Editorial: Canal piping project improves water management in the Deschutes Basin
Aug 03, 2020
Bend BulletinDrink water? This should matter to you.
The Upper Deschutes basin has an estimated annual median water shortage of 135,000 acre-feet with up to 350,000 acre-feet in dry years. An acre foot is the amount of water to cover an acre in one foot of water. In short, it's short a lot.
Because of the history of how water was managed there are unhealthy stretches of river and irrigation districts with more junior water rights have much less secure supply. On top of all those problems, the region is in a drought. So if you don't do anything else this summer, be careful about how you use water.
It's worth noting when projects are improving the situation. Central Oregon Irrigation District is about to begin a project piping 7.9 miles of open canals from Redmond to Smith Rock, as The Bulletin's Michael Kohn reported. It would reduce loss of water by an estimated 9,392 acre-feet annually. It has the additional benefit of helping out the North Unit Irrigation District with more water and that means more water released from Wickiup Reservoir into the Deschutes River. Nice.
Piping canals isn't the only tool Central Oregon needs to leverage and piping is a relatively expensive one. But it's part of the solution.
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