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I live in central New Mexico about 1/4 mile from one of the big irrigation ditches along the Rio Grande river.  Two weeks ago they told us there would be no more water this year after August 15th because of the drought.  Then they mowed the huge weeds on the ditch banks.  All of them fell in the ditch of course.  Then it rained a lot up north of us, so they opened the ditches to water again.  

There are gates, like locks, all along the ditch, so the water can be controlled and delivered to the places that are scheduled for it.  As the water came in, it carried all of the debris from mowing and clogged the gates.  

Sometime late in the night the water overflowed the ditch.

Here's some background -

I have a herd of goats.
Some of the girls, mostly kinder goats.

The Kinder boys with the pygmy buck in the background.
The kinder bucks (the pygmy buck in the background)
In February three of my male goat were killed in the night by stray dogs.  It was really hard on me, and also on the rest of the goats, who all could see it happening.  Every animal in that pen was killed.  The dogs were still there in the morning in the dark when I found them.  They were eating.  I went on a hunt for livestock guardian dogs.  It got clear very fast that adults were not possible for what I needed.  A friend of a friend of a friend had a litter, and I got two pups at the end of April.
Pups, Clark and Vera
They were very small for (mostly) Great Pyrenees pups, they hadn't been cared for very well, they were 7 weeks old and weighed 7 and 8 pounds.  I have never had an outdoor dog before, it was really hard to leave these tiny things outside.  They went to the vet a lot.  But they got healthy and growing, and are now about 5 1/2 months old.  They sleep on my porch, or under my window, which I keep wide open so I can hear them in the night.    Clark and Vera.
Tuesday morning at 2:30 the water hit the porch, and they started barking like mad.  I looked out the window to a sea of water, still mostly not awake, and thought we must have gotten an enormous amount of rain.  And thought it was very strange that much rain didn't wake me up. And thought I should go out and look.  

I saw there was no place for the pups to go that wasn't under 2 inches of water.  I have two porches there, one is open to them and the other not, and it was still dry.  I got them in the dry one,  looked out my front door,  it was still dry out there.  In the back there was a rushing water noise, and I finally woke up enough to figure out there was something really bad going on at the ditch.  

I called my  neighbors, who are much better than me at this sort of thing.   It was 2:42. By this time the other porch was full of water. (Then I got the pups inside and out of the water.  My house dog is a great dane so I have a huge crate, they went in there.  They had never been in the house.  They were wonderful in that crate, they stayed there without a peep until there was a dry place outside for them, maybe five hours.)  By the time I got outside water was running all through the front yard and driveway and into the road.  This happened so fast.  My neighbors got out and got the ditch people out and in an hour or two they got the water stopped.  In the meantime all of my property except a few high places was under water.  It was flowing through and down the road (fortunately).  None of the buildings got water in them, so the goats all had a dry place to go, and the hay didn't get ruined ($9 a bale).  No houses got flooded.

The water ran into the nearest fields and got deeper and deeper in those fields until it broke the berms that hold it there, and that's when all the water ran loose.  I didn't think to get the camera out that night, but this was the worst place on my property the next morning -

By the time I took this picture the water was down 4-6 inches from it's peak level.  This is where the chickens hang out, it was a horrible day for them, but I have friends with a pond pump and we ran that thing for four hours until most of this water was out of there.  

We all agreed that if my pups had not been there to wake me up this would have been a disaster for us.  Likely no one would have known we were being flooded for maybe three more hours. Houses might have been flooded.  Some of us have flood insurance and some don't, but what I learned that night is that expensive and required (if you have a mortgage) flood insurance doesn't cover this.  It basically only covers "acts of God".    

One neighbor lost some cut hay in his fields.  One has to do his berms over (not trivial, we are hoping the ditch people will do it), I lost a few bags of animal food, not much.  The other side of the ditch was flooded too, and none of those people woke up.  The ditch is a big divider, I don't know any of them, but they had damage worse than we did.  

We agreed that my LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog, aka BWDs - Big White Dog) pups barking in the night is just what they are supposed to do.  I sure didn't expect them to earn their keep this young.  I'm so proud of my pups.  I know they were afraid and therefore barking for help, but the neighbor's dogs were in water too, they didn't make a ruckus.  My puppies have a job.

Clark and Vera after the flood.
(This is my first diary, please be kind.)

7:41 PM PT: A local person on fb said "Thank God they got it before the ditch gave way."  I guess it was a bigger deal even than I thought.  I never thought of that.

Originally posted to PWB Peeps on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town.

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