This article was published on: 07/8/22 1:26 PM
By Angelina Huber, PGE Project Zero Intern
Recently, the Deschutes River Conservancy engaged in a collaborative meeting with the Freshwater Trust, Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID), Bureau of Reclamation, and AMP Insights in a two-part trip to discuss upcoming projects and explore current job sites.
The first day of the collaboration consisted of presentations, status updates, and brainstorming of project deliverables with the intent of providing a methodology for creating a more efficient way to prioritize on-farm efficiency projects. Part of DRC’s main drive is to help farmers achieve funding for new technology and resources that will make their farming techniques environmentally sustainable and water conservative. The DRC and other team members have been diving into this goal with the help of an Oregon Water Resources grant that is funding the production and management of the Prioritization Toolbox.
As is the goal of the DRC and other contributing members, the Prioritization Toolbox will be a program in which districts and those seeking agricultural-efficiency funding can decide where and how on-farm efficiency will be most useful. The toolbox will be an accessible user-friendly dashboard with economic and spatial analyses, created and contributed by the Freshwater Trust and AMP Insights. This project will be integral to providing more farm and irrigation districts with the opportunity to save valuable water resources.
The second day of the event was a field trip where collaborative members were able to view a current efficiency project that will shortly go underway. The Smith Rock-King Way project is a 7.9 mile tract of currently open canal located in the Central Oregon Irrigation District. The project will be to pipe this portion of canal to lessen the amount of water loss through seepage and provide more water to support irrigation for the North Unit.
Everyone in attendance was also able to view land areas where piping, land spillage, rotations, and irrigation methods already occur. This helps team members adjust their perspectives on where on-farm efficiency methods would be most useful with spatial considerations in mind.
Overall, the two-day event proved to be a successful point on the path to creating a more water-conscious and efficient irrigation district for Central Oregon, with the means to do so.
Angelina Huber is an intern for Deschutes River Conservancy and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council for the summer and fall of 2022. Both internships are facilitated by the Central Oregon cohort of the Project Zero Green Jobs Internship run by Portland General Electric. Angelina grew up in Bend, Oregon, and graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in Environmental Science and a minor in Biology.