400K Award to Help Strengthen Water Flows in the Deschutes

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Funding will cover partial cost to develop a water transactions program in the Upper Deschutes Basin.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that it has awarded a $400,000 grant to the Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID). In partnership with the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC), the funds will help finance the development of a WaterSMART marketing strategy, an innovative water transactions program that will facilitate the trading of water between irrigation districts and benefit stream flows in the Deschutes River.

The project will build on extensive collaborative work currently underway by COID, the DRC and partners in the Upper Deschutes Basin to restore flows and provide increased water security for basin stakeholders.

By 2050, the Deschutes Basin has a projected supply-demand gap of 230,000 acre-feet for the area’s agricultural, environmental, and municipal needs. Additionally, the reclassification of the Oregon spotted frog as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act has accelerated the need to restore flows in the Upper Deschutes River.

The development of a water marketing strategy will allow water to move between irrigation districts and to the river, increasing reliability for irrigators, improving flows and protecting future needs.

“Our role as water managers and stewards of the Deschutes River is to ensure not only that our region’s environmental, agriculture and recreational water needs are met today, but that they are protected and sustained decades from now,” said Craig Horrell, district manager of the Central Oregon Irrigation District. “This WaterSmart grant allows us to develop programs that allow for a more efficient movement of water between users and the river, while accelerating our existing conservation efforts.”

According to the Reclamation announcement, water marketing strategy grants are used to conduct planning activities in developing a water marketing strategy in which buyers and sellers can lease, sale or exchange their water rights.

The aim of the WaterSMART program is to identify strategies that ensure current and future generations will have sufficient amounts of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health.

COID was one of nine projects to be funded in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The $400,000 award will cover half of the $800,000 total projected cost.
Established in 1918, Central Oregon Irrigation District “COID” is a Municipal Corporation of the State of Oregon. The District’s mission is to provide a reliable supply of water to 3,500 patrons throughout Bend, Redmond, Powell Butte and Alfalfa through its system of more than 700 miles of canals. COID delivers water to each patron so all can work, play and thrive, while at the same time ensuring the needs of future patrons can be met through conservation and more efficient delivery methods.
www.coid.org

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