Thanks to multiple atmospheric river events, average snowpack in California has gone from 18% to 98% in just two weeks. “Increases in snowpack of this size are not common, but also not unprecedented,” Julie Kalansky, deputy director of operations for the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), explained.
A water bank can mean many things. Here it is a pilot program to enable the exchange of water between patrons of Central Oregon Irrigation District and where it is arguably needed more downstream in North Unit Irrigation District in Jefferson County.
Bend-based property developer Pahlisch Homes says it has no immediate plans to build houses in the Deschutes Canyon near Mt. Bachelor Village even if it manages to purchase the land from the current owner, the Central Oregon Irrigation District.
The Deschutes River Conservancy, in partnership with the Central Oregon Irrigation District and North Unit Irrigation District, announced Friday they are launching the 2022 Deschutes Water Bank Pilot Program. The partners called the program “a local, flexible, and voluntary water management tool, which allows for the easier movement of water to meet farmer and river needs in times of scarcity. ”
Local farmers and ranchers located in Central Oregon are now able to apply for an On-Farm Efficiency Grant, the newest program offered by the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA). Farmers and ranchers may apply for up to $4,000 in grant funds to put towards infrastructure upgrades, equipment purchases, professional development, and/or technical assistance. The goal of this new project is to invest in increasing the ability of Central Oregon producers to overcome shocks and strains on their operations by providing direct farm investments.
Lawmakers in Salem approved on Monday a package to assist drought-hit areas of the state, including $17.1 million for Jefferson County. Jefferson County farmers have been hard hit by drought in recent years, with this year’s water allocation slashed midseason after an exceptionally hot and dry June when temperatures soared into the triple digits for several days in a row.
Senate Bill 5561, will have a direct impact in Jefferson County. North Unit Irrigation District provides water for nearly 59,000 acres of farmland. The farmers there make some of the most efficient use of water in the Deschutes Basin. That’s because they have to. The district has junior water rights. And there is not enough water in the basin to satisfy every water right, especially in drought years.
The $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package creates a new billion-dollar program designed to open thousands of miles of congested transportation corridors. Those choked thoroughfares aren’t roads and bridges, however. They are creeks and streams used by migrating salmon when they return from the ocean to reach their spawning grounds.
A large-scale wetland restoration project in the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is raising concern about the possibility of exacerbating future water shortages for farmers and ranchers already grappling with extreme drought. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to rehabilitate more than 14,000 acres of historical wetlands on the north end of Upper Klamath and Agency lakes in south-central Oregon, providing greater habitat for migratory birds and fish.