TUMALO, OR -- Local irrigation districts are partnering with the Farmers Conservation Alliance to modernize area canals. Craig Horrell, with the Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID), tells KBND News, "What we're trying to do is create conserved water that helps us keep water in the river to benefit the fish, frogs, and all the biology. We're looking to do balancing of water needs between districts. By generating conserved water, we can balance between all the districts in Central Oregon."
He's hopeful a series of public forums over the next few days will help everyone share their thoughts on how to create that balance. Horrell recognizes that past efforts have been met with protests by homeowners. "While parks and other spaces may have been put along the canal, the canal's function is to deliver water to our patrons. I've heard that there are fears that property values would go down. When people buy these properties, it is their responsibility to research and understand what those really are - they're not a water feature or an amenity; they're a utility." Horrell adds, "It's contentious in the urban areas because people believe they have a right to own the canal; they're contentious because people like them and like seeing them. The three districts are working in other areas that aren't as contentious as the previous projects, which we've taken off the table. We are working out in urban areas where they are looking for relief from these systems that are a hundred years old."
Public forums will take place Thursday and Monday evenings:
Tumalo Irrigation District - July 6 at 5:30 p.m., at Tumalo Community Church
Swalley Irrigation District - July 6 at 6:30 p.m., at Tumalo Community Church
COID - July 10 at 5:30 p.m., at the Redmond Grange.