Looking to expand his business interests and alarmed that frequent flooding was washing away valuable river-bottom farm land,
in 1888 Thomas Judd developed
a plan to divert water from the Virgin River onto the LaVerkin "bench"
in order to irrigate several hundred acres of fruit orchards that he planned to plant there
(see the LaVerkin Fruit and Nursery Company).
Because of extensive delays due to constant breaks in the canal
he was eventually forced to mortgage his St. George house in order to raise the necessary funds to complete construction of his canal,
which by then stretched several thousand feet and included an 840-foot long tunnel.
Construction in the canal lasted nearly two years
and it was not until the Spring of 1891 that the fruit trees were planted.
Eventually his canal project was the key factor in establishing the community of LaVerkin.