Clogged canal floods Orchard Mesa neighborhood

An Orchard Mesa neighborhood was flooded Tuesday evening after a debris-choked irrigation canal overran its banks, sending water cascading through several residents’ homes and yards.

The flooding occurred in the area of Rainbow Drive on the south side of U.S. Highway 50 after the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District began allowing water to flow into Orchard Mesa Canal No. 1 Tuesday morning. Several residents said irrigation district employees failed to clean the canal before starting the irrigation water, causing it to become clogged with weeds, trash and other debris.

“They didn’t do anything to mitigate it,” said Kevin Elisha, whose family lives on A 3/4 Road.

Water spilled out of the canal and rushed down Rainbow Drive and A 3/4 Road, extending all the way out to U.S. 50. Crews with the irrigation district, the city of Grand Junction and Mesa County were trying to get a handle on the rushing water Tuesday evening. Workers attempted to clean out a clogged pipe that’s supposed to carry irrigation water under Rainbow Drive but didn’t appear to be having much success as of 8:30 p.m.

The extent of the damage wasn’t clear Tuesday night, but several neighbors reported flooding in homes and yards. The Elishas said water filled their crawlspace and ran through their garage. Kevin Elisha’s wife, Laurie Jo, said she’s concerned about the house’s foundation.

The manager of the irrigation district couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday night.


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