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Grand Prairie Widened Canal Project pre-final inspection

Memphis District Public Affairs Office
Published June 19, 2020
Grand Prairie Widened Canal Project pre-final inspection

IN THE PHOTOS taken during the pre-final inspection, are various components of the Widened Canal project, which include the inlet structure, storage reservoir, outlet structure, and outlet control gates.

Congratulations to the Memphis District Grand Prairie Widened Canal Project Delivery Team (PDT) for reaching their Pre-final Inspection milestone. On June 17, PDT members met on-site with contractor Southern Contracting to inspect construction work and develop a punch list of remaining items required to finish construction.

The Grand Prairie Widened Canal Project is a part of the larger Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project (GPADP) located in the Eastern Arkansas Grand Prairie Region. GPADP is a comprehensive water management plan designed to deliver surface water to users and reduce the use of groundwater from the Alluvial and Sparta Aquifers. 

The project utilizes excess surface water and water from the White River to supplement a network of on-farm tailwater recovery systems. This supplemental system is designed to fill on-farm reservoirs that store the water, which supplies at least a portion of each farmers' irrigation needs.

The purpose of the Widened Canal is to receive water through large underground culverts delivered from the Grand Prairie Pump Station. The pumping station pulls surface water from the White River and stores it in the widened canal reservoir. The widened canal reservoir will then be used to deliver the surface water through a series of canals, yet to be constructed, for distribution to the various on-farm reservoirs.  The on-farm reservoirs will then be used to supplement the farmers irrigation needs for their crops such as rice.

The Grand Prairie region is one of the major rice producing areas in the world with Arkansas being the top U.S. rice producer, producing 50 percent of the nation’s rice. The importance of GPADP is underscored by the fact that groundwater from the Alluvial and Sparta Aquifers currently supply most of the water for Grand Prairie region rice farms’ irrigation needs.  Both aquifers are being tapped at a rate that far exceeds their ability to recharge. Without an alternate source of water, depletion of the groundwater source poses several threats to the rice industry and local economy. GPADP will deliver surface water to rice farms to help meet irrigation needs and reduce the use of groundwater, thereby preserving and protecting the aquifers.

The Memphis District team members present on this important pre-final inspection with the contractor were Tracy James (project manager), Zach Cook (Groundwater Section chief), Samantha Harper (Construction Branch contracting officer’s representative),  Gary Hamlett (Wynne Area Office quality assurance representative), Lee Fletcher (Wynne Area Office Inspection Section chief), Matthew Widmer (Wynne Area Office engineer), Leo Cooper (Wynne Are Office summer intern), Audrey Waldon (Construction Branch summer intern), Chip Newman (Geotech Section chief), Josh Giannini (Civil Design Section chief), Shane Callahan (Design Branch chief), Marsalis Roddy (Mechanical Section engineer), Marneshia Richard (Structures Section chief), David Wilson (Electrical Section engineer), and Robert Turnage (Mechanical & Electrical Section chief).

Congratulations to the outstanding Grand Prairie Widened Canal PDT for reaching this important project milestone!