Emergency declared after canal breach shuts off irrigation water to Panhandle county

Water blew out the sides of this irrigation canal after a tunnel collapsed and caused a backup. 

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The cost of long-term repairs to a failed irrigation tunnel serving farmers in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska could reach $68 million.

Goshen Irrigation District officials say they will seek more Wyoming state funding assistance once they've decided on a long-term solution. Meanwhile, the irrigation tunnel collapse in July raises doubts about two other aging tunnels in the system.

The failure of the century-old tunnel in July imperiled corn, sugar beets and other crops in a 150-square-mile area.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that a $4 million loan approved by the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board on Thursday will repay $4 million that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation lent the district for the temporary repairs.

The temporary repairs allowed water to resume flowing Aug. 29.

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