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Intake Project
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Intake Project History (20 KB) (pdf)
General Description | Plan | Development | Benefits
General Description

The Intake Project includes a pumping plant and an irrigation distribution system serving 823 acres in Dawson County, Montana, adjacent to the Lower Yellowstone Project. The pumping plant is located on the Main Canal of the Lower Yellowstone Project about 1.5 miles downstream from Intake, Montana.

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Facility Descriptions
Pumping plant and distribution system

The project facilities include a pumphouse, two electric motors, and two pumps. One pump lifts 3 cubic feet per second of water 10 feet and discharges into Lateral A-2, which is 1 mile long. The other pump lifts 15 cubic feet per second of water 16 feet to supply Lateral A-3, which is 2.9 miles long. The pumping power requirements are supplied by the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program from the Fort Peck Project by wheeling over facilities of the Montana-Dakota Utilities Company.

Operating Agencies

The Board of Control of the Lower Yellowstone Project operates and maintains the Intake Project.

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The early settlers of the area depended on raising stock for their livelihood. During years of sufficient rainfall, abundant crops were produced, but those years were infrequent and the need for irrigation soon became apparent. The Reclamation Service began investigations of the Lower Yellowstone Valley in 1903 and constructed the adjacent Lower Yellowstone Project in 1905 to 1909. Upon its completion, about 260 acres, in what is now the Intake Project, were irrigated by privately operated pumps which lifted water from the Lower Yellowstone Main Canal to the land.


The Bureau of Reclamation made an investigation of the general area of the Intake Project and submitted its findings in a report dated April 1942. The project was authorized on the basis of this report.


The project was authorized by the President on January 20, 1944, under terms of the Water Conservation and Utilization Act of August 11, 1939 (53 Stat. 1418), as amended.

The project also was included in the Yellowstone River Pumping Unit, authorized as part of the Missouri River Basin Project`s (renamed Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program) initial development in the Flood Control Act of 1944, Public Law 534, 78th Congress. However, construction proceeded under the original authorization so the Intake Project is not a part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program.


Construction began in July 1945 and was completed in time for delivery of water during the 1946 irrigation season.

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The principal crops grown in the Intake Project include oats, alfalfa and other hay crops, pasture, silage, and sugar beets.

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Last updated: Sep 17, 2012