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Released On: May 02, 2012

Five Oregon Irrigation Districts receive WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants
BOISE, IDAHO - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation has selected five Oregon irrigation districts to receive WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding to stretch water supplies and conserve energy in the western United States.

"Strong partnerships are crucial to creating a sustainable water and energy supply," said Secretary Salazar. "The WaterSMART program is designed to foster local partnerships and support innovative solutions to the water challenges of the future. This funding will not only help ensure a stable water supply for businesses and local residents but also create jobs, enhance the environment and strengthen local economies."

Secretary Salazar established WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) in February 2010 to facilitate the work of Interior's bureaus in pursuing a sustainable water supply for the nation. The program establishes a framework to provide federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water and integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources. Since its establishment in 2010, WaterSMART has provided more than $118 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities, and universities.

"Providing sufficient water for agricultural, municipal, industrial, recreational and environmental needs is fundamental to the health and economies of communities across the western United States," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "This funding will support the efforts of several local communities to secure their water supplies and reduce dependence on imported water sources."

The five Oregon irrigation districts include:

Central Oregon Irrigation District, Malott Tail Water Recovery Project

Reclamation Funding: $18,960 Total Project Cost: $257,178

• The Central Oregon Irrigation District will construct a retention system, including installation of an energy efficient pump, to recapture and reuse irrigation, storm, and run-off water to decrease the amount of water deliveries necessary for irrigation. The project is expected to result in water savings of about 398 acre-feet annually. In addition to improving efficiency, the project is expected to help to improve water quality in the Lower Crooked River, potentially benefitting reintroduced steelhead in that portion of the river.

North Unit Irrigation District, Water and Energy Conservation Initiative Phase II

Reclamation Funding: $300,000 ($600,000 over 2 years) Total Project Cost: $1,347,935

• The North Unit Irrigation District in Madras, Oregon, will work with the Central Oregon Irrigation District to pipe one mile of the I lateral to address seepage losses. The project is expected to result in approximately 1,300 acre-feet of water savings annually. Through a partnership with the Deschutes River Conservancy, conserved water will be marketed to restore instream flows in a critical reach of the Crooked River. The project will also lead to increased flows through existing turbines, which will enable the Central Oregon Irrigation District to generate up to an additional 318,638 kilowatt-hours of energy each year. The project is also expected to allow approximately 191,178 kilowatt-hours of energy to be saved annually through pumping reductions.

North Unit Irrigation District, Lateral 58-11 Piping Project

Reclamation Funding: $200,000 ($942,982 over 3 years) Total Project Cost: $1,923,447

• The North Unit Irrigation District will also pipe two miles of Lateral 5-11, an earthen canal that currently loses a significant amount of water to seepage. The project is expected to result in water savings of approximately 673 acre-feet annually. Conserved water will be used to restore instream flows in the Crooked River. The District estimates that an average 158,155 kilowatt-hours of energy will be saved annually through pumping reductions.

Ochoco Irrigation District, Ochoco Main Canal Multi-purpose Screen and Automation

Reclamation Funding: $146,909 Total Project Cost: $299,814

• The Ochoco Irrigation District in Prineville, Oregon, will install a new flume to allow more accurate water measurement, a new gate with automated control, and a multipurpose screen at the District's main canal diversion near the Ochoco Dam outlet. The project is expected to result in water savings of 2,870 acre-feet annually by reducing seepage and spills. Conserved water will remain in storage for other uses. The District also estimates that the project will allow approximately 656,640 kilowatt-hours of energy to be saved annually through reduced pumping of water from the Crooked River.

Owyhee Irrigation District, Lower Owyhee River Rehabilitation Project Phase II

Reclamation Funding: $299,000 Total Project Cost: $1,161,004

• The Owyhee Irrigation District in Nyssa, Oregon, will convert 4.5 miles of existing open ditch conveyance to closed pipeline and will also install 20 advanced flow meters and an automated side sweep cleaner to improve the operational efficiency of the delivery system. Once completed, the project is expected to result in water savings of about 188 acre-feet annually. Water conserved through the project will remain in Lake Owyhee to be available for other downstream users. In addition, installation of this pipeline is expected to facilitate future on-farm improvements by landowners who may take advantage of the pressurized system to convert from furrow irrigation to sprinkler and drip irrigation.

Three Sisters Irrigation District, Watson-McKenzie Main Canal Pipeline Project

Reclamation Funding: $750,000 ($1,500,000over 3 years) Total Project Cost: $5,604,981

• The Three Sisters Irrigation District in Oregon will pipe 14,000 feet of the Watson-McKenzie Main Canal and will install meters at farm turnouts. The project is expected to result in water savings of approximately 1,850 acre-feet annually. Conserved water will be dedicated for insteam flows through the Deschutes River Conservancy. Additional water in Whychus Creek is expected to improve riparian habitat and benefit Bullhead Trout and Steelhead. The pressurized pipeline resulting from this project will also allow farmers who receive deliveries from the District to implement further improvements. As part of an existing partnership, the Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide assistance, as available, for those farmers to expedite coordinated water conservation improvements in the area.

This year, Reclamation received 167 applications for water and energy efficiency grants from water districts, municipalities and Native American Tribes from across the West. These proposals were ranked through a published set of criteria in which points were awarded for those projects that conserve water, incorporate renewable energy or address the water-energy nexus, address Endangered Species Act concerns, contribute to water supply sustainability, and/or incorporate water marketing.

To learn more about this announcement and other funding announcements made today, please visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.