Editorial: Don’t let Deschutes River problems wind up in lawsuits
Mar 02, 2018
Bend BulletinThe Deschutes River is such a beauty it can be easy to forget it has serious problems. A leading one is that water in the river basin is not in the right place at the right time for people, farming
That problem became
Farmers in Jefferson County are particularly vulnerable. They could no longer have a reliable water source to farm. The farmers of the North Unit Irrigation District have been the leaders in the basin in implementing innovative irrigation practices to conserve water. But that doesn’t matter. They generally hold the most junior water rights. They would be among the first in line to lose.
Meeting the water supply needs of the basin doesn’t have to come to that. The U.S. Reclamation Bureau and the state Water Resources Department have committed some $1.5 million to identify solutions.
The study doesn’t set out to pick solutions. It aims to identify options, evaluate their effectiveness and cost. The options are basically piping, enabling leasing and selling of water rights and creating flexibility in storage.
The goal in most years is to cover a shortfall of water that is not where it needs to be of about
Crunch some numbers and the costs would be millions upon millions. Where would it come from? That is unanswered.
If you want to be involved in the solution or a solution that isn’t dictated in the courts, check out the preliminary findings of the study’s working group. It will be holding open houses in Bend, Sunriver
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