Restoring Rivers Through Conserved Water
Recently, Congress appropriated $150 million for the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program in Fiscal Year 2017 Budget. Tumalo, Swalley and Central Oregon irrigation districts will be applying for funding to complete water conservation projects which will improve efficient use of water within the districts while allowing the districts to dedicate conserved water instream.
The Deschutes River Conservancy is dedicated to restoring streamflow and improving water quality in the Deschutes Basin. For this reason, we are in full support of watershed planning and investment of public funds in water conservation.
The DRC has been engaged in water conservation projects (canal piping) for more than fifteen years and know from experience that this is a very successful method to permanently restore flows in the river while generating operational benefits for irrigation districts.
While water conservation is not the only tool in our streamflow restoration toolbox, it is a very important one. Along with water marketing, and district policies that support the wise use of water, water conservation will go a long way to fixing the Deschutes River.
We should not pass up this great opportunity to put public funds to work here in Central Oregon piping leaky canals and restoring flows to our precious river.
THE PROBLEM: Outdated Canals
Outdated canals can lose up to 50% of diverted river water through seepage. To account for this, irrigators need to divert more water out of the river to account for the water lost through the porous lava beds and sandy soil of the canals.
THE SOLUTION: Piping Leaky Canals