Bend, Oregon – The U.S. Department of Interior announced on June 9th a $750,000 WaterSMART grant to the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (seven irrigation districts) working with a broad coalition of interests, called the Deschutes Basin Study Work Group (Basin Study Group), for the development of a “Basin-Study.” The federal grant, coupled with a $750,000 State of Oregon grant, will enable this broad coalition to manage $1.5 million for an evaluation of the potential effects of climate change on water supplies, and constructive steps to address the future water needs of cities, farmers, and fish and wildlife in Oregon’s iconic Deschutes Basin. This is one of only three comprehensive river basin studies funded in the U.S.
“This investment by the U.S. and the State of Oregon to assist us in charting our water future is the single largest commitment of state and federal funds for water resources planning, ever, in this Basin,” said Mike Britton, Chair of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC). Britton added, “we are grateful for the opportunity to get started on this important new stage in regional water planning.”
For over a decade, cities, counties, irrigation districts, the Deschutes River Conservancy, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, local, state and Federal agencies and environmental groups have been studying agricultural, urban, and fish and wildlife water needs in the Upper Deschutes Basin (the Deschutes River and its tributaries from it’s headwaters to Lake Billy Chinook, including Whychus Creek and the lower Crooked River) and have worked together on collaborative solutions. Much of this work has resulted in a series of important water conservation projects throughout the Deschutes Basin.
The study will build upon prior work to update groundwater and surface water models, develop a basin climate analysis, update supply and demand projections and identify specific actions to resolve water issues in the basin. The results of the study will be used to develop a long-term basin-wide water management plan to guide sustainable water management actions in the future.
The Basin Study Group includes the following entities:
- The Deschutes Water Alliance
- Seven Irrigation Districts (Arnold, Central Oregon, North Unit, Ochoco, Swalley, Three Sisters and Tumalo irrigation districts)
- Central Oregon Cities Organization
- The City of Bend
- The City of Prineville
- Avion Water Company
- Deschutes County
- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- The Oregon Water Resources Department
- The U.S. Forest Service
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- The Deschutes River Conservancy
- The Upper Deschutes River Coalition
- The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council
- The Crooked River Watershed Council
- Trout Unlimited
- Central Oregon Flyfishers
- The Native Reintroduction Network
- The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs