WaterSMART Grants Bring Success for Oregon Irrigation District
Following the ribbon cutting for Watson Hydropower Facility Jed Jorgensen, with the Energy Trust of Oregon congratulates U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley while Deputy Commissioner Dionne Thompson looks on. Photo Credit: Energy Trust of OregonWith a light touch on a touch screen panel Bureau of Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Dionne Thompson fired up a 700k turbine at Three Sisters Irrigation District in Central Oregon last Friday. Within seconds, the turbine began generating power signaling the completion of a multi-phase water conservation project.
The ribbon cutting ceremony held at the Watson Hydropower Facility 25 miles north of Bend, Ore., was a symbolic moment for Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID) which spent the past two decades modernizing their irrigation system largely through WaterSMART water conservation grant funding. Since the 1990s, TSID has received $7.5 million in WaterSMART funds which when combined with district funds allowed TSID to leverage $25 million from a multitude of partnerships for the projects.
TSID’s piping improvements have restored water flows back into Whychus Creek, revived a listed species, improved water delivery for local agriculture and routed irrigation water to generate hydropower at the new Watson Generating plant.
"The Three Sisters Irrigation District must be commended for their vision and conservation efforts. They are a model irrigation district for tapping into the WaterSmart program and for creatively leveraging other funding to complete this project," said Deputy commissioner Dionne Thompson.
The event was also attended by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, Energy Policy Advisor Margi Hoffmann with the state of Oregon Kevin Conroy, Basin Team Leader, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Peter West, Energy Trust of Oregon and TSID Manager Marc Thalacker.
Following the ribbon cutting for Watson Hydropower Facility Jed Jorgensen, with the Energy Trust of Oregon congratulates U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley while Deputy Commissioner Dionne Thompson looks on. Photo Credit: Energy Trust of Oregon
Lindsey Hardy of Energy Trust presents a check for $1 million toward the plant construction and operations for TSID manager Marc Thalacker during observances at Watson Reservoir last week. Also featured in the photo (l to r) Alan Meyer, board member, Energy Trust of Oregon; John Reynolds, board member, Energy Trust of Oregon; Jed Jorgensen, renewables program manager, Energy Trust of Oregon (back); Peter West, energy programs manager, Energy Trust of Oregon (back) and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, - Photo Credit: Energy Trust of Oregon
Published on October 23, 2015