of his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The would-be assassin got off six shots in 1.7 seconds, nearly taking the life of a president and changing the trajectory of a presidency. It happened on a dreary March afternoon in 1981. President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel after giving a speech to a union group when John […]

2 hours ago

A 150 million year old dinosaur skeleton is displayed at the Natural History Museum's new welcome c...

Associated Press

Gnatalie is the only green-boned dinosaur found on the planet. She will be on display in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest dinosaur being mounted at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles is not only a member of a new species — it’s also the only one found on the planet whose bones are green, according to museum officials. Named “Gnatalie” (pronounced Natalie) for the gnats that swarmed during the […]

3 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage by U.S. Sec...

Associated Press

What we know about the 20-year-old suspect in the apparent assassination attempt of Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The man identified as the shooter in the apparent assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump was a 20-year-old from a Pittsburg suburb not far from the campaign rally where one attendee was killed. Authorities say Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, opened fire at the rally before being killed by […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Trump is injured but ‘fine’ after apparent assassination attempt leaves rally-goer and gunman dead

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — On the heels of an apparent attempt to kill him, former President Donald Trump called Sunday for unity and resilience as shocked leaders across the political divide recoiled from the shooting that left him injured but “fine” and the gunman and a rally-goer dead. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the […]

4 hours ago

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

8 hours ago

Montana canal siphon splits open, flooding area and threatening local farming industry