With a bluegrass band playing and the sun shining, hundreds of people gathered Saturday at McKay Park in Bend to kayak, canoe, play in the river or try a beer brewed for a local conservation group.
More state funds could help convert additional irrigation canals that crisscross Central Oregon from open ditches to enclosed pipes. The Bend-based Swalley Irrigation District could win a $1.4 million grant to finish piping five miles of its main canal at a Tuesday meeting of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board in Klamath Falls.
At the base of Wickiup Dam, where water flows out of the reservoir and into the Deschutes River, a company hopes to tap the running water to generate electricity.
The event, scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. in McKay Park beside the Colorado Street Bridge, will celebrate clean water, healthy wildlife, fish, vegetation and the beauty that is this region’s life blood.
Kyle Gorman remembers a time, not so long ago, when many folks in Central Oregon viewed concepts like water conservation with suspicion, if not outright contempt. Water flushed down the river was water wasted.
The Deschutes River could run deeper, local energy could be greener and Central Oregon businesses might get richer, if $2 million in earmarks in three U.S. Senate spending bills released this week become law.
Streamflows throughout the Deschutes Basin are protected by the Scenic Waterway Act and Instream Water Right Act. Protected flows are set by month, representing the minimum biological needs of fish.
Three miles of the Swalley Irrigation District’s main canal are now underground in new pipes. But because the project was delayed, there’s still two more miles of pipe to lay — and that gap is causing problems as Swalley tries to deliver water to its customers.
Bend is looking at changes to the way the city gets its drinking water. The options include switching the source or adding a hydropower facility.