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Recovery Resources: 2019 Canal Break in the Goshen/Gering Fort Laramie Canal

This page is a joint venture of Nebraska Extension and University of Wyoming Extension


  • Surface-water irrigators in the North Platte River Valley south of the river in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska have lost their water supply due to a partially collapsed tunnel and washout in the main supply canal that occurred July 17, 2019.
  • A tunnel structure used to convey water for the Goshen Irrigation District (Wyoming) and the Gering-Ft Laramie Irrigation District (Nebraska). The tunnel was completed in 1917 as a part of the North Platte Project built by the Bureau of Reclamation.  The tunnel is 1.5 miles south of Fort Laramie, Wyoming, is 14 feet in diameter and is 2,200 feet long. Diversions of water at Whalen Dam have been stopped in order to inspect and repair the damage. It is unknown when water will be returned to the canal. It is estimated that a temporary fix may return water in 20 days, from the start of the repair. Temporary repairs may begin July 26, 2019.  
  • The water disruption effects approximately 107,000 acres of crops, or about 35% of the total acres irrigated by surface water in the North Platte River Valley in both states. Approximately 55,000 acres are affected in Nebraska and 52,000 acres in Wyoming. Affected crops are corn, sugar beets, dry beans, and alfalfa. 
  • Both Wyoming and Nebraska have declared a state emergency.

Information and articles:

Economic Impact Analysis of the Goshen/Gering Ft. Laramie Canal Failure

Is silage an option for corn impacted by canal breach?

Yield loss and soil moisture predictions (from Nebraska and Wyoming Extension)

Crop insurance questions remain

Situation Updates & Meetings:

The Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District and Goshen Irrigation District hosted a second round of meetings on August 12 to update patrons on recovery efforts.

Scottsbluff: 10 a.m., UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff

Torrington: 2 p.m., Eastern Wyoming College Auditorium, Torrington

CropWatch report on July 17 GFL meeting in Scottsbluff:

Goshen Irrigation District website

Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District website


Nebraska Rural Resource hotline: 800-464-0258

The hotline offers access to many attorneys, financial advisors, professional counselors, mediators, clergy, and others. There are 167 behavioral health professionals working with the Rural Response Hotline. Ask about no-cost vouchers for counseling services.

Suicide prevention resources (PDF) - Wyoming

Staying Connected in Tough Times (Nebraska) (PDF)

Goshen County Resource Guide (Wyoming) (PDF)


Family Stress:

Nebraska Community Action Agencies:

Disaster Resources (Nebraska Flood):

CDC Disaster:

Financial Assistance:

Rural Tax Education:

Peak Wellness Center: (24-hour Goshen County Crisis Line 307-532-4091)

The Wyoming Behavioral Institute: (24-hour hotline 1-800-457-9321)


In Wyoming, a donation account has been established at First State Bank to support the repair efforts in response to the irrigation canal collapse. 100 percent of the donations will be allocated to the Goshen Irrigation District to support their work in repairing the tunnel and the canal damage. Donations can be sent to: First State Bank, PO BOX 1098, Torrington WY 82240. Checks should be made out to:Goshen Irrigation District Donation Account.

In Nebraska, a website has been established by Platte Valley Bank and the Oregon Trail Foundation as a relief fund for farmers impacted by the tunnel collapse. All funds will go towards the effort to restore water and support local affected Ag families. Clicking the donate button will take the donor to the Oregon Trail Community Foundation website to make a secure donation.