Deputy Water Commissioner, Ditch rider for Farmer's Ditch, North BoulderFarmer's Ditch, and Boulder & Lefthand Ditch
61 year old Boyd Sheets has been a ditch rider off and on since 1974, when he became the Secretary of Farmer's Ditch. The job on Farmer's fell into his lap 35 years ago while he was working at Mountain View Cemetery, which uses Farmer's water to irrigate. He took over ditch-riding North Boulder Farmer's and Boulder & Lefthand in 2002 when Lee Forsythe died. Between the 3 ditches, Boyd takes care of approximately 60 miles of waterways running from downtown Boulder out to Boulder Valley Ranch and Boulder Reservoir, and all the way out to 95th St. near Longmont. He cleans 16 trash racks, controls the water flow in each ditch, answers "calls" for water from lateral users, and maintains and repairs the main ditch. He also fills Twin Lakes in Gunbarrel and Hayden Lake near the Boulder airport.
Water in these 3 ditches runs from April to October 1 st generally, and requires full-time attention. At other times of the year when the water is not running, Boyd is doing maintenance on the ditches. He combines his ditch-riding job with his Deputy Water Commissioner job, which is full-time in the summer and half time in the winter. As Deputy Water Commissioner, he adjusts ditch headgates depending on flows in the creek and who is in and out of priority. He keeps track of the 20 measuring devices for the up-stream ditches in District 6. He also inspects wells, resolves and documents complaints from water users, and sends complaints that can't be resolved up to the next level of the State Engineers office. "The job's challenging alright, but I've always been interested in water," says Boyd. "Water is pretty critical in this area. We wouldn't be here without it."