A $4 million freshwater diversion project will pump water from the Red River into depleted Red Bayou, offering farmers along the nine-mile-long waterway in northwest Louisiana summertime relief for their fields.
Water is most needed in the last months of the growing season, when as much as half of the bayou's channel is dry. Farmers currently use wells for nearly all irrigation.
By next summer, river water will pour into the bayou, providing irrigation for cotton, corn and soybeans.
The diversion project will about double the amount of land farmers along and near Red Bayou can irrigate. The amount will increase to about 12,000 acres from 6,000 or 7,000.
The construction and planning money is from the federal and Caddo Parish governments. Farmers will pay to keep the project running.