How it all started
More than 100 years ago, federal and state policies encouraged the settlement of Central Oregon’s high desert by facilitating access to land and irrigation water. This water helped support the diverse agriculture that has been so important in the region. However, unintended consequences of this water development left many rivers and streams with low or altered flows.
As the region grew, the Deschutes Basin experienced increased demand for water for people, cities, farmers, and fish and wild life. For the last two decades, irrigation districts, agencies, and conservation groups have worked together to address these issues.
A collaborative process
In 2014, a diverse group of 40 stakeholders -- the Basin Study Work Group – got together to work on the Upper Deschutes Basin Study. The $1.5 million Study is funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and the State of Oregon. The group has successfully co-managed the Study throughout its three-year duration -- a demonstration of the commitment to collaboration in the Deschutes Basin.
What have we learned?
The Study looked at a wide variety of water supply tools - all of which have opportunities and barriers. While the Study does not recommend any particular plan or project, it provides a wealth of information to help inform future water management in the Basin.
Water conservation methods such as piping district canals and upgrading on-farm infrastructure can increase irrigation efficiency and help restore flows in the Deschutes. Market-based approaches and potential storage concepts can also contribute to water management goals in the basin. In the Upper Deschutes River, lower summer flows and higher winter flows tend to benefit riparian vegetation, redband trout, and Oregon spotted frog. The Upper Deschutes Basin Study is anticipated to be completed in late 2018. A strategic approach to combining water supply tools could benefit any future implementation.
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|11/2008||Assessing the Impact of Mitigation on Stream Flow in the Deschutes Basin HTML|
|USGS Groundwater Reports|
|Deschutes Basin Board of Control|
|Basin Study Workgroup - Meeting Calendar and Members|
|Reclamation's Basin Study Program|
|Deschutes River Conservancy|
|Flow and Storage Data from Reclamation|
|Near Real Time Hydrographics Data from OWRD|
|Historical Streamflow and Lake Level Data from OWRD|
Reclamation Study Lead
Bureau of Reclamation
1150 N. Curtis Road
Boise, ID 83706