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Film to spotlight irrigation system and donate to canal relief fund

Film to spotlight irrigation system and donate to canal relief fund

The Historic Midwest Theater will premiere “Rising Water,” this weekend, a film by Becky Hughes McMillen, independent filmmaker.

The film is a series of stories, which tell the history and more about water in the valley and beyond.

“An episode of how we use the water now and the irrigation,” said McMillen. “It (movie) starts in the early spring and in the fall I wind up with the end of the irrigation season.”

McMillen learned a great deal about the water system, which brings water to the farmers and communities.

The film looks at the reservoirs, dams, and canals, which deliver water throughout the summer to turn an otherwise arid landscape into one of green crops.

“I didn’t realize how much work into it. When I was researching the history, I came upon old news articles, and there was a lot of politics about it even during the building of it,” McMillen said.

When McMillen was researching the film, she didn’t know one of the tunnels would experience a major failure this summer.

On July 17, the number 2 tunnel in the Ft. Laramie Canal experienced two collapses, one small and a larger one, which created a sinkhole. The canal water backed up and eventually flowed over the canal wall, creating a breach.

The irrigation season was disrupted, and repairs are ongoing as farmers wait for the water to return.

McMillen has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the weekend shows to the Ft. Laramie Canal Disaster Relief Fund.

“People don’t realize how much farming affects the economy,” she said. “When the tunnel collapsed, I was astounded, and it just hit how much we depend on the water being there.”

“Rising Water” will premiere at The Historic Midwest Theater on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 18, at 1:30 p.m.

Donations are also being accepted at or to

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