Release For Immediate Use
Contact: Roger Batt: (208) 412-5760

Couch in canalThat canal or ditch near your back yard is not a convenient trash disposal site to dump yard waste, unwanted items, or household it shouldn’t be treated like it is.

That’s a message from the Treasure Valley Valley’s irrigation delivery entities that operate approximately 1,500 miles of canals, laterals and ditches that carry and deliver precious irrigation water to agricultural and residential water users.

“This year we have already observed an alarming increase in household waste being dumped into our irrigation facilities, and along easements,” said Mark Zirschky, Superintendent of Pioneer Irrigation District. “We are spending more and more of our patrons’ money to properly dispose of trash. That should not be the burden of our water users.”

The safe and efficient delivery of irrigation water is so important that 42-1209 Idaho Statute specifically prohibits the dumping of any debris into a canal or ditch because it can interfere with the delivery of irrigation water. 18-4306 Idaho Statute also says that criminal actions can be taken against an individual who litters or otherwise interferes with irrigation delivery operations.

“Idaho law is very clear. It is unlawful to dump any kind of debris into a canal or a ditch or onto its bank. Yet for some reason this law is blatantly ignored,” said Roger Batt, Executive Director of the Treasure Valley Water Users Association. “It’s really frustrating that some look at a canal or a ditch as a waste disposal site. It’s ridiculous that our irrigation delivery entities have to spend their time and resources taking care of someone else’s trash problem.”

Some irrigation delivery entities feel that the reason for seeing so much trash in canals and ditches is due to the rapid growth in the Valley.

“As the Valley’s population grows, so does the problem of dumping trash and yard waste into and alongside our irrigation facilities,” said Greg Curtis, Water Superintendent for the Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District. “If that trash and yard waste stays in the canal, we will have to fight it all the way through the system as pipes and weed racks get clogged.”

What happens is that when debris is dumped into a canal or ditch it floats down and becomes someone else’s problem. That junk then builds up as it lodges against trash racks and creates a potential for serious flooding and damage to personal property – even homes.

“The worst we had seen this year was a load of tree limbs and stumps that were dumped into our canal during the night, and it plugged our main spillway on the Phyllis Canal, “said Mark Zirschky. “We were alerted by our alarms and our automated system, that detected the rising water level. Absent our automation system we could have lost the canal in the early morning hours.”

The Treasure Valley Water Users Association urges area residents to be respectful of the law that prohibits the dumping of debris into a canal or ditch and to be mindful of neighbors who live downstream. To learn more about the issue of dumping of debris into canals and ditches go to