Dutch Creek North Subsurface Drip Irrigation Project
Service provided: Dispersal of natural gas produced gas water
Location: Sheridan County, Wyoming
Daily capacity: 41,000 barrels (6.5 ML) per day
Project start date: June 2008
Area developed: 500 acres (202 ha), 1031 mi (1660 km) drip tubing, 19 mi (31 km) pipeline, pond capacity 28 acre feet (35 ML)
Water quality: EC = 2300 µS/cm, SAR = 32, Na = 440 mg/L, HCO3 = 1500 mg/L, TDS = 1430 mg/L
Crops produced: alfalfa (lucerne)-grass hay
Lying 10 miles (16 km) outside of Sheridan, Wyoming, this subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system was situated on four sections of land that stretched three miles (5 km) along Dutch Creek. After abandoning an impoundments-based strategy, fields were irrigated on three separate ranches by water dispersal from several natural gas wells. The water was first delivered to the irrigation pond, then treated, filtered and redistributed from the pump station. This patented, state-of-the-art irrigation control system synchronized valve control across the project area to optimize pipeline hydraulics.
The primary crop was an alfalfa (lucerne)-grass mix harvested for hay and grazed by livestock. One ranch successfully created a rotational beef grazing system around the subsurface irrigated fields. Pheasant and trophy mule deer hunting created additional revenue for the other ranchers.