Skip to Content

Feds kick in $2.7 million for C.O. canal piping projects


U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced Wednesday the Bureau of Reclamation will invest nearly $50 million to improve water efficiency and conservation in a dozen Western states, including three canal-piping projects by Central Oregon irrigation districts.

“In a time of exceptional drought, it is absolutely critical that states and the federal government leverage our funding resources so that we can make each drop count,” said Jewell.

“Being ‘water smart’ means working together to fund sustainable water initiatives that use the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand.”

Joined by Nancy Sutley, Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the funding announcement was made at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plantin Van Nuys, CA, where millions of gallons of wastewater are purified each day.

Secretary Jewell, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan Lpez and Sutley emphasized the importance of federal-state partnerships to help work toward a more sustainable and resilient water future.

“Through the WaterSMART Program, Reclamation is providing funding for water conservation improvements and water reuse projects across the West,” Lpez said. “We commend the state of California for all the steps they have already taken to alleviate the impacts of the drought. We hope this federal funding for water reuse and efficiency will help us leverage scarce resources between the state and federal governments to bring much-needed relief for the people and environment of California.”

“The federal government’s support for critical water efficiency and reuse projects is most valuable especially during this historic drought in California,” said Sutley. “The investments will help cities like Los Angeles carry out our sustainability objectives, further build our local water supply and reduce our reliance on imported water. We look forward to all these important opportunities ahead of us.”

“We are honored to host Secretary Jewell at our Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant and Japanese Garden today,” said LA Sanitation Director Enrique C. Zaldivar, P.E. “We look forward to learning more about the environmental partnership opportunities she will announce during her visit.”

Reclamation is investing more than $24 million in grants for 50 water and energy efficiency projects in 12 western states, more than $23 million for seven water reclamation and reuse projects in California, and nearly $2 million for seven water reclamation and reuse feasibility studies in California and Texas.

WaterSMART is the U.S. Department of the Interior’s sustainable water initiative. Since it was established in 2010, WaterSMART has provided about $250 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities and universities. These investments have conserved enough water to meet the needs of more than 3.8 million people. Every acre-foot of conserved water delivered means that an equivalent amount of existing supplies is available for other uses.

WaterSMART water and energy efficiency grants can be used for projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, benefit endangered and threatened species, facilitate water markets, carry out activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict. The 50 projects announced today will be leveraged with at least 50 percent non-federal funding for a total of $133 million in improvements over the next two to three years.

The three in Central Oregon:

Three Sisters Irrigation District, Main Canal Pipeline and Micro Hydro Generation Project
Reclamation Funding: $1,000,000 Total Project Cost: $4,737,906

The Three Sisters Irrigation District in Oregon will pipe 14,000 feet of the open Watson-McKenzie Main Canal.

The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 1,900 acre feet that is currently being lost to seepage.

A portion of the conserved water will be dedicated for instream flows to Whychus Creek in order to improve riparian habitat and benefit Bullhead Trout, Steelhead, Chinook and Sockeye Salmon, Oregon Spotted Frogs, willow flycatcher and yellow breasted chat.

The District is working with the Deschutes River Conservancy to dedicate approximately 1,400 acre feet annually that will be conserved as a result of this project into a water right held by the State of Oregon.

In addition, with completion of this project, pressurized water will eliminate electrical pumps on farm, which are using over 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

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. The project also includes the installation of 4 micro-hydro turbines, which have a combined energy capacity of 200 kilowatts.

North Unit Irrigation District, Lateral 58-11 Piping Project
Reclamation Funding: $704,478 Total Project Cost: $1,525,545

The North Unit Irrigation District in Madras, Oregon, will pipe two miles of the 58-11 open ditch lateral to address seepage losses.

The project will also include installation of 8 pressurized deliveries to District landowners. The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 570 acre-feet.

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.

Tumalo Irrigation District, Piping of the Tumalo Feed Canal (Phase IV)
Reclamation Funding: $1,000,000 ($500,000 in FY 2015) Total Project Cost: $2,100,000

The Tumalo Irrigation District near Bend, Oregon, will complete Phase IV of the Tumalo Feed Canal Piping Project.

Phase IV of the project includes piping 3,400 feet of the remaining 6-mile open canal system, which is expected to result in annual water savings of 776 acre-feet currently being lost to seepage and evaporation.

The conserved water will be dedicated to the State of Oregon for permanent instream flows for use in Tumalo Creek, Crescent Creek, and the Little Deschutes River.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content